SSCWN Fall 2017

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I want to start off by saying I am so grateful and honored to be a part of this publication. In fact, I am so honored that I am frozenly nervous and have put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to respect the legacy created by the Joseph Campbell and his wife, Julia. Those two, a perfect match professionally and in marriage, with a passion and keen insight into the industry, synergistically sparked periodical greatness. Self Serve Car Wash News was there baby. It united an industry, offered up laughs and loyalty. And, simply put: They created one hell of a magazine. And then there’s JJ Jakubowski, a beloved editor who penchant for humor and storytelling is unmatchable. When I was first given this coveted role, former editor Kate Carr sent me a box of all the back issues of Self Serve Car Wash News. For months, I went through the issues, and was continuously floored by the innate articles, the allegiance of the many advertisers, and the laughs the stories generated. It will be my mission to do right by the Campbells, Jakubowski and Carr. These are big shoes to fill and I will do everything I can to honor their work and earn the respect of you, the readers. I would like for you the readers to trust me with this distinguished publication and I want all of you to feel free to reach out to me with any kinds of comments, suggestions, funny stories, sad stories, gripes, etc. You name it. I am here. Our relationship is so important to me, because honestly, without you, it would not exist. I wouldn’t dream of trying to understand what it is like to own a self serve car wash. I do not know what it is like to get phone calls about malfunctioning equipment, car accidents, having to contact the police about criminal activity, or having to deal with piles of disgusting litter left

CONTENTS yikes ... Online Reviews........................8 From the Archives: Looking Back to Spring 2008.......................................... 16 WashIdeas: Interview with Mike Hamel................................... 19 Funny Business: Maggot Mayhem!.................................. 26 Innovations............................................... 28 SS Snapshot............................................... 30

behind by audacious and disgusting customers. I know you all have to balance between being a handyman, landscaper, chemist, plumber, janitor, accountant, marketer and manager. I know the hats you wear can be heavy at times. And, in my small role in the industry, I hope I can in some way make you smile, or even laugh, feel emboldened, and unified. I will do my best to mix information with light-heartedness and offer up any news and information that could help you in some way. I do not have your skillsets, but, I will proudly and impeccably tell your stories. The Campbells, JJ and Kate were so good at doing this, and who am a I really? I am just a storyteller and reporter, truly humbled by this new adventure. In order for us to keep the train rolling along, I will be relying on all of you for your input, story ideas, stories, and camaraderie. Maybe this journey can start by me telling you a little about myself. For starters, I am not new to the car washing industry. I was head editor of Professional Carwashing & Detailing Magazine (which is where I met Kate Carr) and for the past couple years I have been editor of this magazine’s sister publication, Auto Detailing News. I graduated from CarWash College. I have been to countless CarWash Shows, Northeast Regional Carwash Conventions, Mobile Tech Expos, and SEMAs. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont, where I served as chief editor of the college’s weekly newspaper…blah, blah, blah…. Is this boring you? Okay, how about instead we get to the real nitty gritty. What can I reveal about myself to make you feel you can trust me? Let’s see, here are some fascinating facts: My first car was a Nissan Stanza (a ’92 I believe)? It was a long time ago. My dream car is a 1964 orange convertible Karmann Ghia. My first car wash visit was to the Colonial Self Serve in Schenectady, New York. I think Kenny Loggins is a musical genius. I think {continued }

Industry Dirt............................................ 34 Extra! Extra!............................................. 37 Association News & Calendar............................................... 40 Tricks of the Trade................................ 49 Tips from a Pro CWGUY.COM’S Random Thoughts................................. 52 Quick Tips................................................ 56 Cover Story Are We Not Recession Proof...................................... 57 Fun & Games........................................... 75 Darwin at the Carwash........................ 76

VOL. 44, NO. 4, FALL 2017 Publisher Jackson Vahaly Editor Debra Gorgos Design Katy Barret-Alley Editor Emeritus Jarret J. Jakubowski Editor Posthumous Joseph J. Campbell Editor Posthumous Julia E. Campbell Self Serve Carwash News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. Web address is All inquiries should be directed to:

Self Serve Car Wash News 110 Childs Ln., Franklin, TN 37067 Copyright 2014. 2 Dollar Enterprises/SSCWN. All Rights Reserved


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Selfie Notes Roger Moore was the greatest James Bond. I better stop right there. I don’t want to divulge too much too soon. Before I forget, I am also a mother and dog and cat owner. In fact, as I write this my 2-year-old, Emma Rose, is sitting on my lap. My dog, Miles, a black Golden Doodle, is also sitting next to me. Here are some “selfies.” Miles likes to stare at me while I type, which is endearing and creepy, to be honest. I noticed through looking through the back issues, that Jakubowski and Carr had amazing senses of humor. I hope you too will find me funny. If it makes you feel better, my school did honor me with the Class Clown Award in the 5th grade. Oh, my parents were so proud. Especially when two of my friends got Most Intelligent and Nicest. Why on earth were such awards being handed out to kids? Well, it was the 1980s… a time when superlatives were okay I guess? I swear there was a Most Beautiful Award, too. What a great thing to hand out in roomful of kids on the brink of their self-esteem building years! As for this issue, it hopefully carefully balances humor with information. I reached out to Eric Wilson, a.k.a. the to offer up his wisdom and humor. His popular website, blog, always gave me a good laugh and I am so grateful he is

now a contributor to SSCWN. A Games Page has also been implemented as well as a Funnies Page in which people share humorous, gross, mind-boggling stories from the car wash trenches. The first story is from Pat Hall who had two great tales to share of really disgusting vacuum users. Thank you so much, Pat! Also, the More Dumb Criminals/Darwin @ the Carwash section should supply you with

any of the victims involved. I truly hope you all will reach out to me ( or find me at debra gorgos on and let me know what it is you like, don’t like and share with me any stories, story ideas or good old fashion nuggets of wisdom. I also truly hope you all enjoy this issue. Also, in my Academy-Award-winning-voice, I want to thank Publisher Jackson Vahaly for entrusting me with this role. Thank you, readers, for giving me a chance. And, thank you Kate and JJ for being an email away if I need you. And, here’s to you, Joseph and Julia, thank you for paving the way. This issue and all future issues are dedicated to you both. Keep on washing on,

a few chortles. I know that crime isn’t funny, but sometimes these stories are somewhat entertaining. I hope the juxtaposition between the seriousness and stupidity are on point and we do not disrespect

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yikes By Debra Gorgos

What you can do about those nasty online reviews It is okay to hate Yelp. It really is. The online review website can be a thorn in a business owner’s side. Some believe it is laced with faulty reviews, penned by people seeking revenge for one reason or another. Popular theories are that a customer was having a bad day and the business was the target of their ire. Or, in a worst case scenario, a reviewer works for the competition, and a bad review is a pawn in a nasty chess game of rivalry. What’s not to hate? What’s to trust? And, while all of those aforementioned scenarios might sometimes occur — although Yelp, as this article will point out, claims to work tirelessly to abolish any faulty or iniquitous reviews — there is a way to turn the tables and use those negative reviews to your advantage.

The Publicity Circus Years and years ago, someone once said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Some attribute the idiom to the infamous circus monger and master-

mind P.T. Barnum, of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. And there might be some credence to this notion. Let’s not forget, Barnum helped to create a show credited and publicized as, “The greatest show on earth.” And of course, getting the word out about any business venture is vital to survival and success. But, years and years ago, when the “bad publicity” phrase was coined, the Internet was probably not a factor in anyone’s marketing campaign. Casting its web onto the world, the Internet, and online review sites, have given the art of publicity a whole new playing field, and the good and bad reviews stick to the stratosphere’s bulletin board for the public to read and believe indefinitely. According to Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s director of business outreach, there are millions of businesses listed, 83 million reviews have been submitted since its inception in 2004 and over 150 million visitors use the website per month. So, this begs the question: Is your business listed? If it is, are there any reviews? Whether your answers is yes or no,

now is the time to take charge of your online reputation as one of those 150 million visitors might be looking for a self serve car wash right now.

First things first If you haven’t done so already, one of the first things you need to do is see if your business is listed on any of the online review sites (see sidebar). As for Yelp, if it isn’t listed, you might want to consider listing it yourself. Yelp refers to this as “claiming your business.” It is a way to advertise your business and also, you can do the following to enhance your status. Holloway also suggests the following steps: • Complete your entire profile: Tell your unique story and explain what services your business offers. Update the business hours, your business phone number, and add a link to your website, too, or your Facebook page if you do not have a website. • Add photos: Here’s an insider tip: Businesses {continued }


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online reviews who have one to five reviews and 10 photos get 200 percent more user views than businesses with the same number of reviews and no photos. Being a self serve car wash owner or manager, you can use the free tools on Yelp to attract more customers and track your traffic, according to Holloway. To do this, download the Business Owners Mobile app to your iPhone or Android and also visit and follow the steps on how to optimize your business page.

Bad review remedies About 79 percent of Yelp reviews are three stars or higher, according to Holloway, “but every business out there will likely receive negative feedback at some point because it’s impossible to please 100 percent of the people you deal with 100 percent of the time.” But, with that being said, suggests the following best practices for reputation management when you see a bad review: • Respond diplomatically: Use the free review response tools at and join the conversation being held about your business. You can respond privately or publicly, but even if you respond privately, remember to always take the high road because any comments you make can be made public with the click of a button. If you feel like a review goes against the terms of service, Holloway says you also have the option of flagging it for evaluation by the user support team.

• Implement feedback: Online reviews can help savvy business owners figure out what they’re doing well, and what they can improve on. Holloway says they have met with several business owners who go over Yelp reviews with their employees during staff meetings, and implement constructive feedback accordingly. It is also important to have a thick skin if you come across any kind of criticism and look at it as an opportunity to grow. “When a business owner sees a negative review, they need to set their emotions aside and root the source of the problem,” says Brandon Suyeoka, an advertising and marketing professional with nearly 20 years of branding experience. “Then, address the negative review directly. I’ve often found that when the business reaches out to the reviewer to work with them to solve the problem, it benefits both the consumer and the business. Not only do they solve the problem together, the consumer in turn may update their review or tell their friends about their experience through their social channels.” Suyeoka warns that there is a chance the consumer won’t be cooperative, “but the business should still find a way to address any negative reviews since it will only benefit them in the long run and prevent any other negative reviews that may be calling out the same type of problem or problems.” On the flipside, while good reviews alone can be great, there is a way to use the praise advantageously, too, according to Holloway. “If you have happy customers leaving you reviews, be sure to send them a short ‘thank you’ note. You can do this with the private messaging tool via the Yelp For Business Owners mobile app or at”


This car wash is horrible!!!!

Your response: I am sorry you feel that way. We at (name of car wash) strive very hard to make our car wash a tip top business. Please email me at ____________ so that we can discuss your experience and hopefully regain your business. Thanks.


I did not feel safe washing my car at this car wash late at night!

Your response: I am sorry you feel that way. The safety and comfort of our customers is one of our top concerns. We have wonderful security cameras on the premises. However, we are going to do a thorough review of the lighting situation to make adequate changes so that customers are comfortable washing their cars in the evening hours.

REVIEWER 3: This car wash took my money and then it didn’t work! Your response: We are sorry you had a negative experience at our car wash. Please private message me at ___________ and indicate which machine you used so that we can fix it and please let us know the amount of money you lost and we will issue you a refund.


