Professional Carwashing & Detailing

News from the industry

October 11, 2010

Mace in talks with CW No. 1 LLC to sell 36 washes
Mace Security International has rejected a $39 million offer from CW No. 1, LLC (CW1) to purchase its 36 remaining carwashes, believing the offer to be too low.

The company will continue to negotiate with CW1 with the “goal of obtaining a higher price for the assets.”

In early March, Mace sold 12 Arizona carwashes for $19.5 million to CW Acquisitions, LLC. CW Acquisitions has no relationship to CW1.

Mace was riddled with legal concerns that month, including a federal raid of its New Jersey Super Bright washes, where 57 allegedly illegal immigrant workers were arrested.

In late March, Mace settled a civil lawsuit brought on by a woman who blamed one of its Florida carwashes for hiring a sex offender.

And in April, Mace failed to completely file with the Nasdaq Stock Market and was subject to delisting.

Immigrant rallies hit carwashes hard or hardly at all
Scores of carwashes across the U.S. were affected by immigrant rallies and boycotts, although the impact varied greatly between regions.

Some washes were forced to close as immigrant laborers called in or scheduled days off, while other operators maintained operations as usual, but reported slower numbers.

Professional Car Care Online™ collected a group of stories of carwashes across the nation to summarize “A Day Without Immigrants.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Sam Furno, owner of Harv’s Car Wash, said none of his employees would be punished for participating in the rallies. About a third of the mostly Hispanic workers at the wash took the day off to attend the rallies.

“I think people are entitled to their rights,” Furno said. “They work very hard, everyone works hard here.”

CHICAGO — Several businesses here closed, including Raceway Car Wash, although it was not clear if the shut down was due to lack of labor or in support of the rallies.

ATLANTA — John Kim, manager of Speed Auto Care in Norcross, GA, said he closed his carwash/lube business in support of legal immigrants.

Kim, a legal immigrant from South Korea, said several Latino employees planned to participate in the boycott.

Kim said he believes the government should oust those in the country illegally, otherwise, “It is not fair for the people who have waited and done the process the correct way to get here.”

JERSEY CITY, NJ — Flores Car Wash reported slow business due to rallies.

LITTLETON, CO — One fifth of Bear’s Car Wash & Detail Center’s staff of 25 skipped work to attend immigration rallies.

Juan Carpio, a supervisor at the wash, wore a white T-shirt with an American flag on it symbolizing his support of the rallies. Carpio said many of the wash’s Hispanic employees were torn between showing up for work and supporting their cause.

“We have respect for the company because the company takes care of us. We don’t want to affect them in a bad way,” Carpio said. “I don’t feel excited about having to work today, but sometimes you have to make a tough decision.”

Sex case bans wash from asking immigrants’ status
A federal judge in Chicago has found that a suburban carwash tried to intimidate its Hispanic employees by requiring proof of their immigration status after three workers alleged a manager sexually harassed them on the job.

The class-action suit, filed on behalf of three male Glen View Car Wash employees in September by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (ECC), alleges the trio “had been subjected to, among other things, unwelcome touching and offers of sex from the carwash manager, Anthony Fillichio.”

U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman issued a protective order barring the carwash from seeking further information about employees’ immigration status until a pending harassment suit concludes.

Peter Andjelkovich, an attorney for the carwash, said there is no evidence to support the harassment allegations and he is reviewing Guzman’s order for a possible appeal.

Andjelkovich said the family-owned business discovered its personnel files were incomplete while providing documents to the EEOC.

Heavy rains hurt carwashes
Heavy rains and flooding ruined the spring season for many carwash operators in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire.

Bob Katseff, president of the International Carwash Association and owner of Turnpike Car Wash and Plaza Car Wash in Peabody, MA, said his washes were forced to close.

“We’re not flooded, but the roads are closed in front of our buildings,” he said. “We’ve got a skeleton crew, just in the office.”

In the southwest corner of New England, Mark Curtis, an owner of the Splash Car Wash chain, said his washes were not affected by flooding and, while rain has dampened business some, there have been sunny days during the rainy spell.

“While Boston and southern New Hampshire were getting drenched, we had sunshine down here,” he said.