Market Focus: Zips Car Wash acquires Tidal Wave Auto Spa location - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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Market Focus: Zips Car Wash acquires Tidal Wave Auto Spa location

In this Market Focus, we cover grand openings and business expansions.


In this Market Focus, we cover an acquisition, grand openings and business expansions.

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Zips Car Wash acquires Tidal Wave Auto Spa in Jacksonville

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — On Aug. 7th, Zips Car Wash acquired Tidal Wave Auto Spa, located at 580 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park, Florida, according to a press release.

This location will now allow Zips to serve customers at six stores in the greater Jacksonville area, the release continued.

“We’re excited to bring another great operation in the Jacksonville area into the Zips family,” said Jon Gray, executive vice president of strategic initiatives and memberships for Zips Car Wash. “Tidal Wave has a great history of excellence, and we hope to continue that for the residents of Orange Park,” he added.


Operational hours will remain 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily under the new management, the release added, and the store will remain open during this transition; in the near future, Zips will bring its Unlimited Wash Club program to all six of its locations in the greater Jacksonville area in the coming months.

“Our newest location will extend our reach to customers on the southwest side of Jacksonville,” said Gray. “We hope to bring the ‘Zips Way’ culture to the team members from Tidal Wave, as well as to customers in the area, offering safe, fast, friendly, service the right way, every day,” he added.


The Zips Car Wash Operations Team will work to rebrand and bring the Zips operations model to its newest locations in Jacksonville in the coming months, the release concluded.

DRB Systems and Unitec open West Coast office

AKRON, Ohio — DRB Systems and Unitec have opened a new West Coast office in Fontana, California, according to a press release.

The new office will provide sales and service support for the West Coast, as well as extended shipping hours for customers throughout the U.S., the release continued.

This new location is particularly well suited to support the continued growth that is occurring in the carwash industry in southern California, the release noted; the carwash industry leaders also have offices in Akron and Canton, Ohio, and Elkridge, Maryland.


Since the acquisition of Unitec in September 2016, the DRB Systems organization has grown to include 300 employees, the release stated, adding sales, engineering and technical personnel in the Akron and Canton locations.

“One of the most important focus points of our mission at DRB and Unitec is to create opportunities for our customers and employees. It’s a very rewarding moment when an expansion effort, like the addition of our California office, serves both our team and customers.  We look forward to expanding the capacity and resources in all of our locations as we continue to build the world’s leading technology company serving the carwash industry,” said Bill Morgenstern, CEO of DRB and Unitec.


Dolphin Car Wash reopens

ELK RIVER, Minn. — According to, the memorable Dolphin Car Wash and Detail Center, which reopened on Mar. 30th, hosted a grand opening celebration.

Chad and Chelsie Anderson are the new owners of this wash, which has gone through a series of owners from its opening in the 1980s until it closed, the article continued.

The carwash is best remembered for its landscaped water fountain with jumping dolphins, the article noted.

“We’ve been hearing nothing but positive things,” Chad said of the business’ first four months of operation.

Dolphin Car Wash is a full service wash, with package prices ranging from $7 to $20, monthly service plans from $20 to $40 per month, fleet services, detailing packages from $28 to $190, free vacuums for customers as well as car seat and stroller cleaning, the article noted.


The family-friendly waiting area features a coffee maker, a television that streams Netflix, a video game console, comfy furniture and magazines, the article added.

While the Andersons have not gotten the fountain back in working order yet, they plan to do so, the article stated; for the time being, they were focusing on making the carwash operational.

“We’re focused on quality and customer service,” Chad said. “The [aesthetics are] not what is going to drive repeat customers.”

Chad has been around carwashes since he was six years old, when his father and uncle worked in the industry (and had been doing so since their teenage years); Chas began by folding towels and moved up to managing a carwash in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the article stated.


Chad’s background also includes the sale of carwash chemicals, management, maintenance and service work, the article added.

The Andersons replaced a significant portion of the equipment at Dolphin Car Wash and made some improvements, one of which is installing new equipment that allows large pickup trucks with large side mirrors to go through the wash while leaving the mirrors out, the article explained.

They also installed colored lights in the carwash, not only to add some show but also to give those with claustrophobia something to focus on during the wash, the article noted.

“With all my experience, I kind of know where the holes are with other (carwashes), and now I’m here to provide something that fills all those holes,” Chad said.


Carwash expands into used vehicle business

SHELDON, Iowa — According to, Dave Sheffield, owner of Dave’s Auto Wash, is expanding his carwash business by adding a pre-owned vehicle lot.

Sheffield said that he saw a need for it in the area and, having previously worked in the used vehicle industry, he’s been wanting to get back into it, the article continued.

“We’re going to have some newer cars and we’re going to do a few classics along the way. My goal is to get a building built … so I can get a lot of them inside when the weather gets bad and just do an upper-end type of car and pickup,” Sheffield said.


Sheffield said that he had hoped to be in business by now, but he added that the State of Iowa has been slow with his paperwork; now, he hopes to be selling vehicles by mid-September, the article concluded.

Scrubby’s Car Wash opening soon

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. — According to, the newest Scrubby’s Car Wash, owned by brothers Chase and Charles Howard Jr., will open soon at 3741 U.S. Hwy. 17 Bypass as the third location for the business.


“Scrubby’s Car Wash is a family-owned business committed to the local communities we serve,” Chase said. “Technology has caught up with the carwash industry, so we offer a complete wash experience with all the bells and whistles.”

Such technology in the three-minute carwash includes a vehicle profiling system, a buff and dry feature and free towels and cleaning supplies for car interiors, the article noted.

“You are going to be blown away when you see this thing,” Chase said. “Upon exiting, we also offer super-industrial vacuums that are extreme, not anything like coin vacuums people are used to seeing.”


Price packages range from $7 to $20, the article added, and the carwash offers a monthly club rate at one of three prices: $19.99, $29.99 or $34.99.

Chase and Charles are currently the co-vice presidents of Chase Oil Company Inc., which was founded by their grandfather Maitland S. Chase Jr. in 1946 and was established as a jobber for American Oil Company (now BP), the article noted; the brothers are the third generation to serve in this business, and Scrubby’s Car Wash is a division of the company, which has also provided home heating oil, operated convenience stores, fast food restaurants and other carwashes in the past.


Read about the top 100 carwash M&A deals here.

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