News from around the industry - November 2015
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Carwash News

Around the Industry – November 2015

Discover the latest trends and news from around the car care and c-store industries.


California prepares for ‘Godzilla-like’ El Nino

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SANTA ANA, Calif. — After four years of severe drought, the forecast for a possible “Godzilla-like” El Nino event has communities throughout California clearing out debris basins, encouraging local residents to stock up on emergency supplies, according to the Associated Press.

Some are even asserting that this projected El Nino could impact the 50th Super Bowl. Officials in San Francisco are working to find ways to contend with potential street closures as a result of extensive rain or street flooding during the Super Bowl this February.


The upcoming El Nino event is already the second strongest on record for this time of the year, according to federal meteorologists.

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, reported that California would need 1.5 times its normal rainfall to get out of the state’s extended drought, which is unlikely.

During early rains, emergency planners stated that the state’s prolonged dry conditions could result in more debris, flooding and fallen trees.

Bob Spencer, a spokesman for Los Angeles County’s public works department, said that workers in the county have been clearing channels and basins to prevent flooding as well as to capture as much stormwater as possible to replenish local water supplies.



Carwash plans to cut cost by installing solar system

COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. — Shayne Hatfield, owner of Glacier Clean Car Wash, has installed a solar heat exchange system on the building’s roof, according to Hungry Horse News.

When sunlight hits the glass vacuum tubes, it superheats the water inside the copper-conducting tubes. The water is “pumped into a water tank with a coiled heating element” and is used to wash cars and heat floors during the winter season “to keep ice at bay.”


The entire solar system cost Hatfield $80,000; however, he said that a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant covered 25 percent of the investment.

Hatfield reported that the system should pay for itself in energy savings in seven years, and the wash’s natural gas use should be cut by one-third.

Additionally, three more self-service bays will be added to Glacier Clean Car Wash. Hatfield is also installing LED lighting through a program with Flathead Electric.


CDC report reveals carwash chemical can be dangerous

WASHINGTON — Based on a study conducted by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found new evidence that chemicals used in carwashes can be dangerous for workers, according to Pulse Headlines and News.


The research evaluated workers’ compensation reports from 2001-13 and found that 48 employees suffered burns from carwash products containing hydrofluoric acid (HF). One investigated case revealed that a worker died after accidentally ingesting some of the product.

“Exposure to hydrofluoric acid causes corrosive chemical burns and potentially fatal systemic toxicity,” informed the CDC report. “Because HF exposure can result in potentially severe health outcomes, efforts to identify less hazardous alternatives to HF-based industrial wash products are warranted.”

HF is used in some carwash chemicals to remove road grime and brighten aluminum. Workers reported suffering burns to the eyes, head or hands after handling the chemical, and seven of the 48 employees studied were hospitalized, with two requiring surgery for their burns.



Carwash receives annual small business award

SARASOTA, Fla. — Clear Sunset Car Wash & Detail Center was recently honored with the Manatee Small Business of the Year award for companies with annual gross sales between $600,000 and $3 million, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The carwash was cleaning around 70 cars per day when they took over the business in 2008, and it is projected to wash approximately four times that number this year. Furthermore, revenues are up about 50 percent during the past three years.


The family-owned carwash is part of the Michigan-based Jax Kar Wash brand, founded by the Milen family in the 1950s, and is the business’ first Florida location.

The carwash employs 28 full-time workers and recently opened a “fast pass” lane “to increase vehicle throughput at its 5,400 square-foot, automatic wash facility” to cater to monthly carwash members and single-wash customers.

“The Milens provide frequent breaks and hydration stations, as well as lunch and snacks on many days,” which helps to keep employees fresh in the hot, labor-intensive work environment in Florida.


Even with more than a dozen full-service carwashes in the area, the business has grown its monthly membership passes to over 1,200 customers with a goal of reaching more than 3,000 in the next three years.

“To attract those members and other customers, the carwash offers many services that go beyond washing, waxing and vacuuming,” explained the article. “Add-ons that go toward bringing a vehicle’s looks and feel back to near new include restoring headlight lenses, hand cleaning wheels and leather seat conditioning.”