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How consumers view Yelp Some may be wondering why so many people use and trust strangers for recommendations. Don’t people ask their friends and family members for suggestions anymore? Well, Suyeoka, who has run focus groups on this exact subject found that consumers tend to do both. “Not only do they check with their friends and get word-of-mouth recommendations, they also check with Yelp. The most common answer we heard was that shoppers just wanted to get as much feedback as they can before making the purchase. More so as the prices increase for the product or services involved.” One user, Elyssa Morrison, a married mom of one with one on the way who lives outside of Trenton, New Jersey, says she uses the site for just about everything. “I love it — use it all the time … even to find stuff a little further than my normal neighborhood joints — and not just for restaurants. I have used it to find nail salons, drugstores, car washes, even supermarkets,” she says. Morrison also says she looks at the balance of reviews, especially when people say ‘the food was good, but the service wasn’t,’ or, ‘I’ve been here before and it was great, but this time it was terrible.’ I ignore those for the most part and try it out. Multiple negative reviews though will deter me, or at least have me look at other options in the area.” Natasha Buconjic Wallace who lives outside Santa Barbara, California, with her two daughters says she uses Yelp because she relocates a lot. “I {continued }

THE BEST WAY TO GET GOOD REVIEWS Most highly rated businesses place an emphasis on making sure their customers feel great after they walk out the door, stated`` Holloway. “We found that if someone mentions ‘good customer service’ in a Yelp review, that review is five times more likely to be a five-star review than a one star.”

HOW TO RESPOND TO A GOOD REVIEW REVIEWER: Love your car wash! It is always clean

and I wouldn’t go anywhere else Your response: Thank you so much for your positive review and

your business! It means so much to us as we strive so hard to satisfy each and every customer. Please private message us and we will send you a coupon/token/gift card to use towards your next wash.

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online reviews think it’s a great place to start finding your way,” she says. “I have found that the stronger the network of users are that reviews are much more accurate. The last place I lived didn’t have a lot of ‘yelpers’ so I found it not very helpful. My new town has a ton of ‘yelpers’ and four months into living here it’s been right on the money.”

IT’S NOT JUST YELP A few other websites to check and monitor are:

Angie’s List Google My Business

Yelp and the bogus theorists


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There is a whole other group of people out there that seems to think Yelp is a bunch of hogwash, laden with fraudulent reviews. But, Suyeoka thinks, for the most part, that the savvy shoppers, such as Morrison and Wallace, know how to peruse the website judiciously. “…the smart shopper will normally review more than one source of review and more than one reviewer. I feel that the smarter shopper can also distinguish the reviews that are legitimate and the reviews that are meant to be spiteful.” Holloway also says there are things going on behind the scenes to make sure Yelp is devoid of any kind of rubbish reviews. “Millions of people use Yelp every day because we go to great lengths to make sure that the reviews on our site are useful and reliable for consumers. Yelp’s automated recommendation software takes the guesswork out of online reviews by going through the 83 million reviews that have been submitted to the site to select the most useful and reliable ones.” In fact, Holloway adds that the site recommends only two out of three reviews that are submitted to the site. (Recommended reviews are the ones that appear in the front and center of the business’s Yelp page.) More often than not, he says, these reviews come from active members of the Yelp community, and from those we’ve come to know and trust. Some also claim that a business can pay to have bad reviews removed, or another theory is that Yelp gives business that advertise on the site a good “edit.” However, Holloway says the business adamantly denies such theories and reminds business owners to report any reviews that seem contradictory or questionable and flag those reviews for evaluation. And, ultimately, it seems as if even a bad review cannot truly hurt a business. A positive response will make a business owner look professional, accountable and friendly, and any kind of feedback, good and bad, can be used strategically. “Let’s not forget why review sites are around,” says Suyeoka. “If the business provides a service or product that doesn’t meet the expectations of the customer, than the reality is the business is hurting themselves by not meeting this expectation.” On the flip side, adds Suyeoka, if the business meets or exceeds this expectation, they will see the benefits of the review sites.

Amazon Facebook Foursquare Twitter, even if your business does not have an account, you can still search for your business’s name to see what others are saying. Same thing with Facebook. Simply type car wash or carwash into the Facebook or Twitter search engine and those with public profiles will pop-up, along with what they are possibly saying about your car wash or a competitor’s.

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULDN’T REVIEW YOUR COMPETITION According to an April 2017 Patriot Ledger story, a jewelry store employee in Quincy, Massachusetts, must fork over $34,000 after leaving a ‘fake’ Yelp review about another jewelry store which is located half a mile away. A jury found Adam Jacobs, of Toodie’s Fine Jewelry, guilty and he was ordered to pay Stephen Blumberg, the owner of Stephen Leigh Jewelers, in retribution. The Yelp post was several paragraphs long and instructed people to “go elsewhere.” “He told the people we were thieves, that we were coldblooded thieves,” Blumberg told CBS Boston. “I’ve never been convicted of anything in my life.” After seeing the post, Blumberg did some investigating and found that the Yelper was Jacobs and also determined that the visit never occurred. He then decided to sue. The jury concluded that the Yelp review caused “emotional distress. Allan Levin, who is Jacobs’ attorney, stated they are considering an appeal. “We are disappointed and disagree with the decision involving Adam,” he told CBS Boston. “Regardless of the verdict, however, we believe that the damages awarded were not based on any facts, but were entirely speculative.”



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From the Archives

Looking Back to ...

Spring 2008

And it looks like Rain-X type products are probably going to be the next hot item to be added. Water reclaim is possible at self serves, but there can be a lot of issues...

Editor Emeritus JJ Jakubowski embarks on an ambitious self serve car wash tour, from San Francisco to San Diego. • “Basically, what you’ll discover on the following pages are about 20 carwashes that we discovered along our merry way. Most of the trip followed the Pacific Coast Highway 1, which is one of the most beautifully scenic, awesome and exciting routes on this planet… or any other.” • “Services were fairly standard along most of the coast. Engine cleaner (usually in combination with Tire) was pretty much a standard and a bit surprising given the fact that the environmental activists are, well, so active out he Left Coast.” • “Tri Foam is beginning to make in roads with about 20% of the washes having it on the their menus. And it looks like Rain-X type products are probably going to be the next hot item to be added.”


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“Despite California’s reputation for having an exorbitantly high cost of living, prices/time were not terribly out of line with pricing in much of middle American. About 75% had start up in the bays at 50¢ p/minute up to 60¢ ($3/5 minutes). • “Credit card acceptance is surging…. At least among those washes we visited. Almost 40% of the facilities were accepting plastic in the bays.” • With oil prices toping $100 per barrel and utility costs soaring as well, New Jersey-based car wash owner Doug Rieck writes about where and how to reduce energy usage. • “Between when I write this and when you read it, hopefully the oil prices will have peaked and started a downward trend. Regardless of where the price may be at any moment, the long term trend is up.”

• “Water reclaim is possible at self serves, but there can be a lot of issues — upfront costs, needed space, quality of the water produced, maintenance, and, oh yes, the smell. Fortunately, I have not been forced by circumstances to reclaim. But, fi the sewer rates keep on rising, the day may come for me.” • “LEDs — and there are even more new technologies coming out. One of the promising is the use of LEDs. Last year most stores were selling LED Christmas lights. A number of new flashlights are using LEDs. And last year at the ICA Expo, one of the carwash sign vendors was showing off carwash signs using LEDs for conveyor functions and products.” • “What has been acceptable for years is no longer acceptable.”



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Mike Hamel on WashIdeas:

Corvettes, laughs & family Perry Powell chats with Mike Hamel of Hamel Manufacturing Co., a family-run and -owned company which has been building car wash parts for 27 years. This interview has been edited for length. To hear the entire interview, visit WashIdeas at

PERRY POWELL: I had a real unique opportunity in the Fall of last year to go to the Kleen-Rite headquarters in Pennsylvania for a show they do every other year. They bring in all kinds of people. I knew a lot of the people and got to meet a whole lot of new people, and in fact, I met a whole of car wash owners who said they do not go to any car wash shows except for the Kleen-Rite show. It was a very busy day, very busy show. And today, I have one of those people I was honored to meet at that show: Mike Hamel of Hamel Manufacturing.

PERRY POWELL: Mike, you and [your wife Carol] were in the booth working and you have an antique car, right?

PERRY POWELL: Two things I realized about Mike right away: One he is really bashful (not) and second he is a really funny guy. I was remarkably struck by the story of how you got started in the car washing industry.

father was an engineer, an over the road salesman, and I was always a tinkerer and always made things in the basement with my father. As life went on, I got married, built a house, I was a purchasing agent, and I always went home and worked in the basement with father. It got to the point in 1978, I had so much going on, wasn’t seeing much of my wife, I wasn’t seeing my first child, and so then I quit all of the other stuff and thought, ‘Well, I am going to make car wash parts!’ So father and I bought a little building, 36 x 80, and stood in there and thought: ‘What are we going to do to feed our families?’ So, we thought we would make items and try to invent things that people needed and back around that time, there was an awful lot of gas stations being retro-ed into car washes, so the width of the bays were all different sizes and

MIKE HAMEL: Yes, we collect cars and the last

MIKE HAMEL: It started rather innocently. My

{continued }

MIKE HAMEL: Good morning! I am looking [chatting] with you today.

one we got is a 1979 Corvette Road Course car. PERRY POWELL: And, sitting right there in the booth was the cutest little double bobble head of Mike and Carol sitting in their corvette. MIKE HAMEL: That’s correct. My son and my granddaughter thought it would be a funny thing to do with Grandpa and Grandma. We have a red Corvette convertible with “Have Dreams” on the license plate, because that is what life is all about. And there we are with the top down and our hair blowing in the wind and our heads are a bobblin’!

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WashIdeas things of that nature. So as time went on we ended up standardizing certain lengths, like 18”, 24” things of that nature. And, when I was selling one at time, it was kind of tough [because some guys would want a 10” wand and another guy with plenty of room would want a 30”]. So then I thought we should come up with some kind of standard, and being simple like I am, I took a 21’ piece of pipe, and kept dividing it until it came out to 17 and 15/16th and we called them 18-inchers and the rest is history. PERRY POWELL: You were working with your dad in the basement and he was moving product to someone, somewhere right? MIKE HAMEL: Yes, we started selling to people in the pressure washing industry and that gave us some volume in the beginning and as we picked away at our distributor base, which primarily then was “ag”-related stores and so we got them on board and then in the 80s the [car wash] distributors really started picking up pace and becoming a player. They started having enough where they could stand on their own. We developed through the industry wonderful distributors and a lot of great customers throughout the United States and all over the world who liked our stuff. We invented the FlexWand® which has been a flagship item — that’s a flexible wand extension that goes on the

It was not what you would call a decision for the faint hearted. You walk away from a suit and tie job with a secretary, steady income and you’re standing there on the floor in your jeans going, “hmmm, why aren’t people buying?” end of your trigger guns, so you can get into all of the cracks and crevices and into places you didn’t even know you had! PERRY POWELL: So you said the 80s so you had a few lean years there in the late 1970s? MIKE HAMEL: Yes, we did. It was not what you would call a decision for the faint hearted. You walk away from a suit and tie job with a secretary, steady income and you’re standing there on the floor in your jeans going, “hmmm, why aren’t people buying?” PERRY POWELL: So at some point did someone have to become the salesman?

