Report shows job growth, dropping unemployment rate

WASHINGTON — A government report shows a decrease in unemployment and the creation of 252,000 jobs in December, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The report also says 50,000 more jobs were added in October and November than it had originally projected, shared the article.

The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent in November. The decrease was partly due to some jobless people no longer looking for work.

Despite these numbers, average hourly pay dropped five cents in December.

The U.S. is experiencing its largest annual job gain since 1999 with three million more workers in 2015 than at the start of 2014.

The Federal Reserve considers a 5.2 to 5.5 percent unemployment rate range as a sign of a healthy economy.

Franchise 500 list includes c-stores

IRVINE, Calif. — Three convenience store chains made Entrepreneur magazine’s 36th Annual Franchise 500 list, according to csnews.com.

7-Eleven took the number 10 spot on the lineup. In 2014 it had 8,710 franchises, up from 6,723 in 2011.

The c-store chain continues to look for new franchisees in about 36 states and regions. Startup costs are between $37,000 and $2 million.

Circle K came in at number 42 on the list. It has 462 franchises in the U.S., with startup costs between $211,500 and $1.6 million.

The list also included ampm at number 177. The company had 962 franchise units in 2014, and startup costs are between $397,400 and $7.8 million.

Mobile marketing strategy rewards customers

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Clipper Petroleum Inc. has partnered with OpenStore by GasBuddy to execute a digital and mobile marketing solution, according to CSPnet.com.

The program will include a mobile app, individual store Web pages, mobile coupons and social media.

Clipper’s 28 stores will be able to reach and reward customers through the initiative. The company will be able to collect customer feedback and manage marketing campaigns through one platform.

“This opportunity will give us more avenues to connect with our current customers and reach out to new ones,” says Ed Hong, vice president of retail operations for Clipper, in the article. “The Clipper mobile app will also allow us to make the buying experience at our stores more convenient and economical for our customers.”

Clipper owns and operates 28 locations under the On the Run, Circle M and Subway brands.

Washes exempt from water rationing rules

DUNCAN, Okla. — The city council has allowed carwashes to remain open during stage five drought conditions, according to the Duncan Banner.

Carwash operations have been limited to Tuesday through Sunday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Other industries granted exemptions include plant nurseries, some homeowners and some businesses that transport food and garbage.

No other types of business will be exempted from the rules. City Manager Jim Frieda says in the article that most residents are opposed to any businesses being exempt from the law. The carwash exemption could be reevaluated in a few months.

First-time violators will be fined $500.

Proposed bill seeks sales tax removal

OMAHA, Neb. — If new legislation is enacted, area carwashes will be exempt from charging state sales tax, according to jrn.com.

Senator Burke Harr of Omaha is sponsoring the bill, noted the article. Carwashes had to begin charging the tax in 2003, and Harr says in the article the bill would keep a promise the state made to carwash owners at the time.

Savings for one customer amounted to nearly one dollar, but drivers share in the article they supported the proposal.

A similar bill failed in 2013 because a projection showed the state would lose more than $2 million in tax revenue.

‘Pop-up’ carwashes under scrutiny

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — New legislation has been drafted to regulate “mop-and-bucket” carwashes, according to jaxdailyrecord.com.

Council member Denise Lee was concerned about the washes contributing to crime and affecting local residents.

“We need to try and regulate the mop-and-bucket carwashes,” Lee says in the article. “Sometimes, there are no cars being washed, but there are 13 or 14 people hanging around.”

Most commercial washes are regulated under a current city ordinance, but it does not address the mop-and-bucket businesses. One issue is the proper disposal of wastewater.

According to Lee, the new ordinance’s passage is a priority. “We are going to get this legislation done before we leave on July 1,” she shares in the article.

Driver speeds through wash at 40 mph

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No one was hurt after a 94-year-old man sped through Quick Quack Car Wash at 40 miles per hour, according to WFSB.com.

The main paid for his wash, then surprised workers when he took off through the wash.

Surveillance cameras caught the incident on video. The video shows the driver speeding through the wash and crashing into the other side in the vacuum area.

