BALTIMORE — Car Wash Owners Network (“CWON”), a portfolio company of Baltimore-based Access Holdings, has closed its investment in Flagship Car Wash Center (“Flagship”), a leading carwash operator in the Mid-Atlantic, according to a press release.
As a mid-market investment firm specializing in buy-and-build strategies, Access Holdings partners, scales and innovates to build enduring businesses.
Access Holdings and CWON will support their partnership with Flagship by bringing best-in-class processes and technologies to bolster Flagship’s position within its existing markets and expand into new geographies through de novo development and merger and acquisition (M&A) initiatives.
“We are always looking to partner with entrepreneurs who share our level of ambition and drive for excellence,” said Access Holdings Managing Director Matt McLain. “In our extensive research into the carwash industry, we have identified Flagship as an operator uniquely positioned to scale — particularly given its existing, actionable pipeline of over 20 opportunities in advanced stages of diligence. For more than 30 years, Flagship has provided best-in-class services across this ever-growing market. Access is excited to support the brand’s accelerated expansion, enhance its offerings and continue to secure Flagship as the premier operator of choice.”
Flagship was founded in 1983 by Donnie Hinton, who later joined forces with Guy Paolozzi in 2010 to create one of the leading carwash operators in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia (“DMV”) market with 11 locations offering express, full- and flex-serve carwash services.
CWON and Flagship are aligned on a win-win value creation strategy that combines Flagship’s local knowledge and premier locations with CWON’s best practices and winning playbook.
The partnership will expand modern carwash services, including indoor sites, monthly membership options and increased express services to more customers with an objective to grow Flagship’s business to 50-plus locations by 2024.
“CWON proved themselves to be a true partner throughout the transaction,” said Flagship Co-Owner and President Guy Paolozzi, who will continue to lead the business post-close. “The CWON team genuinely took the time to get to know us and define a mutually developed long-term strategy centered around a dynamic and actionable growth plan that we are already executing against. We are entering this deal confident that we have an innovative partner who not only understands our mission but also has the vision and know-how to execute and improve it.”
Since 2019, CWON has partnered with leading operators in prime markets, with Flagship becoming CWON’s third carwash operating brand.
The network offers unmatched platform operators and market-leading brands in each of its geographies.
Through its partnerships, CWON has expanded its presence from a single market comprised of 24 sites in early 2020 to five markets with an expected 75-plus sites by year-end 2021.
CWON expects to reach 100-plus sites by the end of 2022 via continued rapid expansion in current and new markets.
“Flagship presented an incredible opportunity for CWON to continue building its network of top carwash operators,” said CWON Chief Financial Officer Andy Colmone. “Guy has built a premier business which shares our dynamic, innovative approach. The Flagship brand is synonymous with quality, and together we will accelerate Flagship’s expansion and grow its already impressive service offerings.”
CWON is executing a purposeful growth strategy by partnering with leading express carwash operators in attractive markets.
We caught up with Access Holdings’ Matt McLain on a follow up video interview. Be sure to check it out below.