MIKE HAMEL: Well, father and I decided at that point (he took early retirement in 1981) that I would start going out and making calls to my local car wash people — and so we kept focusing on the carwash and started developing all kinds of items for the car wash industry. Today we probably have in excess of 50 different varieties of things that we make from specialty pipe nipples to plastic molded parts to special CNC machine parts. PERRY POWELL: So, you started with your dad, how many employees do you have today? MIKE HAMEL: We have about 15. Both of my sons and my daughter-in-law and of course my wife and I and we have a wonderful group of guys out there. We all have a lot in common. We love to hunt, fish, drive cars fast, and that kind of stuff. PERRY POWELL: What were those early days like, was it a nail biter? MIKE HAMEL: Yes, it was a concern. I had a lot om the line myself as a young guy, I didn’t know anything other than that I had a desire to do things for other people in the car wash industry. We were very meticulous in how we did things. I never really extended myself too far out. I never wanted to put anything in jeopardy because I wanted to do this for a long time. We finally figured out how we could operate on a very small margin, take care of our family, {continued }

• FALL 2017 •


WashIdeas add a few people to the company and we put our blinders on and tried to do the best that we could. PERRY POWELL: What did you do to get through mentally during those tough years? MIKE HAMEL: A lot of involvement in the local church. My boys are both Boy Scouts. They both became Eagle Scouts. So, for 10-12 years I didn’t do anything but business-church-family. That was my focus. Mother and father were with Carol and I until 2006 when my mother passed away and my father said, “You know how to run the company, call me if you need me.” PERRY POWELL: Good for him. MIKE HAMEL: Yes. He still comes down to the shop. He is 88 now. He will come down to the shop and shake his head and say, “You have too much going on for me!” And I will say, “Hey! That’s not fair! We started this together.” And I have been very blessed on that side of it, to be able to work with my mother and father and children and at the end of the day, we still want to work together. PERRY POWELL: [So, as far as self serve operators go] if you’re an operator who has never operated a self service you need to sit down at lunch at the next show you go to and ask them to tell you what goes on at their operations. It is amazing. MIKE HAMEL: It sure is. We had one fellow in west-

You have to have the passion within. You have to able to accept the peaks and valleys and constantly look at the humor. ern Nebraska call our distributor and he was complaining about the soap. And we explained we had changed our soap, but why is there a problem? And the guys says, “Well, whatever you put in your soap, it irritates my horse’s skin.” And come to find out, this guy rides his horse to town, goes to the Quick Shop, has a few beers, and then he rinses his horse off at the car wash and then back home he goes. It is true that you get out into rural areas and people do all sorts of things at the car wash. It’s kind of like a Corvette story. Every place you go someone has a Corvette story, someone wishes they had one, they knew someone who had one, they lost one in divorce, had an accident with one, and it’s kind of fun because everyone is so sincere with their stories — kind of like the passions we have with the daily life of business. And that’s something: You have to have the passion within. You have to able to accept the peaks and valleys and constantly look at the humor. That’s one thing

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• FALL 2017 •

my wife always says, “You laugh at everything.” But in life, we have to laugh. You have to have the humor. Especially when we look at ourselves in the mirror when we get up in the morning! ‘Hey, what did I do wrong? I was supposed to wake up thin with a six-pack belly!” PERRY POWELL: Where do you see the industry going in the future? MIKE HAMEL: We are going to have to tighten up as far as water regulations [are concerned] and we’ve got to come to some sort of a basis on the taxation and labor problem that we have across the country. It’s a tough one whether you’re in manufacturing or in retail. That’s going to be the hard thing. The industry as a whole will survive, we have done it for so long. Fifty or 60 years the industry has been around. We’ve got to change. Things are going to have to change, but as long as we stay ahead of the curve we’ll be okay. We have such a broad area that we can sell to globally as long as ‘globally’ works out... I think we have enough of the grassroots people in charge of running this industry I think it will be fine. We all have too much at stake…” The rest of this interview, Hamel talks about his childrens’ role in the business, how times have changed and the future of the business. To listen to the entire podcast, visit http://www.washideas. com/mike-hamel.

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• FALL 2017 •


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• FALL 2017 •

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47 Etowah Center Dr Etowah, NC 28729 888 920 2646 • FALL 2017 •


FUNNY BUSINESS Maggot Mayhem! Presenting two different and funny maggot incidents that occurred at Pat Hall’s (a.k.a. I.B. Washincars on car wash. Here are both of his first-hand accounts. BY PAT HALL, CAR WASH OWNER Maggots were EVERYWHERE… I got a call from my sister who works at the wash and all she says is: You have to come here and clean this mess, I’m not touching it. I drove to the wash and found that an entire vacuum was filled with...maggots. Maggots were EVERYWHERE! In the coin accepter, money box, crawling out of the hose, you name it. It was disgusting. There were maggots all over the vacuum island too, not to mention the disgusting liquid leaking from the door, which came cascading out when I opened it. I have no idea who made this mess, but I feel that the remains of what appeared to be an opossum in the trash can had something to do with why so many maggots were in there. The dirt collection bin was also level full of water covered with the floating critters. It took me hours and hours to clean out the vacuum and nearby area. I can’t imagine a vehicle would/could be driven to the wash and still contain all this mess. Purely speculation, but I can picture it was maybe a boat holding a lot of water and the opossum met his demise by drowning in it. After several hours I was satisfied that the vac could be put back into service and told my sister to put all the stuff away and that I’m going home to take a shower...and it wasn’t even Saturday! :-)

I could smell her car from about 100’ away… I had a customer ask for advice on how to get rid of maggots in her car. I could smell her car from about 100’ away. I can’t imagine what it was like driving it to my wash. It was mid July and hotter than Hades. I asked her how it happened. She said they had been away for about three weeks and the car had been sitting at home with food inside...yuk!”

We all know you see some funny and horrible things at your car washes. Please feel free to vent all about it to us and your story could appear in SSCWN. Share your story with Editor Debra Gorgos and contact her at 26

• FALL 2017 •

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Bright New Ideas, Products & Services For Self Serve Car washes

Touch Free IBA from D&S Car Wash Equipment D&S Car Wash Equipment Company has enhanced the design of its IQ 2.0 Touch Free In Bay Automatic Car Wash System to fit existing 28-foot car wash bays. Design changes to the IQ 2.0 are subtle, featuring modifications to the carriage, photo eye curtains, and top wand nozzles. Now car wash owners with 28-foot bays do not need to lengthen their building to accommodate the IQ 2.0 system. Originally introduced in 2010, the IQ 2.0 utilizes 3-D scanning and vehicle profiling, and offers both Soft Touch and Touch Free technologies.

Tandem Surfline Wash System from PDQ Manufacturing

Automatic Car Wash Machine from ISTOBAL ISTOBAL displayed the ISTOBAL FLEX5 at the NACS Show, the first transformable rollover in the market that has the ability to increase car wash demands without changing machines. Adapted to American specifications, the ISTOBAL FLEX5 was developed and patented by ISTOBAL’s R&D department in order to achieve maximum versatility. This rollover can meet the customers’ present and future needs and can be adapted if needs change in the car business. This automatic car wash machine offers five different types of washes: 3 brush configurations, 5 brush configurations (providing up to a 30% reduction in wash and dry times), hybrid (by adding high pressure to the machine), touch free (configured without brushes) and combo (allowing customers to choose the wash they want: friction with 3 or 5 brushes, touch free or a combination of both).

PDQ Manufacturing, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch and availability of its new Tandem Surfline Vehicle Wash System, an extension of PDQ’s Tandem family of vehicle washes. The key design feature of the Tandem Surfline is its open-bay configuration. This consists of an overhead design that creates a wide-open, easy-toenter wash bay that is safe and inviting for drivers of all types of vehicles, including wide-base dually trucks. Other features of the Tandem Surfline include corrosion-free stainless-steel and aluminum materials of construction; a second side brush that helps vehicles pass through the wash more quickly; a new low-/high-pressure pump design for improved functionality and lower maintenance costs; a fully configurable, standard wall-mounting system that enables the wash to be placed in any type or size of wash bay; an Ultimate Cover Package, including the ProGlow Illumination System, that offers a state-of-the-art look and feel to the wash; and a web-based wash-control system that provides remote access to all key operating functions. The Tandem Surfline also offers the availability of numerous revenue-generating upsell features, including Undercarriage Wash, Front Bug Prep, Chemical Tire Applicators, 3X Color Foam, OverGlow Hi-Gloss Application System, Super Sealant vehicle-surface protection, high-pressure side blasters and the TriPlex Wheel Cleaning System, and much more.

Chemical Dispensing Systems and Injectors from Hydra-Flex Hydra-Flex is pleased to introduce the next generation of chemical dispensing systems and chemical injectors: The Aqua-Lab™ SDGEN2 and Composite Chem-Flex™ Injectors. AQUA-LAB™ SDGEN2 is designed for use with in-bay automatic/rollover vehicle wash sites, the Aqua-Lab SDGEN2 Single Dose Chemical Dispensing System is a more chemically-resistant turnkey system. COMPOSITE CHEM-FLEX™ INJECTOR is a full release of color-coded PC1, PC2, and PC3 composite injectors that can be used with any Aqua-Lab system.


• FALL 2017 •

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• FALL 2017 • 1/31/17 8:57 AM


From coast to coast, we are profiling different self serve car washes and will showcase photos, business information, methods of advertising and what sets them apart from the competition.



• FALL 2017 •






BUSINESS INFO LOCATION: BURBANK, CALIFORNIA HOURS/DAYS OPEN: 365 DAYS FROM 6 A.M. TO 12 A.M. METHODS OF ADVERTISING: YELP, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS. TOKENS ACCEPTED? NO HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING A CARWASH? My dad built a full service car wash, detail and oil change center in 2000. An opportunity came along to purchase a self serve car wash. We enjoy the business and can hopefully expand in the future.

ANY COMPETITION? Yes, but we do not pay any attention to them. We focus on our customers and doing the very best for them.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOUR CAR WASH STAND OUT/IS UNIQUE? We always keep our facility clean and in tip top condition. We are like the Disneyland of self-serve car washing. Including our state-of-theart equipment which is designed and manufactured by Auto Wash Concepts in Santa Fe Springs, California. We use premium car wash chemicals on the market to produce a clean and shiny car for our customers. We work hard every day to give our customers the best perception on washing their own vehicle.


• FALL 2017 •

Featuring a powerful in line design, high strength nozzle and stainless steel construction the Autodry is AirLogic’s newest way to keep your customers happy and profits high.

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• FALL 2017 •


INDUSTRY DIRT SONNY’S The Car Wash Factory partners with Diamond Shine Diamond Shine has been acquired by SONNY’S Enterprises, LLC, of Tamarac, Florida. “Our vision is to deliver a complete bundle of products and services that enable our clients to excel at what they do,” said Paul Fazio, CEO of SONNY’S, in the press release. “That vision has driven us to become the largest manufacturer of conveyorized car wash equipment in the world; to stock 12,000 parts for 14 brands of equipment; to build the most technologically-advanced POS and controls package in the industry; to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive hands-on training; and now, through the acquisition of Diamond Shine, we are now able to deliver to our clients a world-class line of chemistry – extending upon our brand commitment to bring cost-per car economics, chemical management, and operational efficiency to a whole new level. Things are about to get really exciting!” Scott Soble, President of Diamond Shine stated in the press release that both SONNY’S and Diamond Shine have served many of the same clients across generations of car wash business owners. “Our shared commitment to their success isn’t as simple as delivering a brush or a drum of soap on time – it’s about finding ways to create a competitive edge for their business. SONNY’S is the perfect fit for us. Our clients’ needs come first, and both Paul and the team at SONNY’S understand that. By working together, our companies can elevate the quality and effectiveness of the solutions we deliver.”

CSI announces new hires, ISO certification ®

Along with two new hires, Josh Smith and Moroni Mills, Cleaning Systems, Inc. (CSI) of De Pere, Wisconsin, also announced it has been certified to the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14001:2015 standard for Environmental Management Systems. Smith has been named as CSI’s Lustra® Regional Sales Manager covering Texas, and Mills is now the company’s Marketing Director. Smith has 10 years of experience in the car wash Industry. “I am excited to join the CSI - Lustra team,” a press release stated. “CSI has a great reputation and is known to be very progressive in developing the most advanced car wash chemical solutions in the industry. I look forward to the opportunity to grow relationships in Texas.”


