Groundhog Day is officially Feb. 2nd in the U.S. Every year, the good folks in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, get all dressed up in their top hats and tails to see if a rodent named Phil can see his shadow, thereby predicting the outcome of the weather for the rest of the winter season.

As folklore goes, if Phil sees his shadow when emerging from his den, the country will see six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.

The first Groundhog Day was February 2, 1887, and was the brainchild of a local newspaper editor named Clymer Freas, who sold a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters — known collectively as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club — on the idea. The tradition is still being celebrated 130 years later.

What does a holiday that has already passed this year have to do with carwashing? Nothing really, but I do find it interesting that a town of about 6,000 people has managed to keep itself relevant for 130 years worldwide by forecasting the weather, especially in a day and age when weather information is at our fingertips on our smartphones or laptops.

So, what is your Groundhog Day? What keeps you relevant? What makes people remember your name and want to visit you again and again, you know, like Groundhog Day?

Not too long ago, clean, dry and shiny was enough. Now, they are just the beginning! Lights, smoke machines, scents and themed washes are becoming commonplace. Now, it seems more and more like we are not only in the carwash business but also in the entertainment business! The end result? The industry has upped its game.

Buying a carwash at a modern tunnel is no longer a matter of drudgery but something to look forward to. Decades ago, these wash experiences would have been likened to an “E ticket ride” at a famous amusement park.

One demographic often overlooked (two to 10 years old) seems to control, indirectly, quite a bit of discretionary spending. Get these folks on your side, and whenever the parents get within a couple of miles of your place, they’ll be clamoring to go to the carwash, and after all, isn’t that the goal? To have your customers feel like it’s Groundhog Day as they keep coming back time after time?

Keeping a town of 6,000 people on the national conscience is no easy task, yet the people of Punxsutawney make it look easy. Keeping your washes on the local conscience seems to take more effort. Attack all angles while developing your local brand. Your ability to prompt your customers’ children to ask to visit “the really cool carwash” might just be the ticket to remaining relevant in an increasingly cluttered world.


Bob Fox has over 30 years industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected] For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.

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