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Rápido Rabbit celebrates first opening

October 11, 2010
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Throughout the past quarter of a century the carwash industry has seen its share of wash chains come and go, leading many to ask what it will take to expand on a national scale.

Some business owners find a comfort in franchise branding, and Rápido Rabbit, a newly established carwash chain, is hoping to gain recognition through branding efforts and by establishing a successful discount wash market.

The first step
Investor Keith Gibson, of GN Investment Group, Fort Smith, AR, celebrated the grand opening of his new carwash site in February, marking his first franchise endeavor with the Rápido Rabbit carwash chain.

The first Rápido Rabbit began operation in December 2004 in Oklahoma City, and Gibson said that he’s already broken ground on his next Rápido location in Edmond, OK, targeting the Oklahoma carwash market.

“I met with Steve Gaudreau and discussed this extensively with him a little more than a year ago,” said Gibson. “I liked (Rápido’s) concept, their ideas, and I liked their expertise in this area.”

Giving back
Gibson has opened the first Rápido in conjunction with Arkansas Carwash Systems (ACS), an area developer for Rápido.

As part of the first site’s opening event, ACS contacted Oklahoma City-based Sunbeam Family Services in order to work cooperatively to promote the nonprofit’s family care services, while also donating all proceeds of the opening weekend to the organization.

Fred Wood, COO of ACS, said the company will continue to work with Sunbeam on any future Rápido sites in the area.

Wood said that working with local charities is something that the franchisor recommends, but it is up to the franchisee as to how much money should be donated to the chosen cause.

Continued consulting
The Beverly, MA-based Rápido Rabbit franchise was officially launched last year by franchise President Steve Gaudreau and Executive Vice President Jacquelyn Bridge, owners of POWER, Inc.’s Car Wash Institute.

Rápido’s format features a three to five minute express wash, with price offerings ranging from $3 to $10, as well as onsite vacuuming services.

According to ACS President Paul Stagg, it took roughly seven months to build the 120-foot tunnel wash which sits on one acre of property.

“A lot of people in the industry underestimate what it takes to run a high-profile operation, and (the franchise) has helped support us in that sense,” said ACS President Paul Stagg. “They offered us extensive training and materials for employees as well as help with site selection.”

According to Gaudreau, the franchise can also help potential carwash owners and builders by providing:

  • Standardized architectural plans;
  • Assistance with equipment and chemicals;
  • A customized marketing plan; and
  • On-going technical support.

“We are very excited about our first unit opening up, and we appreciate the relationship that we’ve had with ACS to make this happen,” Gaudreau said.

When asked for his projections as to how many Rápidos we should expect to see open this year, Gaudreau said the chain is looking at 17 to 23 new locations in various parts of the country to be up and running by the end of the year.