• FALL 2017 •

Happenings In & Around Self Serve Carwashing

Moroni has been named CSI’s Marketing Director. Moroni received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from BYU-Idaho and recently completed his MBA with a focus in Marketing & International Business at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, a press release stated. He has 12+ years of marketing experience developing strategies, campaigns, and leading teams to deliver results. “I look forward to working with the amazing group we have internally as well as working with our distributors and customers nationally & internationally,” Moroni stated in a press release. “CSI is a well-respected company and I’m eager to help develop and execute strong marketing strategies that ensure market share dominance while maintaining and expanding the strong brand image CSI and its products have established over the years.” CSI also announced in a press release that is has been certified to the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14001:2015 standard for Environmental Management Systems. CSI had previously been certified to the ISO 14001:2004 standard. ISO 14001:2015 certification provides assurance to internal and external stake holders that environmental impact is being measured and improved at CSI. Dave Krause, President and CEO of CSI, stated in the press release, “Our ISO14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2008 certificates show our hard work and dedication to achieve high standards in environmental performance and customer satisfaction.”

Flow Dry Technology acquires assets of Elliott Manufacturing Company Brookville, Ohio-based Flow Dry Technology has acquired the assets of Elliott Manufacturing Company (EMC) in a deal that combines the two Brookville, Ohio-based manufacturers, a press release announced. “Elliott Manufacturing has been a trusted partner for more than 30 years,” Flow Dry President and CEO Rahul Deshmukh stated in the press release. “Their injection molding manufacturing capability and expertise perfectly complement our vertical integration growth strategy and enables us to deliver total solutions with even greater quality and delivery benefits to our growing base of global customers.” EMC’s material expertise includes engineering grade thermoplastics, filled nylons, and molded rubber among others. The company manufactures a wide variety of plastic injection molded parts, as well as partial and complete assemblies for the automotive, aerospace, medical and consumer products industries on a wide range of molding machines ranging from 33 to 275 ton.

DRB Systems and Unitec open West Coast office, selects customer financing program A new West Coast-based DRB Systems and Unitec office has opened 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 United States, “This new location is particularly well suited to support the continued growth that is occurring in the car wash industry in Southern California,” the press release stated. Offices are also located 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 press release stated. “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 car wash industry.” said Bill Morgenstern, CEO of DRB and Unitec. DRB Systems also announced in a press release that it selected Ascentium Capital LLC to oversee its Strategic Customer Financing Program. The program is open to new or existing customers of DRB Systems or Unitec who have been in business at least two years and are considering new equipment or upgrades from a few thousand dollars up to $250,000, the press release stated. Joe Shoemaker, VP of Marketing for DRB Systems and Unitec, stated in the press release, “Our financing program with Ascentium allows customers from both of our leading brands to easily purchase products with no money down while budgeting manageable monthly payments. For our customers who have thought about expanding or upgrading their on-site experience through better automation, faster and easier customer processing or increased monthly plan sales, this financing option is a wonderful way to get the industry-leading products needed for the job without leveraging the business.” Len Baccaro, Senior Vice President of Sales at Ascentium Capital, stated in the press release, “The specialized car wash team at Ascentium is focused on providing solutions that enhance the profitability for our clients. It’s rewarding to see our organizations come together and develop a comprehensive finance program dedicated to the success of DRB Systems and their customers.”

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• FALL 2017 •


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1 DAY 36

• FALL 2017 •



Rhode Island

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EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT ... Presenting the news stories featuring self serves car washes Self serves up for sale in Pennsylvania Four convenience stores with gas stations, a free-standing car wash and other “associated tunnel and self-serve car wash businesses,” are up for sale in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Whitehall, Pennsylvania, Convenience Store Decisions reported. The four businesses called Rudy’s Car Washes, have been in business for over 40 years. “The properties are being offered as a package or individually in a sealed bid sale,” the press release stated. “Bidders can offer on one, some or all the sites,” according to Evan Gladstone of NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC. “These are seasoned businesses with stable cash flows, and all the sites include the real estate except the Whitehall location, which is under a lease,” Gladstone also stated.

Washington-based self serve gets new owners Bubba Sudz Car Wash of Anacortes, Washington, has new owners. Married couple Erin and Steve Meissner, according to, “were looking to buy a local business to support their hometown, and Bubba Sudz Car Wash came on the market at the right time.” Bubba Sudz offers automated and self-serve car washes, vacuum services and full car detailing. Erin said they were able to retain the wash’s longtime employees and also hire new ones, the story reported.

New self serve opens in Arkansas Mammoth Spring Car Wash and Custom Detailing is now open for business in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, Ozark Radio News reported. The business offers self serve bays, vacuum stations and custom detailing. “We see this business as a way to provide a needed service to the residents of the Mammoth

Spring/Thayer Area”, owner Lane Rogers told Ozark Radio News. The car wash, which sat vacant for the last two years, was completely redone with new equipment. Chamber President James Spurlock, stated in the story, “The chamber was very glad to learn that the car wash was reopening. This is just the latest piece in the on-going revitalization of Main Street Mammoth.”

New car wash slated for Minnesota A dilapidated Stop-N-Go was recently demolished in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to make room for a brand new carwash. Fergus Wash N’Go will have three automatic bays and one self serve bay, the Fergus Falls Journal reported. Owners Lonnie Ballweg and his wife Danielle, said the car wash will, “provide customers with state-of-the-art car wash machines. One of their washes will take a digital image of the vehicle before it begins to wash.” Lonnie is also the owner of West Lake Resort in Underwood and is a taekwondo instructor at the Christian Taekwondo Academy. When asked why he also wanted to own a carwash, he stated he and his wife simply, “saw a need,” for one. The couple said they plan to have the Wash N’Go open by this December.

Mister opens another car wash – now has 250 locations A Mister Car Wash opened in Nampa, Idaho, bringing the number of Mister Car Washes to 250, a press release reported. “We are thrilled to open a sixth location in the Boise area and appreciate the community’s support,” Division Manager Derek Martin, stated in the press release. “We are pleased to provide our Unlimited Wash Club members and Nampa customers an additional location.” A three-day grand opening celebration started

on October 27 and included a ribbon cutting, social hour and tours of the location. Free “Platinum Washes” were given away during the three-day celebration and 500 car care kits were given to the first 500 customers.

Hard Rock Rocksino car wash and gas station opens in Ohio The Rock Stop Gas & Car Wash, is now open for business in Northfield, Ohio, according to a report. The Rocksino owners, Milstein Entertainment and Hard Rock International, plan to open two more similar businesses at Hard Rock locations. Mark Birtha, president of the Rocksino, told, “We thought people would enjoy a clean car,” he said. “And on the flip side, who doesn’t need gas? It’s an easy opportunity to reinvest and add jobs.” The 45,000-square-foot includes a 3,685-squarefoot car wash building and six double-pumps. For its opening day, Cleveland Play House celebrity impersonators pumped gas.

Rising Tide Car Wash plans third location A second Rising Tide car wash recently opened in Margate, Florida, and now a third one is in the works, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The first location in Parkland, Florida, opened in 2013, and gained positive attention due to the fact that it was dedicated to employing those with autism. Thomas D’Eri, who started Rising Tide along with his father, John D’Eri, said they received over 600 applications when their second location opened. “The community embraced us and we looked for an opportunity to employ more people, and Margate already knew of us and was eager to have us in the community,” Thomas told the Sun-Sentinel. “We felt there were plenty of people with autism we can employ and benefit.” { continued } • FALL 2017 •


EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT ... John started Rising Tide because he wanted to create a “supportive environment for his son and Thomas’s younger brother, Andrew D’Eri,” the story stated. According to Autism Speaks, there is a 90 percent unemployment rate for adults with autism, the story stated. “Our family started this journey simply because we didn’t see that Andrew would be able to lead a full and independent life without our intervention. And while it started with Andrew, it’s evolved into something much bigger. We’ve experienced day in and day out for the last 4 years that our employees with autism are simply the best employees,” Thomas stated in the story.

Carwash outlook report released by research firm The Insight Partners has announced the availability of the report: Car Wash System Market to 2025 – Global Analysis and Forecasts by Types (Gantry Car Wash, Conveyor Tunnel System, Self-Service Car Wash, In bay automatic, Full Serve Car Wash and Flex Serve Car Wash); Component (Brushes, Jet Spray, Dryers, Sensors, Controllers and Pump) and Application (Passenger Vehicle and Commercial Vehicle). According to a press release, a sample copy is available at sample/TIPTE100000673. “Increasing production and sales of vehicles, higher safety, easy management and time efficiency are the factors which will drive the car washing system market,” the report states. “Higher maintenance cost of car wash machine can act as restraining factor in the market. Continuous rise in industrialization has been a key growth driver for car wash system.” The report aims to provide an overview of global car wash system market with detailed market segmentation by type, component, application and geography, states the press release. “The global car wash system market is expected to witness high growth during the forecast period. The report provides key statistics on the market status of the leading market players and offers key trends and opportunities in the market.”


• FALL 2017 •

Award given to Nebraskan car wash owner Gary Jones, owner of Modern Tire Pros, was named “Business Person of the Year,” by the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation. The North Platte Telegraph reported that Modern Tire Pros, which is opening a third location in the area, recently invested in expanding as well as improving its Super Suds Car Wash. The story reported that a self serve bay, pet wash, ice vending machine and touchless bay were all recently added. “The Joneses are known for treating employees like family and always welcoming local and non-local customers to their business,” stated the story.

First-ever self serve to open in New Zealand city A new and first-ever self-service car wash is coming to the Valley Mega Centre in New Plymouth, New Zealand, the Taranaki Daily News reported. The business will include five self serve bays and one auto-wash bay. “B&L Industries Ltd, which became a registered business in September 2016, is listed as the owner of the EZE Wash car cleaning service. Its directors are Lindsay Hollard of Merrilands and Brenden Bourne of Vogeltown,” the story reported.

Roark Capital Group acquires Goo Goo Car Wash, Zippy’s and Supersonic Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital Group has acquired UK-based International Car Wash Group from TDR Capital LLP, an October 4, 2017 press release reported. ICWG, “is the largest car wash operator in the world, washing more than 35 million cars every year through more than 900 locations in 14 countries across Europe, the United States, and Australia,” Roark Capital Group stated in the press release. According to the press release: Founded in 1965, ICWG operates under the IMO banner in Europe and Asia-Pacific. In the U.S., ICWG operates un-

der the banners of Car Wash USA Express, GooGoo, Zippy’s, Car Wash Express, and Supersonic Car Wash. “We are excited to partner with Roark, an experienced investor in growing multi-unit businesses, to help us accelerate ICWG’s growth,” Mike Smith, Executive Chairman of ICWG, stated in a news release. Roark stated that it focuses on, “franchised and multi-unit business models in the retail, restaurant, consumer and business services sectors.”

Tagg-N-Go car wash owners thrive following tragedy Quinn Allgood and Conner Atkin, owners of Tagg-N-Go Express Car Wash, of St. George, Utah, both lost their fathers at a young age, but both men say they now thrive because of their fathers’ guidance and work ethics. St. George News profiled the business owners in October, and reported that the two met while working at a bank and bonded over both wanting to become entrepreneurs. Both also learned that they each lost their fathers in tragic accidents. Atkin was 8 when his father died in a car crash. Allgood was 14 when his father died after being shot in an apparent robbery. “While working at the bank, the pair would often discuss different ideas for a business they could do on the side. One day, Allgood’s brotherin-law, a real estate agent, told them about a small self-serve car wash in need of a face lift that was for sale,” the story reported. “After many months Atkin and Allgood were able to secure the financing to purchase and refurbish the car wash.” The first Tagg-N-Go Express Car Wash opened on Jan. 8, 2016, and a second location opened about a year later. They duo said they plan to open more locations in the future. Allgood said their success is a reminder that people can overcome challenges and create something good out of them, the story stated.