Iconic business closes in Madison

MADISON, Wis. — The three Octopus Car Wash locations in Madison were recently sold to Mister Car Wash, according to

The sale of Octopus Car Wash in Madison was finalized on June 30 and also included two locations in Rockford, Illinois.


The iconic carwash changed its name in October, which was also included in the purchase agreement.

Founded in 1956, the purchase of Octopus ends a more than 50-year run in Madison.

Based in Tucson, Arizona, Mister Car Wash is continuing its “rapid expansion.” The company currently operates 157 locations in 18 states and has added 21 carwashes to its portfolio so far this year.


Wash offers special promotion for highly anticipated NFL game

BUFFALO, N.Y. — For week two of the NFL season, the Buffalo Bills played the New England Patriots in a highly anticipated matchup for the area, according to ESPN.


One Buffalo carwash launched a special weekend promotion in preparation of the game. The business offered free inflation for tires, and footballs.

The lighthearted jabs at New England’s football-deflation scandal didn’t stop with the carwash promotion. Prior to the game, the Bills’ pro shop greeted shoppers with a display of football inflation pumps across from the main entrance.


7-Eleven acquires large c-store chain

7-Eleven Inc. has closed on its acquisition of Tedeschi Food Shops, based in Rockland, Massachusetts, and its approximately 180 convenience stores, according to


The acquisition more than doubles 7-Eleven’s footprint in the region, adding to its portfolio of 150 c-stores in the Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire area.

7-Eleven has offered Tedeschi employees who are working at the acquired stores job opportunities.

“The Tedeschi Food Shops stores complement our 7-Eleven store operations in the greater Boston area because of their geographical locations, food service focus, community-involved franchisees and commitment to serving their neighborhoods,” said Stan Reynolds, 7-Eleven’s chief financial officer and executive vice president.

The rebranding of the Tedeschi stores will be gradual, and the acquired c-stores will continue to operate as Tedeschi Food Shops for now.


7-Eleven plans to remodel and rebrand several of the locations later this year.


Commission rejects wash’s beer and wine proposal

WHITTIER, Calif. — The Whittier Planning Commission unanimously voted (three to zero) to reject Whittier Car Wash and Cafe’s request to sell beer and wine, according to the Whittier Daily News.

City commissioners said too many businesses are already selling alcoholic beverages in the area, creating “an overconcentration.” Additionally, three schools are within 2,000 feet of the carwash.


“I am concerned about those that come in for a carwash, have a quick [beer] and take off, especially how close the schools are and how busy Whittier Boulevard can be,” said Wes Murray, planning commissioner.

However, Freddie Esmaili, owner of Whittier Car Wash and Cafe, presented petitions signed by 1,000 people in support of permitting him the right to sell beer and wine.

“Our market analysis convinced us there’s a need, and this petition … demonstrates there is a pent-up demand that needs to be fulfilled,” stated Esmaili.


Carwash chain makes eco-friendly upgrades

AUSTIN, Texas — Circular Energy announced it is commissioning two 14.88 kW solar installations for iShine Express, according to a press release. iShine is a chain of eco-friendly carwashes and detailers.


The solar installations will help the chain’s members advance its sustainability goals and reduce power costs. The carwash will offset 20 percent of electricity costs, a savings of more than $3,600 dollars each year, with the roof-mounted installations.

Additionally, the chain uses mini water treatment plants on-site, which permits them to reclaim most of the water used during the washing process. Biodegradable shampoos are also used to “provide a gentler clean to both cars and the surrounding environment.”

“We’ve always been interested in further greening our operations by powering our facilities with solar,” said Jaron Stone, owner and head of operations for iShine Express. “Circular Energy presented us with a scenario that made solid business sense, including a number of financing options tailored to our specific needs. Circular Energy came highly recommended by their existing customers and delivered a high level of professionalism and expertise throughout this process.”


During the 25-year system lifetime and solar panel warranty period, the wash is projected to save nearly $100,000 in energy savings.

“We are very excited to announce the completion of the combined 29.76 kW solar power installations for iShine and even [happier] about helping them power their eco-friendly operations with a lifetime of clean energy,” stated Richard Estrada, vice president of Circular Energy’s Commercial Solar Division.

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