Company News

Pep Boys sells business to Bridgestone

PHILADELPHIA — Bridgestone Americas Inc. announced that Pep Boys and Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC (BSRO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone, have entered into a definitive merger agreement, according to a press release. Under the agreement, BSRO will acquire Pep Boys in an all cash transaction for $15 per share, or around $835 million in aggregate equity value.

Established in 1921 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pep Boys has more than 7,500 service bays in over 800 locations throughout 35 states and Puerto Rico, and offers auto parts and services.

This acquisition helps to accelerate Bridgestone Corporation’s global growth strategy and will add an additional approximate 800 locations to BSRO’s network of 2,200 tire and auto service centers, which currently operate under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus, Tires Plus and Wheel Works brands.

Furthermore, this acquisition represents an “immediate nationwide expansion of more than 35 percent for BSRO.”

“We are excited to join the Bridgestone family of companies to become part of the world’s largest company-owned tire and automotive service retail network,” stated Scott Sider, CEO of Pep Boys. “This transaction delivers a significant premium for Pep Boys’ shareholders and offers new opportunities for our employees across a bigger business. We look forward to working with the Bridgestone team for a smooth and successful transition.”

The acquisition is expected to close early in 2016.


Business offers free washes and oil changes

PHOENIX — Cobblestone Auto Spa, a full-service carwash located in Phoenix, offered free carwashes and oil changes to all veterans and active military on Nov. 11, according to a press release. The offer will extend until the end of the year.

More than 2,500 free carwashes were given away to veterans and active military who visited Cobblestone Auto Spa last year. The business is hoping to increase the number of washes during this year’s promotion at all their locations in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Surprise, Tempe, Scottsdale and Cave Creek.

This is the six consecutive year Cobblestone Auto Spa participated in the Grace for Vets program, and the second year the business has offered free oil changes and express carwashes.

The complimentary oil change includes lube, oil, filter and an 18-point inspection.

Established in 1997, Cobblestone Auto Spa has 11 locations offering full-service and express drive-thru washes, oil change and quick lube services, NOVUS windshield repair and replacement, 24-hour convenience stores and fuel.


7-Eleven launches first location in UAE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Seven Emirates Investment LLC, a master franchisee of 7-Eleven Inc., announced the opening of its first 7-Eleven location in UAE, according to a press release.

The location opened to the public this fall, and the company held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting ceremony, VIP attendance and a celebratory dinner for contractors, suppliers and other guests.

The new convenience store, which is 2,000 square feet, offers 2,500 products. The current company-operated location employs 18 staff members.

“We worked closely with Seven Emirates and our parent company Seven-Eleven Japan to ensure we are providing the neighborhood with the products they expect from 7‑Eleven as well as fresh foods typically consumed there,” said Chris Tanco, 7‑Eleven executive vice president and head of international.

Special features and customer conveniences, such as countertops for eating and charging mobile devices, a mini office area with an ATM, copier machines and delivery bicycles, are also offered at the new site.

Currently operated by Seven Emirates, the c-store is projected to be franchised in the future once the infrastructure supporting 7-Eleven stores is fully constructed.


Autobell launches new location

CHARLOTEE, N.C. — Autobell Car Wash Inc. announced the opening of a new full-service wash in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to a press release. Gregg Eddins will be the store manager of the new carwash.

This wash is the company’s first location in Williamsburg and its 10th location within the Hampton Roads area, with other locations in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

With the addition of the Williamsburg location, Autobell now has 70 carwashes in four states.

The new location is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Association News

NRCC celebrates record-breaking numbers

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The 26th Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC), which moved its venue to the Atlantic City Convention Center (ACCC), featured 301 exhibits, according to a press release.

David DuGoff, show chairman, reported that the number of exhibits was up by 31 from last year, and is also an all-time record for the event. The NRCC was previously held at the Trump Taj Mahal for several years.

“The move to the [ACCC] was ideal,” said DuGoff. “There was space to walk around on the show floor, exhibits with more hardware, tables that you could use to get business done (or just take a break) and the entire environment was comfortable, bright and easy to use. We went out of our way to take care of our exhibitors and attendees. That is the NRCC way of running a trade show.”

The event welcomed 1,629 visitors and featured a successful educational track. The topics for the seminars and panels included programming for tunnels and self-service operators, PCI and EMV compliance, security and more.

The NRCC 2015 also inducted Walt Hartl of Hoffman Car Wash in Albany, New York, into the NRCC Hall of Fame at the Awards Luncheon.