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One Bay, One Pump Design Integrated Design-Up to 6 Bays Per System Flexible Multi Pressure Delivery 5 Hp 3 Phase Direct Drive Motor & Pump 9 Delivery Functions Standard (Rinse, Soap, Wax, Pre-Soak, Tire/Engine, Foam Brush, Foam Wax, Spot Free & Bug & Tar) 9 Individual Solution Tanks-Gravity Feed to Pump Pre-Plumbed HOT, COLD & Spot Free Water Connections Efficient Purge Chemical Change Over Multi (3) Boom Ready Retro Fit Ready-Easily Adapts to Any Car Wash Industry Standard Parts & Controls

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• FALL 2017 •

• FALL 2017 •


Association News & Calendar

New England Carwash Association: Four students receive $1000 scholarships and the numbers are in for the 2017 NRCC The New England Carwash Association (NECA) was pleased to announce that four students received scholarships this year. The self-funding NECA Scholarship Program, which is self, raises the money at their dinners and the Golf Outing. Since 2011, $14,000 has been awarded in scholarships. The Scholarship Review Team included: Ron Bousquet of Randy’s Car Wash, Peter Silk of Minute Man Car Wash and Greg Thompson of Bedford Car Wash.


Kara Burke, who worked at Sandwich Carwash while in high school and now attends Simmons College in Boston. Amber Donaldson, who works for Balise Carwash, and attends Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, MA. Alexandra Sanft, whose dad works for Global Partners LP, and now attends American International College in Springfield, MA. Zachary Hoopes, whose dad works for Kleen-Rite, and is now a sophomore at Penn State University in University Park, PA. The numbers are in for the 2017 Northeast Carwash Convention (NRCC), which took place October 2-4 in Atlantic City, NJ. According to the NRCC

Facebook page, there were 305 exhibits and 1620 attendees. As for the attendees, the NRCC says it was a 9.2 percent increase over last year. The theme for this year’s show was: Reinventing the Wheel and the Keynote Address was given by Denise Ryan, a “motivational fireball who lights the fires of enthusiasm so people can do great things,” according to the NRCC. She is an author as well as an MBA and a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), a designation of excellence held by less than 10% of professional speakers and she has worked with thousands of business owners to re-energize them about their work and help them make more money.

Connecticut Carwash Association: Annual Golf Classic is a hole in one The Connecticut Carwash Association’s (CCA), 19th Annual Golf Classic was held on September 13, and it was a “hole in one,” according to CCA President Bob Rossini. The annual gathering took place at the Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwington, Connecticut. The event also featured extensive raffle prizes, a putting contest to benefit the Bob & Lynn Rossini Children’s Education Fund, a chance to win a two-year lease on a car courtesy of Hoffman Auto Group as well as several other fun events to make the day memorable, EVENT SPONSORS INCLUDED: Gold Sponsors/Lunch: Capitol Strategies, Innovative Control Systems, Kleen-Rite, & New England Carwash Equipment Silver Sponsors/Prizes: AutoShine, Car Washing Systems, and Stoner Bronze Sponsors/Beverage Cart: Carwash Insurance by McNeil & Co., Media Solutions/Northeast Carwasher magazine, and National Ticket Co.


• FALL 2017 •

the CCA states. “You can’t beat this event for what you get,” said Event Chairman Todd Whitehouse. The Bradley Auto Wash team in Springfield, MA, led by past CCA President Tom Mathes and included Bill Corbin, Pete Clark and Chris Tapases, came in first place. Second place went to Eric Sehl from Mighty Auto Parts, Pete LaRoe and Chad Wade from Personal Touch, and third place went to Team Splash consisting of Mark Curtis, Chris Fisher, Charles Bronstein and Dan Petrelle. Charles Bronstein of Splash won the Men’s LonGolf Cart Sponsor: Simoniz USA Beat The Pro: AutoShine, Personal Touch, & Torrington Car Wash Raffle Prize Sponsor: C.A.R. Products and Blendco Coffee Break/Breakfast Sponsor: DRB Systems Inc. Water Bottle Sponsor: Ardex

gest Drive and Joan Larkin of Team Larkin won the Women’s Longest Drive. Harold Violette with Connecticut Carwash took home the prize for closest to the pin on Hole #7. Raffle prizes included a 32” and 24” television, Sony portable speaker, Beats Solo 2 wireless headphones, Ugly Stick fishing pole, TaylorMade Aeroburner Driver, Nike and Bridgestone golf balls, Jack Daniels Whiskey and cash. C.A.R. Products/Blendco also donated an iPad Air 2.

Driving Range Sponsor: Fred’s Car Wash Golf Towel Sponsor: ERC Wiping Products Hole-In-One Sponsor: Hoffman Auto Group. Hole Sponsors: Benchmark Payment Solutions, Crossroads Car Wash, FL Roberts/Golden Nozzle, Hoffman Auto Group, Mighty Auto Parts of CT, Mr. Sparkle, New England Car Care, LLC, Splash, & Torrington Car Wash.

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Association News & Calendar International Carwash Association: Peter Brothers makes it into Hall of Fame The International Carwash Association (ICA) proudly announced that brothers Lex, Rene and the late Tom Peters were included into the Car Wash Hall of Fame during the Car Wash Show Europe™ 2017 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The brothers own ANAC Carwash, which recently celebrated its 75th year in business. “Today, ANAC Groep consists of thirteen car washes in

Belgium and the Netherlands, three petrol stations, a self-storage business and an indoor kart track, managed by a staff of more than 200 employees,” the ICA states. “The Peters brothers represent the second generation of family owning the business, and the generation that has made car washing the key focus of the organization. Building from what was an ancil-

lary service at one fuel station in 1965, the Peters actively sought out the best ideas from American and European car wash operators, and today manage some of the most innovative car wash locations in the world. Of particular note is ANAC’s focus on the customer experience, embodied in the design of their stores and the training of their employees.”

Western Carwash Association: Self-Serve Summit and California Law Update events coming soon The Western Carwash Association (WCA) is inviting carwash owners to two different events. The Self-Serve Summit is being held November 14 in conjunction with the WCA Annual Member Meeting and Arizona Roadshow. “Join us for a half day networking and education program tailored just for self-serve operators,” states the WCA. THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS INCLUDES:

A networking lunch and welcome reception The Bottom Line on Accounting for Self-Serve Operators

Social Media Marketing for Self-Serve Operators Hot Topics Panel Discussion WCA Annual Member Meeting Reception/Dinner The WCA also invites members to a dinner presentation concerning the 2018 Law Update featuring guest speaker Gary Bethel. Bethel will present the new legislative changes and significant case law affecting labor and employment matters for car wash operators in 2018, states the WCA. Bethel, according the WCA, has been with Littler Mendelson for 30 years, and he advises and represents

clients in various areas of employment and labor law, including discrimination matters, wrongful termination cases and all aspects of labor management relations. Littler is the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management. “Make sure you are up to date on all of California’s labor laws before it is too late. Protect your business and attend.” The dinner and presentation will take place December 7 at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, California.

2017-2018 Event Calendar

Submissions can be made to Editor Debra Gorgos at

NOVEMBER 14-15, 2017

Western Carwash Association Self-Serve Summit and Roadshow Chandler, AZ

DECEMBER 7, 2017

Western Carwash Association 2018 California Law Update Hyatt Regency, Sacramento, CA

FEBRUARY 25-27, 2018

Southwest Carwash Association Expo Arlington, TX

MARCH 11-12, 2018

Baton Rouge Roadshow (SECWA) Baton Rouge, LA


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APRIL 3-4, 2018

35th Annual Products Show Heartland Carwash Association

SEPTEMBER 16-18, 2018

SECWA Expo and Convention Birmingham, AL

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

APRIL 26-28, 2018

20th Annual Golf Outing

Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas, NV

OCTOBER 1-3, 2018

The Car Wash Show (ICA) MAY 15-17, 2018


Stuttgart, Germany homepage.html

JUNE 18-20, 2018

Midwest Carwash Association 2018 Expo Battle Creek, MI

Connecticut Carwash Association

Northeast Regional Carwash Convention Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ

NOVEMBER 2, 2018

New York State Car Wash Association Fall Carwash Tour & Membership Meeting Clarion Hotel at The Century House, Latham, NY

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• FALL 2017 •

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• FALL 2017 •

TRICKS TRADE Presenting some of the best discussions from the Self Serve, IBA and General Discussions sections of Auto Care Forum. To view more posts discussing some interesting and common problems as well as some of the best and brightest solutions, visit (Note: Some posts feature minor edits for readability.)

This issue’s topics from ...... FROM ALMAPROWASH: How do you wash your Automatic Bay down? My cleanup man uses a water hose but I’m sure he could do it a lot faster with a pump. How do you do it?

Self serve owners and operators discuss pumps, VFDs, and nozzles.


I.B. WASHINCARS: I have one SS bay at each wash with a quick coupler at the pump. I keep a long hose with gun at each wash, with the male coupler half on that hose. Whenever needed, I just shut that bay down, uncouple the hose going to the bay, and plug in the clean-up hose. You only get HP functions, but that’s all I’ve ever needed.

an acre of concrete including the auto and six SS bays in about 45 minutes. MGMSN: CAT 3535 36GPM @ 1200psi - Yes you could. Just be careful with your gun nozzle size. To large and you will not be able to handle the gun for very long before you’re fatigued. Make sure your unloader/regulator is working properly.

ALMAPROWASH: What about an CAT 3535, any danger in hooking up a hose and gun to the pump stand?

MEP001: I’d be concerned with running a 3535 at 1000 or so PSI at only a tenth of its flow without the pump seals getting hot.

MJWALSH: This post reminds of when a young nephew wanted to know if when I squeezed the trigger on my “wash down” special gun utilizing several pumps via a common manifold & hi pressure 3 way valves. I am quoting him “does it lift you off the ground ... if you are not careful” Note: At the 4:35 to 4:51 end finish of this below YouTube clip of a MacGyver episode ... it appears that car wash self guns with their hand triggers are being used to control their ascent in air way way way up & over to where they needed to be! MEP001: The 3535 puts out a lot more volume then you’d need for wash down, IMO more inefficient than using a self-serve bacloy pump. I used to do the same as I.B. with a coupler in each bay just below the inline swivel at the boom, but I eventually added a pump to an extra tray that could run 1800 PSI with a 1508 tip. I added a second regulator isolated by a ball valve if I ever needed lower pressure but I only used it once and never bothered with it again. I could clean almost

PGRZES: We have an old 310 cat hooked up with a bay timer and a button in the auto bay. We push the button for coin pulses for how much time is necessary. Used to have a switch but everyone would forget and leave it on!! I have the pump hooked into a reclaim tank and fresh water so we can switch for what is necessary, quick washdowns reclaim, full cleanups fresh or mixed water. MDROST1: I have followed the model that MEP001 presented. Works great. MJWALSH: Just a thought ... I wonder if the 3535 or similar pump was setup with a programmable VFD ... then a signal could be sent to the VFD when the single wash down nozzle was used changing the program to make the motor run at a different RPM. It seems like that could possibly help prevent the mentioned pump seal potential overheating problem. MJWALSH: For an area that has customers with more

mud than most left ... maybe the larger pump could be a gain in cleanup time. No regrets in having set up more than one pump for our cleanup over 25 years ago. Over the years it has actually simplified our cleanup process. Not sure if the better nozzle is a good fit for anyone else though! Although ... if I remember right when Bill Pitzer visited my facility several years ago ... he thought the bay washdown special gun & nozzle setup was pretty nifty! 2nd thought ... something to consider .... some customers have told me the gas station car wash down the street from us refused to let them in their conveyor car wash because of their vehicle being too muddy from hunting or whatever. MEP001: The only way a larger pump would help cleanup time is if the nozzle is much bigger. At 1800 PSI with a 1508 tip I have to lean forward on the gun against the pressure. MJWALSH: I am not sure on the bigger pump but with joining the flow via manifolds & controls with three or four Cat 310s with 3HP 3ph motors ... it sure seems not too complicated for us considering the time we save. I think the extra momentum from water volume is more effective than a narrow spray with more pressure. I do use a 75 foot 1/2 inch ID hose on a retracting reel with the largest variable pressure Kleen-Rite gun made for truck washes. Be forewarned 3/8” hose affects the volume of water too much from my experience. Note: I am using a 4012 nozzle so the large swath from the 40° vs 15° that might be one rea{continued } • FALL 2017 •


