Around the Industry - January 2014
Man who claimed to be opening a carwash chain is sentenced by judge
CULLMAN COUNTY, AL — Jerry Gibbs Carter has been ordered to pay $222,000 in restitution and may serve up to three years in prison after he falsely claimed he was opening up a carwash chain here, an AL.com story reported.
The Nov. 27 story said Carter pleaded guilty to fraud and engaging in a scheme. He received a five-year split sentence which means he will may serve three in prison for violating the Alabama Securities Act.
Investors claimed that back in 2011 Carter had claimed to be opening a carwash chain and asked for money. The Alabama Securities Fund then discovered that Carter was not using the money to open a chain and was not registered with the Fund to receive money.
Carter was originally sentenced in 2011, but fled after his sentencing. He was eventually found and arrested on Nov. 13, 2013.
Director of the Alabama Securities Commission Joseph Borg stated in the story, "We hope this prosecution and sentence sends a clear message to criminals everywhere that the State of Alabama has zero tolerance for deceitful and fraudulent behavior. It will be punished and full reimbursement to the victims will be extracted. Our ability to partner with District Attorneys, as well as state, local and federal law enforcement is critical to the state's readiness to successfully prosecute fraudsters."
Owner says Obamacare has forced him to sell his carwash chain
HOUSTON — Bill Lawrence, who had owned the Bubbles Hand Car Wash chain in Texas since 1991 and employed 290 people, said he had to sell off his carwashes due to the Affordable Care Act's employer penalties, a Newsmax.com story said.
The Nov. 5 story quoted Lawrence, who was interviewed on The Steve Malzberg Show, who stated, "It was a going, thriving business about a couple years ago when we started to understand what would be the implications of ... the Affordable Care Act and digest how this was going to impact our business.
Lawrence said he came to the conclusion that he couldn't afford to pay penalties imposed on businesses by the Affordable Care Act.
"It was going to cost us, whether we provided the health insurance for everyone or not or whether they went into the exchanges and we paid the penalty, it was going to cost us around $400,000 a year, and that represented 60, 80 percent of our net profit," Lawrence said in the interview.
Lawrence said he would not venture into the business world again "until something happens that changes the climate in this country and the attitude of government toward small businesses."
Carwash certification program launches in VA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, GA — The city of Charlottesville and the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) have developed a carwash certification program to help encourage water conservation, a Newsplex.com story reported.
The Nov. 13 story said certificates are awarded to carwashes which:
- Use only a certain amount of water per wash;
- Repair leaks right away; and
- Install low-flow toilets.
"Residents have often asked about the most water efficient way to clean their car. Certified carwashes will have their per car water use directly measured and the results posted online," City Water Conservation Coordinator Kaitlin Finan stated in the story.
According to Tim Brown, the environmental compliance specialist for the ACSA, businesses have been "eager" for them to develop the program. "The water customers in this area care about conservation," Brown stated in the story.
A website will also list the carwashes which have earned the certification.
NYC carwash workers unionize
NEW YORK CITY — Carwash employees in both the Bronx and Queens have signed union contracts after an 18-month campaign, the New York Daily News reported.
The Dec. 1 story said workers at the Bronx-based Webster Car Wash and WCA Car Wash and at the Queens-based Jomar Car Wash and Sutphin Car Wash have unionized.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) contracts are good for three years and protect the employees' hourly wage, work schedules and allow for five days of paid vacation, two personal days and increased holiday bonuses.
The unions were formed under the support of the RWDSU as well as the two advocacy groups: New York Communities for Change and Make the Road NY.
Carwash forced to close following manager's cancer diagnosis
HARMAR, PA — Vincent "Jim" Siciliano has decided to shut down his Harmar Car Wash now that his manager Andy Kubiak hasn't been able to show up to work following a cancer diagnosis, a Valley News Dispatch story reported.
The Nov. 5 story said Kubiak, who was at the carwash seven days a week for the past 15 years, has been sidelined since September.
The closure was “inevitable,” said Siciliano. Kubiak, 52, who was shocked by his diagnosis, had extensive knowledge of the carwash's mechanisms, equipment and operations.
Kubiak, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, visited the carwash following an operation that removed 90 percent of a brain tumor. His wife Edie said he wanted to stop by and let everyone know he was okay. She was hesitant to take him there, "but he needed to be there. It made him feel better instead of coming home and dwelling on what his sickness was,” she said in the story. “It was business as usual. He's amazing, is all I can say.”
Siciliano said Kubiak still checks in on the carwash. “He stops occasionally, making sure everything is shut down properly,” he said in the story.
Hertz rental car company moves to waterless washing
PARK RIDGE, NJ — The Hertz Corporation announced it will be washing its rental cars with a waterless, non-toxic "green clean" solution at 220 of its locations, a press release reported.
The Nov. 21 press release stated that Hertz hopes to use the waterless solution at all of its locations and hopes to save more than 130 million gallons of water a year.
Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark P. Frissora stated in the press release, "Managing one of the largest car rental fleets in the world requires a significant amount of carwashing. Moving to a waterless carwash system is another innovative way Hertz is addressing both its sustainability and business needs. We have been able to achieve significant environmental and cost savings while continuing to offer customers the best fleet in the industry."
Hertz worked with Green Team Partners, LLC ("Green Team Partners") to develop the solution, the press release noted.
Max Krumer, president of Green Team Partners, stated in the press release, "We were very excited to bring our processes and products to Hertz and even more thrilled when Hertz adopted our waterless detailer program for its fleet. To see a large organization put such great emphasis on going green and investing in sustainability efforts is amazing, and we're glad to be part of Hertz's efforts."
Jet Stream celebrates 50 years in business
FOND DU LAC, WI — The original Jet Stream Car Wash opened in 1963 and back then the full-service carwash involved employees in wetsuits and cars were pulled through the tunnel by a chain, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter. Now, 50 years later, the wash uses state-of-the-art conveyor equipment and has incorporated a quick lube profit center.
The Nov. 15 story said Jet Stream was founded in 1963 by David Tack and three other partners. Through the years, locations were added in Stevens Point and Oshkosh, WI, and then a second one opened in Fond du Lac. In 1990, Jet Stream Oil and Lube Center opened in Fond du Lac as well.
“We use the best car wash equipment and car wash cleaning process to produce a great finished product,” Walt Tack, CEO and owner of Jet Stream Clean Enterprises, stated in the story. “We recently replaced our soft cloth brush material with foam pads for an even safer carwash and recently implemented our Quality Control Team to improve the cleaning process on the inside of the vehicle and the removal of bugs, salt and mud on the outside."
Tack credits the success and longevity of the business to their staff. Currently, the chain employs around 35 employees. “The members of our staff are top-notch and our customers know that they will receive the best possible service every time they come here,” Tack said in the story.