Bruce Milen, who is ranked among Michigan's top carwashing veterans and has been able to succeed in the industry despite working in one of the nation's toughest markets, recently talked with Professional Carwashing & Detailing® to give his take on the idea of a national carwash.
Milen is the owner of the Southfield, MI-based Jax Kar Wash chain — a name that's had a presence in the Detroit market since the 1950s.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing®: How large is your carwash chain now, and would you ever have the ambition to go national?
Bruce Milen: I'm very happy where my business is at right now. I have no desires, at this time, to grow my chain.
PC&D: We've been talking to a number of regional leaders. What's your area like in that part of Michigan?
BM: Right now we're operating seven sites. In the Detroit market, we have the $2 carwash phenomena, so the exterior- only concept is not a new thing here.
Carwashing is a very difficult business in all parts of the country, but it's the service and the final product that really sets one operation aside from the rest.
PC&D: Do you think the industry will ever see a national carwash reach success?
BM: Can it be done? I suppose it can be. What's been tried is full-service, but full-service is a very difficult model to operate. It's labor intensive, and very hard to manage.
The exterior concept, and express — someone might be able to do that. I would think with the enough time, and desire, a strong company that's express could become a national company.