TRICKS TRADE son my feeble torso can handle the thrust & it is quicker than the 1508 nozzle. At the pumps the pressure tends to be as high as 1500 PSI depending on how many pumps are switched & routed to the manifold leading to the retracting reel. https:// Last weekend after a busy day (weather related more than anything) I noticed not as much push on the tougher mud. Sure enough I accidentally had only two pumps switched on instead of three. If I go beyond four pumps ... I notice that there is no gain & the pumps could get hot within a pump’s individual bypass hose (recommended for each Cat 310 Pump install). When I use it with a sewer cleanout stationary or rotating nozzle for water jetting various sewer line branches at the facility ... I have to keep it with 1 or 2 pumps to prevent heat buildup within the pumps. Whether this info is helpful when it comes to using a single huge pump like Almaprowash’s post suggested ... I am not sure. MEP001: The pumps could get hot...but do they? You could run more bays if you had a 4016 tip. MJWALSH: At the point of four pumps ... yes there is actual warning signs of heat buildup & questionable

• FALL 2017 • 50 winter_foam_brush_ad.indd 1

wash down gains over three. There are actually 7 pump setups available but one is a portable backup that is on wheels that is used with some quick-disconnects (both electrical & water & chemical wise) when the normal bay pump goes down. The ability to use a quick backup pump - motor combo was an integral part of the project over 25 years ago. One of the reasons a 4016 nozzle would not help much with the water pressure - water volume combination as is ... is that I would have to also go with a 3/4” 75 foot hose to get maximum power to overwhelm even the worse muddy situation imaginable. It is not worth it to me ... at some point there are diminishing returns ... a sweet spot if you will. MJWALSH: Whatever hose washdown is a good fit for whoever ... go for it. For us specifically, we have found the washdown ability we setup without too much trouble has been the best fit for us & our setup (long term wise). One thing I should have mentioned is from day one over 25 years ago we have used a small keychain wireless remote to turn it on & off. A few years ago we finally had to replace the Radio Shack version with something similar to the following: http://www.truevalue. com/product/2-R...lets/44010.uts Why the remote is so helpful & simplifies

(IMHO) the washdown ... is if we need to stop during &/or immediately at the end of the process within a second the system is shut off with the wireless keychain remote. I kind of agree that the VFD suggestion could be overly complicated like the moderator IB Washin suggested: It would have to mean the motor for the pump was already on a VFD & then it could possibly be just a simple relay voltage signal to a spare terminal on the VFD & it would have to also mean a simple uncomplicated program entry for the on & off triggering. Almaprowash did ask about the use of his existing closeby extra ordinarily large pump - motor setup. Oversized for the wash down purpose as Mep suggested ... how muddy Almaprowash’s area gets would be a factor too. TDLCONCEPTSLLC: I like reading [all or your] ideas, maybe I am just the old ball and doing it wrong. I use a gas pressure washer 4GPM @ 4000psi and a whirl-a-way surface cleaner, etc. I have to have the pressure to get up the grease, mud and sand/ rocks from cars on my concrete in my IBA. I want an 8GPM setup at 3000psi would be the ultimate setup for my application at my wash. I wish I could get an all electric setup for that like you guys are talking about. Would be awesome.

10/18/17 2:43 PM

• FALL 2017 •



Differentiating Yourself in a Market Of Like Competitors By Eric Wilson In business your goal is to sell more products, make more money and increase sales all while providing a quality product for your customers. But you have some problems…. You have competitors. At the same time competitors in horizontal industries are trying

Examples of differentiating your product and being different from other competitors:

Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready Pizzas My example here is to compare a selling strategy to differentiate their product from others. Sometimes quality does not matter and price is very important along with a desired service (fast pizza). All other competitors kept their prices basically the same while Little Caesars reduced their prices and actually started to compete in other horizontal markets…. The fast food market. When everyone is priced at the same price point it makes it difficult to compete. Or to have an edge over your competitor. But price alone is easy to match and competing on only price can be harmful for the industry. This is why providing extra services to protect your niche market is crucial. In this case fast service and no waiting was provided or needed. According to After Little Caesars implemented the Hot-N-Ready marketing in 2014, Little Caesars’ (from 2013 to 2016) gross sales per store doubled. While Pizza Hut, Dominos or Papa Johns gross per store change was greater than or less than $20,000.

Cell Phones If you read finical articles on the cell phone market you should have read the market will be owned by high quality (flagship) cheap Chinese phones in about 5 year’s time (according to analysts). How can anyone compete with a $250-300 phone when your phone costs $600 or more now? You either compete on the race to the bottom to make cheap phones or make a niche market where your phone is exclusive in some way. Through advertising, perceived value and extra services. So in a dying market


• FALL 2017 •

to increase sales or are just trying to stay profitable are starting to invade other industries. (Dealerships for example are invading the car wash, oil change and tire industry.) This invasion of other players in other industries can really effect your bottom line. you must also provide all the same options as your competitor and give the allusion that the customer is getting more and a better product.

Express Market You can see an example of an over saturated market in the express market. In the South there is a large amount of competitors close together and no perceived difference…. Only price. The race to pricing the lowest is the most important, but some competitors provide extra services so you are getting flex services and some have a niche market and provide the highest prices and are full service. But in both examples you have to balance volume and expenses with the price charged. There are also large differences between certain self serve car washes. But it is harder to categorize in writing. But very few owners differentiate in price, times and services. All the self serves that I have seen with large start ups and every service are also in the best locations. They can demand any price and should. They usually have very few or no competitors and probably do loose bucket washers because of the high price, but that is a tradeoff. So how does this all relate to self service car washes? Well it is difficult to know exactly how to differentiate your car wash from other. But if you are in an over saturated environment with multiple new business — like Express Washes, Flex Washes, Full Service Washes, Hand Washes, Gas Stations, Oil Charge business and Car Dealers — it can be hard to determine who your real competitors are. But there are some things you should know: What are their services? How far away are your competitors? Who are your competitors? What are their prices? Do they have a sign?

Take your self serve with an automatic…. In theory a dealership promotion could steal your customers with “free lifetime car washes with a car purchase”. Or your automatic can be discounted when a wash is given away at a gas station or an oil change facility. After you compile your list and compare all your competitor with yourself…. How do you compare? Are they far away? Are they close? What is the price difference? What about their changer? What about vending? Do any of your competitors have websites or social media pages? When I go to a car wash I take pictures of the bays, menu boards, meter boxes, booms, brushes, guns, vending, changers, lights, pits, views…. Basically everything. This will help you later evaluate the location in more depth. Look at all the aspects as a customer…. Which is really all that matters. (I have posted many examples on my site cwguy. com under categories self-serve.)

How can you be different? Can you have a higher price and better products…. With a longer start up time? Or would lower prices with more services help differentiate yourself? But remember matching a competitor’s price is easy…. You must make any charge noticeable for customers so they know there is value when coming to your locations over anyone else’s location. Consider: Air machines, ice machines, multi-function vacuums, dryers, mat cleaners, truck wash, canopies, signs, bonus time, attendants, mini-tunnel and automatics. Here are some horizontal marketing ideas that I have seen in the past: Dog wash, motorcycle wash, oil change bay and selling cars. If you have anything to add just let me know. Eric Wilson is a self-serve car wash owner who also blogs online on the popular and very funny

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Customers driving around looking for a carwash won’t find yours if you’re not listed on their GPS system. Therefore, make sure your business is listed and if it is not, you will have to do it yourself. Not only is having your business listed a great way to get new customers, it will also list your car wash’s phone number and can save it as a “favorite” business to visit. Each GPS system, from TomTom to Garmin to Magellan should list carwashes under the Points of Interest Category: Auto Services. Each system works from a specialized mapping program. You have to go through these programs to have your business name show up on each GPS system (you DO NOT list your business on the TomTom, Garmin or Magellan websites). Here are the top 4 major mapping systems:

• NAVTEQ • Tele Atlas • Express Update • Google Maps Steps to follow:

1. Google each mapping system plus the words: POI and/or Add My Business 2. Add all of the appropriate business information – check and double check for proper spelling and information. 3. Wait to make sure your information is submitted. Then check to see that your carwash is listed.

The following tip was provided by Kleen-Rite ( No car wash operator wants to lose or frustrate customers because of a weak vacuum with bad suction. If you’re having vacuum performance issues and problems with suction loss, you may have a vacuum leak. There are several common problem spots to check. Make sure that the vacuum hose is in good working order and is not clogged, so that air flow is not restricted. Also keep the filter bags clean. Proper air flow creates the suction that allows the vacuum to work. If the bags are dirty, air struggles to filter through the bags. Shake out and wash the bags regularly. Next, check the gaskets on the doors and under the motors. Be sure that the door gaskets are creating a tight seal, as it is common for these gaskets to get dirty. Check that the motor gaskets are creating a seal and are in working order. Vacuum gaskets can become damaged or compressed over time, causing the vacuum leak. Replace the worn gaskets or clean dirt buildup and your vacuum should be well sealed. To help test performance, you can also purchase a vacuum test gauge and a vacuum check. The test gauge measures vacuum pressure inside the hose, and the higher the pressure, the better the suction. The vac check is a small cap that instantly seals off the motor and prevents suction loss in case of a vacuum motor failure. Maintaining your vacuum is necessary to keep customers happy and bring in revenue. If you know how to check for vacuum leaks, you can prevent issues so customers have the same great experience every time they visit your wash.


• FALL 2017 •



Oh great! Winter is almost here! Mittens, hot chocolate and warm cozy fires, right? Or how about ice storms, frostbite and freezing cold temps. Now, that we have used realism to set the tone, let’s talk about one pesky problem that can actually be prevented: Frozen locks. Before the frost bites down on your area make sure to spray your locks with a penetrating oil such as: Loctite® Freeze and Release Penetrating Oil or CRC 03027 Knock’Er Loose Plus Penetrating Solvent. Do not use one that is petroleum based. Make sure to spray the entire lock inside and out. Treat your locks now because cold weather can strike during the Fall months (think of the 2013 “Winter Storm Atlas” which hit the Northern High Plains and Rockies with several feet of snow the first week of October. Or “Octobomb” which blanketed parts of the Plains and the Midwest on October 25, 2010. Or consider the freakishly early storm of October 4, 1987, which pummeled Eastern New York and parts of New England). A few other ways to protect your locks are to wrap them in plastic baggies or you can take a tennis ball and cut a slit into its center and place it over the lock. Those solutions are not fancy, but they work. Now, if the winter weather hits prematurely, and your locks do freeze, do not panic. There are solutions! One is to burn off the moisture with a lighter or propane torch—be sure to wear fire-safe gear! And DO NOT USE THIS METHOD if you have tried to de-ice the locks with a de-icer or lubricant as they are flammable. A few other options are a portable hair dryer (but, who has one of those?) and a hot cup of water which will open the lock but also add in more water so you will have to allow it to completely dry out before using it again outdoors.

