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Poll: Is Sam's club a competitive threat?

October 11, 2010
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In early February, Professional Car Care Online™ ran a story about another proposed Sam’s Club site, which is slated to include a carwash on the property.

Since Sam’s Club first moved into carwashing in December 2003, the company has been slowly adding carwashes to their future stores.

Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, a large retailer known for their multi-faceted sites, which offer one-stop shopping convenience.

According to a June 2005 Wal-Mart Shareholder’s Souvenir Newsletter, additional ancillary services, such as carwash facilities, will remain on the forefront of Wal-Mart's expansion efforts.

“All the specialty divisions continue to experience tremendous growth,” Gregg Spragg, executive vice president of operations for Sam's Club, said in the newsletter. “More clubs are being built to include fuel stations and carwashes.”

With Big Box retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco experimenting with carwashing, Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine decided to poll the industry about whether carwash owners see these large retailers as a danger to their businesses.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing® asked the carwash industry: “Is Sam’s Club a competitive threat to independent carwashes?”

Of the 253 people who responded, approximately 64 percent voted that “Yes, Sam’s Club is a competitive threat”.

Thirty-six percent answered that they did not perceive Sam’s Club to be a threat to the independent carwashes in the U.S.

Real wash owners weigh in

The following comments are excerpts from Professional Car Care Online’s™ Bulletin Board area where industry professionals interact and communicate. To read the full postings visit

  • “To my best knowledge, some of the big-box retailers like Wal-Mart have leased space to independent operators (mostly equipment distributors) who have chosen to install in-bay automatics with coin-operated vacuums, etc. next to the retailer's discount gasoline islands. I can’t imagine that Sam’s will be any different.” Robert
  • “Wow, touchless units using reclaim water, and your local Wal-Mart employee who worked in furniture last week is now in charge of the carwash.

    I bet they could swing a deal with Proctor & Gamble to buy dish soap by the drum to use as a presoak, too. What can you do with a building that used to house double automatics?” Greg

Foam your opinion

If you have an opinion about this poll topic, please visit our bulletin board at to make your voice heard.

Be sure to check out our next poll question to weigh in on the new topic.

The Professional Car Care B2B Trade Group’s™ online surveys are not scientific. The results simply reflect the opinions of those visitors to the Professional Car Care Online™ Web site.