“Another lady who was in the back, vacuuming her car, actually backed her car out and pulled out about five seconds before impact,” shares Mitch Shiveley, site manager for the wash.

A conveyor usually takes vehicles through the tunnel while they are in neutral. According to the wash, the elderly driver could not take his foot off the gas pedal.

Damages totaled nearly $100,000, and most of them have been fixed

Gas wars stifle detail shop business

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — As two gas stations offer the lowest prices in town, one detailing shop says its business has suffered, according to eaglefordtexas.com.

The steady stream of customers lining up for the rock-bottom prices have clogged an intersection, blocking Kool Rides auto detailing shop.

“It’s caused a major nightmare for us for the last couple months,” shares Michael Nelson, the shop’s owner, in the article. “During the peak rush hours like early in the morning and late in the day, we’ll have cars stacked up…. We have people just trying to get in and out.… It’s just awful dangerous having cars cut in on the wrong side of Mulberry [Street] to get in to get to the gas station.”

The Diamond Shamrock and Western Convenience gas stations have competed intensely. When one lowers prices, the other reduces them further.

“When we go to match him, he goes four cents below,” says Robert Zipperstein, district manager for Empire Petroleum (Diamond Shamrock), in the article. “That’s what’s driving this, his wanting to be four cents below us for some reason. We’ve made the decision to go down to match, but at some point we have to decide enough is enough.”

Workers on strike join union

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Carwasheros at Vegas Auto Spa have joined the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), according to the New York Daily News.

The workers, who have been on strike since November, became the 10th carwash in the city to become part of the union when it voted unanimously to join RWDSU.

The employees plan to continue the strike until a contract giving them more safety on the job is signed.

“We are hoping for more protection, like gloves and glasses,” says employee Angel Rebolledo in the article. “We want to be paid according to the law.”

Last fall the workers sued their boss for paying less than the minimum wage.

Winter weather causes business boom

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Warmer weather following heavy snow gave local carwashes an increase in business, according to KLJB.com.

Salt on the roads during the winter can cause rust on cars, and WaterPark Full Service Car Wash has been busy cleaning it off.

Customers in the article say they visited the carwash anywhere from once per week to every three months.

Manager Greg Pilichowski notes in the article that the wash has increased its volume by 30 to 40 percent with every warm day.

Not only does the wash protect vehicles from the slush on the roads, but Pilichowski also says in the article customers are happier with clean cars.

“You feel better after you wash your vehicle,” he shares in the article. “You look down at your floors and you can actually see your carpet.”

UAE enacts environmental regulations for carwashes

RAS AL KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates — As part of new regulations issued in 2014, all carwashes in the town must recycle water, according to the Khaleej Times.

“It has become mandatory for all carwash and polish stations here to recycle and reuse the water used in cleaning cars so as to preserve water resources,” says Dr. Saif Mohamed Al Ghais, executive director of the Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority (EPDA), in the article.

Carwashes also cannot be located within 300 meters of residential or commercial areas, schools or hospitals.

Asbestos has also been banned from carwashes, states the article, and “solid waste must be collected in metal strainers.”

Correction

PC&D printed incorrect information about the new Quality Car Wash in its February issue. Please see the correct story as follows.

Sixth Quality Wash boasts new technology, restaurant

HOLLAND, Mich. — The sixth Quality Car Wash has opened, according to the Holland Sentinel.

This site features the latest evolution of the Totally Tommy  integrated building & equipment platform from Tommy Car Wash Systems. All Quality Car Wash express tunnel locations are fully equipped by their sister company, Tommy Car Wash Systems.

The company began when President Ryan Essenburg’s grandfather opened a carwash in 1969. It now operates six locations and employs about 120 people.

The new site was designed to be bright and energy efficient. Drivers going through the wash can see the parking lot since the building is all windows. The location also features a unique integration of the wash, c-store, and gas operations, allowing for minimal staffing.

Three entry lanes were added so wash club members can go around customers using the wash sales window. It also houses a Tim Horton’s restaurant.