News from the Industry
Robert Schleeter, founder of the Minneapolis-based Broadway Equipment Company and Auto Butler, died on December 11, 2011, at the age of 74, according to an email sent to PC&D.
Schleeter bought his first carwash in 1962 and owned a total of seven carwashes throughout the years. He started Broadway Equipment Company in 1987. Over the years it grew to become one of the largest providers of carwash systems to car dealers across the country. He also started Auto Butler, a paint protection company, which became his life's passion up until his death.
Both companies were sold to both of Schleeter's sons in 2009.
Istobal USA of West Palm Beach, FL, announced it has purchased the assets of Briston, VA-based Magic Wand LLC.
A press release included the following statement from Istobal USA President, Kevin Collette: "We are excited to welcome the highly dedicated, skilled and experienced personnel of Magic Wand to the growing Istobal USA team. The addition of the industry proven Magic Wand self-serve equipment, touch free rollovers and conveyor product lines gives Istobal USA and its distribution partners the industry's most complete product line. It is the perfect opportunity to bring Istobal technology and efficiency to the reliable hard working Magic Wand products. The strategically located and modern 97,000+ sq. ft. manufacturing facilities in Bristol allow us to immediately expand our U.S. based manufacturing and support capabilities."
Istobal also stated it plans to add new hires to the existing Magic Wand staff. The company also said the takeover, which will be a $2 million project, will include the addition of 72 jobs over the next three years.
IstobalUSA CEO Angel Jimenez said the incentives package and the aggressive negotiating style of area and state officials drew the company to Bristol. "It left us no choice. It was Virginia and Bristol, all the way," he said.
Bill Daugherty, the co-founder of Magic Wand who will be retained as an adviser, said he was relieved. "We've saved my employees and given them benefits," Daugherty said. "And we will add even more [in the future]. We couldn't have chosen a better company to bring to Bristol."
• Lustra™ Professional Car Care Products of DePere, WI, announced it has appointed Car Wash Products Inc., based out of Middletown, NY, as its Eastern New York region distributor. Car Wash Products is also a distributor of Oasis and Jim Coleman equipment.
Todd Mills, president of Car Wash Products, said in a statement, "We like to distribute for companies that are tried and true names, have been in the industry for a long time, that are successful, and, most importantly, offer products we can feel comfortable backing. Lustra meets every one of those requirements. We are extremely pleased to now be a part of the Lustra sales team."
Lustra™ announced it has also appointed Equipt Petroleum Store as its distributor in Beirut, Lebanon.
Issa Petroleum Trade (IPT), the parent company of Equipt, owns and operates 30 gas stations and also supplies gasoline to over 120 locations. IPT has been working to be the pioneer of in-bay automatic carwashes in the nation.
Dr. Toni Issa, CEO of Issa, stated in a press release, "The Ultraflex products give us total flexibility in our very busy operations by allowing us to control the rich scents and vivid colors."
Dave Wingert, vice president of Lustra, also stated in a press release, "We are very happy to have IPT and Equipt Petroleum Store distributing our products. With their vast experience in the area of carwashes and robust support network, we look forward to growing our businesses together in Lebanon."
Lustra™ also appointed Starwash Italia as the distributor for its Italian customer base.
Starwash Italia, founded in 1996, is owned by Enrico Mariotto, who is an architect and has developed carwashes for independent investors. He is also credited with introducing the automated touchless H.P. Jet Wash system. Bomi Zarolia, vice president for Lustra International Sales, stated in the press release, "We are very pleased to continue our relationship with Enrico and his company to better serve his customers."
• RDM Industrial Electronics Inc., of Nebo, NC and Lakewood, CO, announced it has purchased the assets of PTSG Inc., a commercial fuel controller rebuilder.
PTSG, of Canyon Lake, TX, remanufactures petroleum and carwash electronics.
• AXEON Water Technologies of Fallbrook, CA, announced plans to move into a 50,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility during the first quarter of 2012.
"We've been preparing for this move for some time," Augustin R. Pavel, AXEON CEO, said. "After substantial growth of our customer base, we knew we would need larger and more versatile facilities, and the City of Temecula has been helpful in finding a new home for our team and operations."
The new location will be customized to support the smooth continuation of operations and quality assurance.
• Ryko Solutions Inc. of Grimes, IA, announced that it has acquired the assets and operations of its largest distributor, Commercial Washing Systems Inc.
The move extends Ryko's national network for customers into the central and southern regions of Texas.
"Commercial Washing Systems has been a vital and extraordinarily successful component of Ryko's distribution system for 30 years, so we're very pleased to be adding them to the Ryko family. This acquisition will allow us to further strengthen our position as the leading provider of managed carwash systems in the U.S.," Steven L'Heureux, president and CEO of Ryko, said in a statement to the press.
Commercial Washing Systems' president, Jody Carroll, will remain with the company as general manager of sales and service for the South/Central Texas Region.
In other Ryko news, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently visited the Ryko Solutions facility to get a tour and to congratulate the company on its growth and contributions to improving the state-based economy.
This is actually the second time Branstad has visited the facility as the acting governor of the state. The first time was almost 30 years ago when he cut the ribbon when the facility first opened. Back then it was a 150,000-square foot building. Today, the facility covers 250,000 square feet and employs 150 people (there are 360 employees throughout the country). Branstad served as governor back in 1984, and ran again (and won) in 2010.
Ryko's CEO Steve L'Heureux told Branstad during the tour that the company is currently negotiating multiple acquisitions which will bring more jobs to the state. L'Heureux also said they're developing an "Advanced Education and Training Center at the Grimes facility."
L'Heureux said in a press release, "Since the visit, the Governor has referenced Ryko's contributions to the state and local economy in a series of economic roundtables and forums he's participated in. We are very proud to be contributing to the rebuilding of Iowa's economy and look forward to working with the Governor to continue that endeavor."
• Unitec Electronics of Elkridge, MD, has designated "Share Our Strength" as its charitable organization of choice for 2012.
"Share Our Strength," a not-for-profit organization that fights to end hunger for citizens on a national basis.
Unitec Electronics' Charity Committee is in the process of planning events for employees to take part in, and will start with a Mardi Gras-themed luncheon.
"These events give our employees a chance to come together to do something creative and fun, while also supporting a good cause," said Michelle Covington, technical writer and Chairman of the Charity Committee at Unitec Electronics. "Our team looks forward to working together in 2012 to raise as much money as we can to support the mission and goals of Share Our Strength."
The world's largest carwash convention and trade show, The Car Wash Show™, will be held May 7-9, 2012, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Registration for the show, which can be done at www.carwash.org, will open this month.
The Show, formerly known as the Car Care World Expo, will host football celebrity Mike Ditka as the keynote speaker. Ditka is a former tight end for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He also served as coach of the Cowboys, Bears and New Orleans Saints. Ditka now serves as an ESPN analyst and restaurateur.
According to the International Carwash Association™ website, 80 percent of the tradeshow floor has already been reserved by vendors and exhibitors.
Last year's show, which was held May 2-4 at the Sands, was attended by 5,500 people representing more than 8,000 carwashes from more than 35 countries.