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• FALL 2017 •




BUT YOU BETTER BE ON YOUR A GAME. By Debra Gorgos A recession is near. At least, that is according to Ardavan Mobasheri, a chief investment officer of ACIMA Private Wealth and adjunct professor at the Robins School of Business and the former chief economist at American International Group. His Op-Ed piece: A history of economic cycles going back to the 1850s, states: “When the economy is running at full speed as it is today, with little {continued } • FALL 2017 •



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• FALL 2017 •

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RECESSION PROOF slack in the labor markets and with confidence levels at or near all-time highs and valuations stretched across equity sectors, shocks that may have had little impact on the economy during the early years can derail the whole thing now. …When the 1990s expansion reached its ninth year (March 1999 to be exact), the S&P 500 proceeded to rally a further 17.5 percent before peaking 12 months later, impressive by any measure. However, the three-year and fiveyear returns were even weaker than the 1960s, at negative 10.8 percent and negative 12.45 percent respectively. So, while the short-term performance is mixed and one can argue with a continuation of recent performance given the strong technicals, the longer-term outlook is quite abysmal.” Eeks. And while Mobasheri’s credentials may, or may not impress you. How about considering a report from the Bank of International Settlements, an association of 60 member central banks around the world, which states: “The main cause of the next recession will perhaps resemble more closely that of the latest one – a

financial cycle bust. ...While an inflation spurt cannot be excluded, it may not be the main factor threatening the expansion, at least in the near term. ...Judging from what is priced in financial assets, also financial market participants appear to hold this view.”

IT’S NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM But, wait! Before you throw down this magazine, shouting, “This is depressing! I don’t need this right now!” (In which case we suggest you turn to page 79 for some light-hearted fun), you need to all know that there is hope. It is not all bleak. First of all, the aforementioned statements are only predictions. Things can always shift and change and historic patterns can discontinue. Also, even if there is a recession, self serves can withstand the downturn. But, you need to look at your business model to make sure you’re prepared for any kind of financial collapse.


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RECESSION PROOF First, it is historically evident that people will still wash their cars when times are economically tough. Cars need to be washed and grime, salt and whatever else will devalue a vehicle, needs to be eradicated. People will also hold onto their cars and keep them maintained, knowing a brand new shiny car right off of a lot is not plausible. So, what can be done? First, let’s opine about what causes a recession and how a self serve car wash could fare. A recession is almost always caused by inflation. There are freaks of nature (literally) which impact the economy (i.e. Hurricane Katrina, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami) and acts of terror (i.e. 9/11/2001), and even nationwide conspiracy panic (think the big scare of the Y2K shutdown). But, all in all, inflation is the main reason. Inflation is a merry-go-round of madness. Raised prices, less spending, less goods produced, less employees, more raised prices to offset losses, etc. etc. But, the good news for self serve owners is that the prices are not exactly too inflatable as the spending options have always been known to be reasonable. Plus, if other


ACCORDING TO MERRIAM-WEBSTER: Recession: (noun) re·ces·sion \ ri-ˈse-shən \ A recession is two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product (GDP)

carwashers who frequented conveyor, full-serve or detail shops, were looking to save money, they might be willing to cut costs by switching to self serves, albeit this might be only temporarily. Scott (a.k.a. Soapy on AutoCareForum) had this to share, “One of the main advantages of owning a car wash of any type at this time is that it is a service business. With a record number of stores closing due to Amazon and Internet related stuff we are lucky that the internet


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can’t ship you out a car wash. Sure they can sell related products but not the actual service. There will always be a place for self service car washes probably not in the numbers that there used to be however. Eventually demand will catch back up to the ones that remain and give us a opportunity to charge more money due to supply and demand.” We can also consider the insight of someone { continued }

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RECESSION PROOF who has survived not one, not two, but at least four recessions. Earl Weiss started out washing floor mats in about 1965, then worked for his family business, then became a tunnel operator in 1987, and became a self serve operator in 2006. “As far as I am concerned the effect of the economy has been nominal (notable exception gas shortage of the 1970’s) compared to effects of weather.” Weiss adds that there is a, certain customer demand for the DIY enterprise even with the $3.50 tunnel a few feet away. “When I acquired [a particular] location I was disappointed that the self serve numbers were a fraction of reported industry average,” Weiss states. “The place had been badly beaten down. Of course the first task was to clean up and make sure everything worked. Next was to try to add stuff like bill and credit card acceptors, a Superbay, bonus time, etc. Slowly, numbers improved. [People] want a clean car and the DIY option is still attractive versus driveway hassles. The economy won’t have a huge effect unless it’s something major like the car wash is located in a ‘company town’ in which the company goes under and there is a huge loss of people and drivers.”

THE BOUNCE BACK Despite increased confidence in the economy, consumers are still penny-pinching. Across the board, from CNN Money to CNBC, reported that people are still not overly spending due to the 2007-08 recession. Primarily it was due to a lack in confidence, but, now the tides have shifted and they are spending more than they did a few years ago. But, due to the many layoffs, property losses and downsizing, that particular hard-hitting recession influenced many to cuts costs here and there. But, and here is the good news, it looks as if the self serve industry is steadily bouncing back. Effects of the last recession on self-service were not even across the country but they have been long lasting, states Robert Roman, president of RJR Enterprises, a leading consultant to the carwash industry. “However, according to industry journals, it appears self-serve revenues and in-bay car counts are now trending positive. I attribute this to economic growth and consumer confidence more so than decline of the space,” Roman states. { continued }


• FALL 2017 •

50 YEARS OF RECESSIONS 1973-1975 Recession (NOVEMBER 1973-MARCH 1975) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is blamed for the quadrupling of oil prices, President Richard Nixon is blamed for instituting wage-price controls for taking the United States off of the gold standard. GDP growth: 1973 Q3 -2.2 percent, 1974 Q1 -3.3 percent, Q3 -3.8 percent, Q4 -1.6 percent, and 1975 Q1 -4.7 percent.

1980-1982 Recession

(JANUARY–JULY,1980, & JULY 1981-NOVEMBER 1982) Considered a “double whammy” of recessions, this one is blamed on the federal government raising interest rates to combat inflation as well as well as the Iranian oil embargo. GDP Growth Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 1980 1.3% -7.9% -0.6% 7.6% 1981 8.5% -2.9% 4.7% -4.6% 1982 -6.5% 2.2% -1.4% 0.4%

1990-1991 Recession (JULY 1990-MARCH 1991) Caused by the 1989 Savings and Loan Crisis. GDP was -3.4 percent in Q4 1990 and -1.9 percent in Q1 1991.

2001 Recession (MARCH-NOVEMBER 2001) Caused by the Y2K scare in 2000 and worsened by the 9/11 attack. Q1 -1.1 percent (-0.5 percent) and Q3 -1.3 percent (-1.4 percent).

2008-2009 Recession a.k.a. The Great Recession (DECEMBER 2007-JUNE 2009)

Caused by the subprime mortgage crisis which created a global banking bank credit crisis. 2008: Q1 The economy shrank 2.7 percent. Q2 The economy rebounded 2.0 percent. Q3 The economy shrank 1.9 percent. Q4 The economy collapsed, shrinking 8.2 percent. 2009: Q1 The economy shrank 5.4 percent. Q2 GDP growth was -0.5 percent. *Information provided by Kimberly Amadeo is president of and as seen on

• FALL 2017 •



RECESSION PROOF Roman adds that while he isn’t helping people to build new self serves anymore, most of his self serve work is in doing upgrades. “Today, most of my clients with self-serve are looking to upgrade or add an express wash or retrofit inbay to mini-tunnel or express in-bay.” In 2016, a Chicago Business story reported that car washes are booming in and around the city. “Things have gotten crazy in this business,” Robert Fuller, who manages the Geneva Wash, said in the story. “Everybody and his brother seems to want to build a car wash these days. Our goal is to beat the others to the best locations.” Phillip Degeratto, is one of those people. As the owner of Buddy Bear Car Wash, Degeratto opened a sixth car wash in 2016 and wants to open even more. “If anything, the West and South sides of Chicago and nearby suburbs, where I concentrate, are underserved,” Degeratto, said in the story. And the numbers do not lie. According to a 2017 IBISWorld Market Research Report, “Operators in the car wash and auto detailing industry have experienced steady growth over the past five years, as the economy began to recover and industry companies reaped the benefits of rising employment and per capita disposable income. Severe drops in oil prices during the latter half of the five-year period have also encouraged more consumers to hit the road, as lower gas prices translated to a greater amount of car use. Demand for the car wash and auto detailing industry is expected to continue expanding over the five year to 2022, albeit at a slower pace than the previous five-year period. Industry revenue will be bolstered by rising per capita disposable income, which will increase consumers’ propensity to spend on discretionary services, such as car washes.”

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST But, what happens if a recession occurs? According to Mobasheri and the Bank of International Settlements, a recession is likely, so it is time to buckle up. And, while, self serves seem to be pretty recession proof, upkeep and cleanliness go a long way for a business, especially when a customer will be picky about where to spend their hard-earned cash. According to car wash owner and AutoCareForum poster “Randy,” self serves in general need a reboot. “A friend of mine just returned from a 2,400 mile road trip. He stopped at numerous car


• FALL 2017 •

HISTORICAL LOW Records from the first recession date back to AD 33 The first-ever recession in the history of the world dates as far back as the first century. Called “The Financial Panic of AD 33”, it occurred under the Roman Ruler Tiberius. Although known as being frugal, he was even able to lower taxes when Cappadocia became an official province. According to a Business Insider Market report: “As with many financial panics, this one began when unexpected events in one part of the Roman world spread to the rest of the Empire. For starters, three ships containing riches were lost in a Red Sea storm, the value of ostrich feather and ivory had declined, and ‘the Great House of Malchus and Co. of Tyre’ with branches at Antioch and Ephesus, suddenly became bankrupt as a result of a strike among their Phoenician workmen and the embezzlements of a freedman manager.” “To protect themselves,” states the Business Insider, “banks began calling in some of their loans. When debtors could not meet the demands of their creditors, they were forced to sell their homes and possessions, and with money unavailable even at the legal limit of 12%, prices of real estate and other goods collapsed since there were so few buyers. A full scale panic followed. The panic occurred not only in Rome, but throughout the Empire.”

washes along the way, both self-serves and tunnels. He couldn’t believe the run down, dilapidated car washes that he came across in small town America. Most were charging $1.25 to $1.75 for 5 minutes. Dirty bays, overflowing garbage cans, broken equipment was the norm. When the public sees this they think this is how all car washes are run and that’s why they don’t go to car washes. Can a self-serve car wash survive the next recession, your guess is as good as mine.” According to Thomas Lunsford of Southern Pride Carwash, the number 1 reason people don’t succeed is not managing the place correctly. “The key is keeping it super clean, getting rid of trash and debris, pressure washing, and making sure you give enough quality chemicals that clean the cars. Operators tend to overlook the simplest things that really matter the most to the bottom line.” As for prices, Lunsford does not recommend lowering them. “I would say lowering the price in this day in age would be the worst thing you could do with water rates doubling and city and

county tax rates doubling, parts and chemicals increasing due to inflation. I believe the Laundromat industry is ahead of us on pricing. They charge $10-$15 for start up and customers have to supply their own chemicals.” Lunsford adds that his water bill can hit $2,900 each month and taxes are $10,000 a year for his property in North Carolina. “So I had to increase prices to make up the difference. I believe this industry is still in the 90s in terms of pricing for bays and vacuums. I believe everyone is scared to raise the price. I am $2.50 in the bays and should be $3 and I currently am $1.50 on vacuums.” Some other suggestions from Lunsford include investing in LED lighting and reinvesting in their sites now. He also suggests saving for the next downfall now, so they will be better prepared for the future and not have tired looking sites. { continued }

Todd Klismet Independent Carwash Owner Waupaca, WI

I have a spotless reputation. Running a car wash isn’t easy. I’ve got picky customers, competitors trying to undercut me–and don’t get me started on the weather. So yeah, sometimes I can get a little stressed. It comes with the territory. But one thing I know for sure: my customers keep coming back to my PDQ-equipped car wash because it’s the best in town. All they care about is getting the cleanest car possible, and my wash delivers, week after week. And that puts a smile on their faces and mine.


