Around the Industry - Dec 2014 - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Around the Industry – Dec 2014

Industry news and highlights from the car care industry.

Mister Car Wash holds headquarters grand opening

TUCSON, Ariz. — Nearly 200 guests joined associates of Mister Car Wash, the largest carwash company in the United States, for the celebratory unveiling of the company’s new national headquarters in Tucson on Oct. 15, according to a press release. Eighty of the company’s Tucson-based associates welcomed guests, many of whom enjoyed tours of the recently completed 25,000-square-foot building located at 222 East Fifth Street near Tucson’s revitalized downtown core.

Notable guests in attendance included Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Kris Galashan from Leonard Green & Partners, the private equity firm which acquired Mister Car Wash in August of 2014. Paul Fazio, president of Sonny’s Enterprises, earned kudos for traveling all the way from South Florida to attend the celebration. Also present were various members of the building’s design, development and construction team.

With the pleasant Arizona sunset as a backdrop, CEO John Lai welcomed guests with a public address on the patio during a cocktail reception. He expressed his personal gratitude to the nearly 5,000 Mister Car Wash associates who represent the company every day in the eyes of Mister Car Wash customers in 14 states.

“As nice as this building is, Mister Car Wash is not this building, Mister Car Wash is our people,” Lai said.

“We may be the largest carwash company in the United States, but our goal is to be the largest and best carwash company in the world, and we couldn’t do it without our people. It’s been 18 years and we’re really just getting started,” he added.

With recruitment, training and career advancement top priorities for Mister Car Wash, the new headquarters features ample office and training space. Later this month, the company will launch its first session of Mister Car Wash University, a managers-in-training program. Guests were able to view this space along with the company fitness center and loaner bikes, which are available to associates for short rides to dozens of nearby restaurants and retailers in downtown Tucson.

Hoping job creators will be inspired to follow Mister Car Wash and other companies’ decisions to base their operations here, Tucson Mayor Rothschild stated, “The location of the Mister Car Wash national headquarters is a model for future businesses. The architecture that incorporates modern elements into a historic building, creating a workplace that motivates employees, near all the amenities of a thriving downtown area, is the model that will make our economy strong. I will be bringing many prospective businesses to see what Mister Car Wash has done to create an ideal headquarters.”

Mister Car Wash is recognized as the largest carwash company in the U.S., operating 134 carwashes and 32 express lubes in 14 states. Headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., the company’s nearly 5,000 employees service over 15 million vehicles annually. Mister Car Wash is an operating company of Leonard Green & Partners L.P.

Increase in driverless carwash crashes

DETROIT — Several carwashes are having issues with driverless cars rolling off conveyors and crashing, according

Rodney Watts, general manager for Mr. C’s Car Wash in Michigan, said the accidents have happened approximately six times since January.

Watts calls them runaways. “You try to catch it and get it under control as quickly as possible safely,” he says in the article.

Because of the multiple claims, the carwash’s insurance has increased its deductible to $10,000.

In the article, Watts explains that “between the cloth, the high-pressure vents, the dryer sets off the keyless entry. If it sets it off more than three times it goes into an anti-collision theft mode.” The cars affected are Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford released a statement saying it has not received any complaints about the problem.

Small businesses unprepared for data breaches

NEW YORK — Large companies have been in the news lately because of far-reaching data breaches, but small businesses should also be mindful of hackers, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Computer and website attacks can be costly. Small companies may have to spend thousands or millions of dollars to resolve the issue.

Cyber attacks on smaller companies are not unheard of; 44 percent of small businesses have been attacked.

When an attack happens, businesses usually have a computer expert find the source of the attack. Systems also have to be purged of harmful software like viruses. Sometimes websites need to be shut down.

Nearly every state requires companies to notify people when information has been compromised. Companies must pay to notify each person affected, and businesses are often advised to pay for credit report monitoring for these customers.

Many businesses are not prepared for an attack because they believe they cannot afford to invest in the right software and consulting services to make their systems more secure. Attacks can happen from seemingly harmless sources, and businesses can be caught unaware.

The article also included several tips to help businesses that do suffer attacks like: Buy insurance to help cover financial losses; install free anti-virus and anti-malware software; and use an email provider with proper security systems.

Mister Car Wash gains new investor

TORONTO, Ontario — Penfund, an independent provider of junior capital to middle market companies in the U.S. and Canada, has completed a $15.1 million debt and equity investment in Mister Car Wash, according to a press release.

Mister Car Wash was purchased by Leonard Green & Partners in August.

The chain operates 134 carwashes across 14 states, making it the largest carwash chain in the U.S.

John Lai, CEO of Mister Car Wash, says in the release, “Mister Car Wash has built one of the most sophisticated operating platforms in the carwash industry and now, with the strength of Leonard Green's backing, we're perfectly positioned to grow at an even faster clip.”

Jeremy Thompson, a partner at Penfund, states in the release, “We are very happy to have been able to support Leonard Green in their acquisition of Mister Car Wash. We believe the acquisition will enable Mister Car Wash to continue its strong growth and maintain its industry leadership.”

New wash will feature 145-foot tunnel

DALLAS — Dreamwash Auto Spa will open a new carwash in February 2015, according to owner Arshad Niaz.

The company completed the purchase of the land for the new facility, which will include a 145-foot express tunnel and 20 free self-serve vacuums.

The wash will also feature pay stations with point-of-sale kiosks, RFID monthly tags and numerous technological enhancements.

Dreamwash plans to introduce itself to local residents by providing free unlimited premium level washes.

Niaz says in a release that the demographics of the Frisco neighborhood where the wash will open are promising.

“The city of Frisco has been consistently ranked amongst the top three fastest growing cities in the United States for the last 10 years, and the population is projected to grow 18 percent annually for the next five years,” Niaz explains.

Survey: Small business owners want government help

NEW YORK — Small businesses can get frustrated when government gets in the way of operations, but a survey found that there are some things businesses want from their government, according to the Huffington Post.

The 2014 Small Business Friendliness Survey gauged opinions from thousands of American small business owners. Small businesses may be upset about regulatory or tax burdens, but they value things like training and support offered by governments.

The article reports that “professionals who were aware of support programs ranked their governments as 10 percent more friendly than those who were not.”

Small business professionals often benefit from networking events provided by government programs. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they had never run a business before.

According to the article, the survey brings up several lessons for policymakers, including: Streamline the rules for starting a business; simplify tax rules; publicize available assistance; and make licenses and permits simple to obtain.

Seventh location coming soon for Louisiana chain

BATON ROUGE, La. — The seventh Benny’s Car Wash & Oil Change is coming soon, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

Operator Benny Ford recently purchased land for the automated tunnel facility.

The 2.1-acre site cost $775,345.20, or $6 per square foot.

“Benny recognized this as a high-traffic corner that would be advantageous for his automated carwash operation,” Jim Walsh of Jim Walsh Real Estate, who brokered the deal, says in the article.

The site is zoned for heavy commercial development, and construction is expected to begin by February.

‘Breaking Bad’ carwash featured in political ad

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Mister Car Wash, formerly an Octopus Car Wash, that served as a front to Walter White’s fictional methamphetamine operation in AMC’s Breaking Bad, and now the real, fully-legal wash is featured in a political ad, according to BuzzFeed.

Walter and his wife Skyler used the wash location to hide the profits from selling meth as part of the TV show.

Now democratic nominee for New Mexico state auditor Tim Keller uses the carwash to explain how he will keep the state clean of fraud.

Steve Michael Quezada, who played DEA Agent Steve Gomez in the hit show, voiced the political ad.

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