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It was a striking statement.
I was caught totally off-guard. I didn’t have the presence of mind, unfortunately, even to notice who made this stunning comment about our national state of affairs.
“Many people are feeling so much pain today,” the angry politician stated, “that they will soon find their passion about these unspeakable situations, and then they will be able to find a definite purpose, and a needed solution too.”
Of course, the key issues facing the carwash industry are not life-threatening.
But sometimes I wish carwash operators and their suppliers would become much more vocal, much more animated and even more purposeful.
Ignorance, indifference or apathy can be more harmful than heated debate.
sure, the early leaders and pioneers of the industry, including Sonny Fazio, Dan Hanna, Larry Klein, Red Lewis and Jim and Bud Belanger were passionate, farsighted and determined. They were focused on building, selling and installing carwash equipment that worked.
A second generation, beginning in the 1990s, focused on performance improvement and product innovations to enhance wash quality, minimize customer damage and more recently, to reduce operating costs while being environmentally-friendly.
As the industry continues to evolve, and regains its footing in a still uncertain economy, leaders today must confront and resolve two critical questions:
How can operators and suppliers continue to differentiate themselves in ways that add real value to their respective customers, and can be effectively implemented?
And, which business model affords the greatest opportunity for operators and suppliers to increase their sales and gain market share?
Carwashes in all market segments, most would agree, have reached an exceptionally high level of performance and nearly universal customer acceptance.
But the next challenge is daunting: leaders of a maturing industry now must be passionate and purposeful in making their recovering businesses more profitable.
Let’s hope this is not a long and painful journey.