Taking place once again at the ACCC with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa as the host hotel, the NRCC 2016 is slated for Sept. 19-21.


Irish Car Wash Association welcomes police investigation

CRAWLEY, England — The Irish Car Wash Association (ICWA) has welcomed recent police raids to investigate claims of slave labor at carwashes in Ireland, according to the Forecourt Trader.

“The membership is very concerned at the substantial growth in the nonforecourt-operated carwashes that have ‘sprung up’ on vacant lots, disused forecourts and car parks across the country,” said David Blevings, a spokesperson for ICWA. “While the industry has no problem in welcoming competition, many of these washes operate without [licenses], have no valid planning, operate on a domestic supply and have no suitable plan for disposal of effluent which clearly affects the environment.”

Blevings reported that ICWA members were concerned regarding possible exploitation of workers at these types of carwashes because many locations were using casual labor. ICWA raised the issue of the unauthorized carwashes with the government, tax and water authorities in hopes of having “a coordinated approach to the problem;” however, the association has reported little success.

ICWA members require planning permission to include interceptors and recycling tanks to set up a wash business attached to a service station, and many require a trade effluent discharge license and are also required to monitor water quality. Carwashes may also be obligated to provide certificates for silt and contaminated water disposal and pay water rates.

Because of the costs and overheads, Blevings stated that members cannot compete with unauthorized washes that do not pay minimum wage and/or comply with many of the regulations.


Car Wash Show Europe announces successful debut

AMSTERDAM — The first European event to focus exclusively on the professional carwash industry, Car Wash Show Europe™ took place this fall in Amsterdam, according to a press release.

Organized by International Carwash Association (ICA), the event featured product displays, receptions, carwash tours and seminars. A total of 2,100 participants attended the event, noted the ICA, which is more than twice the expected result.

“What we have been hearing from European carwash owners and suppliers — that there would be great interest in an event catered to their specific needs — was certainly confirmed this week,” said Eric Wulf, ICA’s CEO.

More than 70 nationalities were represented at the event, with about 80 percent of attendees from Europe, 15 percent from North America and five percent from other markets around the world.

Furthermore, the nearly “90 exhibiting companies represented twice the number of carwash companies ever assembled in Europe.”

The dates for the next Car Wash Show Europe, which is scheduled to take place in fall 2017, will be announced soon.


People News

Green Service Standard welcomes new industry professionals

INDIANAPOLIS — Tony Passwater, director for Green Service Standard (GS2) Committee, announced that the organization has added two new authorities to its team, Hampden Kuhns, Ph.D., and Kevin McCartney, according to a press release.

Kuhns specializes in energy efficiency, and McCartney is a specialist in automotive diagnostic procedures for O.E. manufacturers.

A research professor at the Nevada Desert Research Institute, Kuhns is the founder of Load IQ, an energy metering company based in Reno, Nevada, and has been a principal investigator as well as an active member in many research studies focused on motor vehicle emissions.

McCartney, a five-time Ford Motor Company Certified Training Program award winner, has more than 28 years of experience in vehicle diagnostics as an instructor, manager, master technician, master trainer, consultant and technical writer/editor; he is also an adjunct professor at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, where he directed the Environmental Clean Air Car Technician certification program.

The GS2 Committee represents 10 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors, which include new/used car dealers, parts/paints suppliers, auto body shops, gas stations, exhaust system and tire services, glass replacement shops, transmission shops, carwashes and oil change services and general automotive service and repair facilities.


Mister Car Wash appoints new corporate counsel

TUCSON, Ariz. — Mister Car Wash announced that Lisa Bossard Funk has joined the company as corporate counsel for mergers and acquisitions, according to a press release. Funk brings nearly 30 years of legal experience in merger and acquisitions, commercial real estate and employment law.

Prior to her new position with Mister Car Wash, Funk was a partner in the law firm of Bossé Rollman & Funk and the vice president of legal and human resources for an international, privately held cardiopulmonary products company.

Funk, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, teaches a practicum on mergers and acquisitions law each spring at the university.

She also currently serves as president and director of Arizona Women Lawyers Association, member at large of the Executive Council of the Business Section of the Arizona State Bar, director of Pima County Bar Association, director of Tohono Chul Park and member of Women Presidents Organization — Tucson Chapter.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lisa to our Tucson-based management team,” said John Lai, CEO of Mister Car Wash. “As we continue our steady expansion into new markets across the U.S., she will provide legal advice to our acquisition team, coordinate due diligence review and local counsel, draft acquisition documentation and negotiate with sellers and real estate investors.”