September Around the Industry
Selectmen deny wash’s beer/wine request
In a split 2-2 vote, selectmen in Framingham, MA, denied a car care business’s request for a wine and malt package store license.
Boris Kanieff wanted to expand the offerings at his Auto Bright Car Care Center to include the sale of wine and beer. The business currently has a carwash, an oil-change center, gas pumps and a c-store.
Kanieff planned to use some of his c-store space for the beer and wine sales, and he explained that it would be a convenience for his customers that stopped in for car care services.
A selectman who spoke out in favor of approval noted that the wash has helped revitalize the neighborhood and noted Kanieff’s long record of being a good businessman and neighbor.
After the vote, the selectmen suggested the business reapply for the license at a future meeting when all members of the board would be present.
Toyota’s global SUA recall adds two 2010 models
Toyota added two Lexus SUVs to its massive recalls to fix sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). To date, Toyota has recalled over 14 million vehicles around the world to fix floor mats, gas pedals and other safety problems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Toyota to recall about 154,000 Lexus RX 450 H and RX 350 SUVs from 2010.
The agency made the request based on consumer complaints and information from the company. The vehicles’ gas pedals can become trapped by floor mats which cause the SUVs to accelerate unexpectedly.
Numerous cases of SUA involving Toyotas have been reported in carwashes and have led to accidents and even a wrongful death lawsuit.
The agency recommended that drivers with the two recalled Lexus models remove the driver’s side floor mat and have their vehicles serviced quickly.
Carwash employee, customer rescue woman from river
A customer apparently hit the wrong pedal when leaving a carwash in Hackensack, NJ, and she ended up in the Hackensack River.
A carwash employee and a customer quickly jumped into the river to rescue the elderly woman. John Goez is an employee of Spotless Auto Laundry, and he was aided by customer Jay Orsino.
Goez said he thought about his own mother, and told the woman not to worry, and that they were going to get her out. He also said they couldn’t open the door because of the water pressure and are grateful that the window was half open and they were able to get inside.
Firefighters launched a boat to see if there were other occupants in the vehicle. The car was then secured to the shore line, and a tow truck was used to retrieve the car. No firefighters were injured.
Mad customer uses truck to destroy vacuum
A customer is in jail in Missoula, MT, after he used his truck to destroy a vacuum at a carwash.
A transient man tied the vacuum cleaner’s hose to the bumper of his truck then drove away, pulling the entire machine from the concrete pedestal. The man then got out of the truck, untied the hose and fled the scene.
A police officer said the man was upset that Frontier Super Stop’s vacuum machine had stolen his money.
The transient was arrested and is being charged with felony criminal mischief. Damages were estimated at approximately $4,000 for the carwash.
Survey shows more money equals less carwashing
The Automobile Association (AA) based out of Basingstoke, England, recently conducted a survey about carwashing habits, and it revealed that poorer people keep their cars cleaner.
An average of 8.5 percent of drivers from blue collar, part-time and unemployed workers wash their car once a week while only an average of 6 percent of car owners from professional and managerial backgrounds wash weekly.
Further, the survey showed that 3 percent of the AA members surveyed wash their car once a year or not at all. Surprisingly, that doubled to 6 percent among women.
Edmund King, AA president, said in a press release, “Keeping your car clean, particularly windows, lights and number-plates, can keep you on the right side of the law, and regular cleaning can help preserve the value of the car too, by getting rid of salt and other corrosive substances. Hopefully the 3 percent of drivers, or 6 percent of women, who never or rarely wash their cars, do at least keep their cars legal by cleaning windscreen, lights and number-plates.”
Cake Boss show takes on carwash cake
TLC's popular show Cake Boss, which follows the happenings of Buddy Valastro's family bakery, was asked to make a carwash cake in this season's premiere episode which aired in early July.
Valastro was visited by Dario and John, who own the Finish Line Car Wash. They wanted a cake to celebrate their millionth wash and requested one which shows a car going through a tunnel and getting cleaned.
Valastro described the cake idea to his employees and said, “This cake is going to blow debris of the car, wash the car, and send it out steamy and shiny baby."
To build the cake, they used two treadmills to serve as the conveyor, and plexiglass, which contained the steam. Valastro described it as the most challenging cake, mechanically speaking, he has made to date.
Upon delivering the finished product, Valastro said, “We had to do something spectacular because this is the best carwash in town."
After tornado, co-owner vows to rebuild
The owner of Village Car Wash and Laundry Inc. in Dexter, MI, is vowing to rebuild, even though the insurance company and county officials seem to be holding up the process.
Though final numbers have not been tabulated, the co-owner estimates that the March tornado did approximately $400,000 in damage to the businesses.
The tornado completely destroyed the Laundromat and a storage building. The carwash also lost its roof, and the walls were shifted on the foundation. This damage made the structure completely unusable.
The owners hope to start the rebuilding process in August, but they have yet to find out what the insurance company will cover. They are also waiting for approval from county officials for the design plans of the new buildings.
New designs call for improvements to the aesthetics and function of the buildings, and both will be equipped with LED lights and other technology to reduce energy costs and usage.
Wash recycles 40,000+ gallons of water per week
The Kwik Kar Wash and Service Center in Midland, TX, is now recycling up to 42,000 gallons of water each week.
The carwash washes about 200 cars per day, and uses about 35 gallons of water per car. Only a few of those gallons come from the city's fresh water supply.
The process includes nine sand traps which remove the soap, polish and other chemicals.
When the wash was opened in 2006, it was under the idea that it would be completely environmentally friendly. Even the chemicals used are environmentally friendly. Each week, FCC Environmental visits the carwash and removes the "oily water" from the system.
Current water restrictions in the area have restricted at-home carwashing, which has also benefited the wash.
The business is in the process of getting bids from contractors, but they afraid to make any commitments because they are unsure what the insurance company will agree to pay.
OK carwash celebrates 40th anniversary
The Red Carpet Car Wash of Oklahoma City celebrated its 40th anniversary over the summer.
The carwash, which is now a chain with four locations, employs 120 people, and pulls in $2 million a year in sales.
Owners and married couple Jim and Laura Blakewell admitted that the last two years had been trying for them with the troubling economy.
Jim said they came close to having no money in the bank, but managed to squeak through until the economy bounced back.
On a good day, they service about 30 full-serve washes and 20 to 40 exterior washes per hour.
The chain spends around 70 percent of its overhead on its staff. It also has implemented eco-friendly technology and chemicals to help protect the environment.