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(FIGURATIVELY AND LITERALLY) It’s important to always be ready for anything. And, while optimism can go a long way, realism can be a daunting, yet necessary business strategy. Along with keeping your wash nice and clean, you also have to be willing to up your security measures. Spend the necessary money on proper equipment. This way, you’re not only protecting your customers, but your precious equipment and reputation. Also, be sure to continuously check Yelp (Read page 8) and other online review sites to see what customers are saying about your wash. It is important to monitor the bad reviews, make responses, and implement anything that needs changes. It is also important to thank your loyal customers and those who have left positive reviews. Remember: This is the time to keep those customers and also lure those who are new to your wash. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are even more ways others ways to survive an economic downturn. In an exerpt from, “Small Business Success” magazine, Volume 4,” produced by Pacific Bell Directory in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Partners for Small Business Excellence,” the following tips are offered:

1. Closely watch your inventories: Make sure you’re adequately, but not superfluously supplied.

TAKING IT BACK TO ... 2007 “This industry has markets that certainly recession resistant…” In the Fall 2007 issue of Self Serve Car Wash News, JJ Jakubowski wrote about the mood and financial changes that had been occurring throughout the industry. After attending the International Carwash Association’s tradeshow, then known as the Car Care World Expo, Jakubowski found the state of the economy was starting to take its toll. “There was a little something different about the 2007 ICA World Expo,” wrote Jakubowski. “It was rather subtle, but real. And that ‘difference’ was an interesting reflection of the current state of the carwash industry. These last couple years have seen a considerable amount of turbulence. All sectors have percentages of owners reporting substantial percentages of revenue erosion.” In his editorial column, Jakubowski also wrote, “For the last couple years, many carwash operators (from all segments of the industry) have been reporting that their revenues have been plummeting. The doom and gloom stories have been impossible to avoid … There have been numerous threads with stark, chilling reports of incomes being down, down, down — 20, 30, 50% … or more. “fact is, that for too many years what has propped up the US economy (via consumer spending) has been excessive equity borrowing on way over valued, inflated real estate. This industry has markets that are certainly recession resistant, but it being across the board ‘recession proof’ is a myth. The US economy will resuscitate — both consumer confidence and spending will track back up, housing will get back on its track, new cars will sell and, yes, our ‘canary’ will catch its breath … yet again.”

2. Closely monitor your cash flow: Forecast it monthly to ensure expenses and future expenditures are in line. You can even try negotiating with suppliers for short-term reductions.

3. Eliminate as many non-essential expenses as much as possible (i.e. cutback on superfluous landscaping, water usage, etc.)

4. Build up capital reserves and remain close to existing customers.

5. Get aggressive with collections. 6. Delay the purchasing of high ticket items and expansion plans.


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7. Strengthen your banking relationships. “Banks are looking for business to boost their income, but are also trying to minimize risk… Most experts agree, however, that seeking additional credit during a recession is not advisable,” states the SBA.

8. Similarly, don’t skimp on service and quality by being understaffed. Keep your employees or consider hiring part-timers. “One advantage of a slowdown is that hiring gets easier because there are more candidates from which to choose due to layoffs and other cutbacks.”

9. Keep good service offerings at the forefront. Customers’ “buying power or willingness to spend is lessened during tough economic times,” states the SBA. “Studies show that perception of service is fixed primarily in terms of time in a customer’s mind. Three examples are: Waiting time to obtain service; reaction time to deliver service; and length of time of the service.” Keep up with the advertisements. According to the SBA, studies have shown that those maintaining or increasing ad outlays during slowdowns wind up outselling rivals who cut back.

Pull money out of thin air • Keep 100% of revenue • Eliminates theft and collection • Real-time on-line reporting • Credit / debit – cashless transactions • Wireless – no wires, no mess • Free air check attracts more customers • 25’ coil or wire braid hose • Wall, pedestal or vault mount • 1.25 HP high-output, continuous use (HOCU) industrial compressor

• 16-guage stainless steel 2.25” x 20.25” x 14.25” cabinet • Digital model – inflate or deflate to desired pressure with easy-toread electronic push buttons • LED readout on digital models • Free toll-free support • Striking professional graphics are a customer magnet • Factory direct prices and support

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What’s the difference?


SSCWN Crossword

Think these pictures of a self serve car wash are the same? Think again! There are six differences. Can you spot them all? ANSWERS ARE BELOW.

ACROSS 6. Vacuum Company Based Out Of Pine Bluff, AZ 11. Host Of WashIdeas 12. Some Washes Have Them, Some Don’t 13. Supply Company Based Out Of Malden, MA 15. Atlantic City Show 16. Vending Option 17. Coral Reef And Eucalyptus 18. Chemical Watchdog 21. Crime Deterrent 22. Polyester, Polyamide, And Polypropylene 23. Host City Of 2018 Car Wash Show DOWN 1. Universal Carwash Group 2. When It Comes To Vacuums, Be Sure That The Door _______ Are Creating A Tight Seal 3. SSCWN Columnist 4. Free Wash Program ______ For Vets 5. Insurance Company Based Out Of Joplin, MO 7. Talk With Others Online 8. Hometown Of SSCWN Editor Debra Gorgos 9. Editor Emeritus


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE 1. Blue trashcan is missing 2. Cone shifted to the left 3. Truck’s license plate is a different color 4. Man’s shirt is a different color 5. Telephone pole is missing 6. Window is missing


6. Fragramatics 11. Powell 12. Tokens 13. Autowashonline 15. NRCC 16. Freshener 17. Fragrances 18. Hydrominder 21. Cameras 22. Microfiber 23. Las Vegas 1. ICA 2. Gaskets 3. Wilson 4. Grace 5. Insurancenter 7. AutoCareForum 8. Niskayuna 9. Jakubowski 10. Fazio 14. Wand 19. Vahaly 20. Menus

10. Sonny’s CEO 14. Found In Almost Every Self-Serve 19. SSCWN Publisher 20. Some Are Digital • FALL 2017 •



The investment in security cameras pays off for carwash operators (and the readers of SSCWN) with these

mostly frustrating, sometimes funny -- and always cautionary -- stories of Darwins Caught on Camera. Images of these criminals and/or their vehicles were given to police and the press. Many have been caught thanks to the prowess of security cameras.

Many people have had bad first days on the job, but has anyone had their shoulder fractured after being hit by and then trapped under a car? One poor guy in Brooklyn, New York, reported to his first day of work on September 30 at a car wash. Luckily a doctor was there to wash his car, because the new employee was struck by a vehicle and then dragged underneath it. The car then struck another car and a gas pump. People were able to pull the injured employee out from the vehicle and the aforementioned doctor tended to him before the ambulance arrived. The incident was caught on camera. The man suffered a fractured shoulder and hip. No word on whether or not he went back to work at the car wash (but I am guessing that’s a “no!?”).

I mean, it really does make sense. If you want money, just don’t go for the paper and coins—steal an entire ATM instead! A man in Spokane, Washington, was caught on camera stealing a forklift from the Wandermere Car Wash. No word on whether the incident, which took place around 3:20 a.m., was inspired by the movie Barbershop. A little while later, the same man was scene attempting to steal an ATM machine from a nearby bank with the stolen forklift. His attempt was unsuccessful, but security footage supplied by the bank shows the man’s truck, and was able to capture his image on camera. Good job, various security cameras!

On the list of men to avoid on the dating scene, there’s men who do drugs, men with mommy issues and then there’s men pretending to be your fiancé and then stealing your car. A man at a car wash in Mesquite, Texas, was


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caught on camera pretending to be a woman’s fiancé, and then driving off with her Cadillac Escalade. Security footage shows the man approaching the car wash clerk around 3:40 p.m. on August 17 and telling him he paid for the detailing services. He then gets in the vehicle and drives away. The woman then notices her car is missing and calls police. She also calls On-Star which was able to locate the vehicle, which had been abandoned, a few blocks away.

Most robbers wear masks, or at least a nondescript outfit, but this thief wore a…. wait for it…safari hat! Police in Moline, Illinois, are looking for a man who stole $1,500 worth of quarters from the Super Wash Car Wash during the late hours of September 20. Camera footage was able to show that the safari-wearing thief was a white male and his vehicle was a blue Dodge Caravan.

Security cameras were able to capture footage of a man stealing four metal drain gates from Frankie’s Car Wash in Bloomfield, New Jersey, in September. Combined, the gates are worth about $800. Footage also shows two cars parked on the property. The man put the gates in one of the vehicles. What was the other vehicle doing there? Perhaps the driver was the “lookout” person? He or she didn’t do a good job, though, of looking out for security cameras because the whole thing was caught on tape.

This one is funny, not because the angry customer went through the carwash with his window down, but because he shouted, “I

Looks like Sparks, Nevada, has its very own version of Bonnie and Clyde, except this duo only stole coins… and their story probably won’t ever be made into a movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Also, this duo wasn’t as suave because they were caught on camera, along with their vehicle. Sparks police are looking for the two suspects, a male and female, along with their black Dodge Durango. The incident took place on October 22 around 9 p.m. at the KB Car Wash. According to the security footage, coins were stolen from three out of the four coin machines. Security footage also shows that the Durango is missing a front license plate, stock wheels and front flood lights. The male is also shown to have brown hair and an average build. The female is shown to have blonde hair and a small build. Hey, that does sort of describe Beatty and Dunaway!

own Myrtle Beach and Horry County.” Now, it is unclear if he actually owns the beach area or the county, but according to good ‘ol Wikipedia: Horry County (pronounced O’Ree) was created from Georgetown District in 1801. At that time the county had an estimated population of 550. Isolated by the numerous rivers and swamps typical of the South Carolina Low Country, the area was essentially surrounded by water, forcing its inhabitants to survive virtually without assistance from the “outside world”. This caused the county residents { continued }

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to become an extremely independent populace, and they named their county “The Independent Republic of Horry”. The county was named after, and in honor of, Revolutionary War hero, Peter Horry[3] who was born in South Carolina sometime around 1743. So, I am guessing that is a “no”. Now, getting back to the story… On July 30 an employee at a car wash said a customer forgot to roll up his window and ended up getting soaked while going through the wash. After the wash, the customer threatened the employee, shouting that he owned Myrtle Beach and Horry County and then shouted, “I do what I want and I know all the cops.” What is strange is that even as he was threatening the employee, his window was still rolled down. Why didn’t he roll it up during the wash?! Perhaps when you think you own an entire county, your mind is worried about other things? The employee then said that the customer raised an object from the “console of the vehicle and moved it towards the steering wheel. The victim thought it was possibly a gun but that it could have also been a knife or a stick,” states The Sun News. Police say that carwash security cameras provided a “good picture of the male and his vehicle.”

All criminals are bad people, but these two are bad and creepy. Zips Car Wash in Memphis, Tennessee, was robbed at gunpoint by two men, one of which was wearing a Scream mask. Security footage shows the two men going into the car wash’s office with the Screammasked robber pointing a gun at the employee. The employee is able to open two safes in the office and both men flee. However, cameras were set up in the car wash office and police are using the footage to hopefully catch the two men.

clear how the man was able to escape considering he is not that intelligent because the entire incident was caught on tape! The incident took place at The Original Car Spa. Police say the man was wielding a hammer at a number of people. The people were able to avoid getting injured, and were even able to pin the man to the ground. However, a vehicle then pulls up to the car wash, and the man was able to break free and get into the vehicle. That vehicle has since been found by police, but there is no word on any arrests. The Original Car Spa posted the security footage on its Facebook page in an effort to help catch the assailant and the getaway driver.

Talk about grace under pressure. A video, The same guy was caught twice on camera at two different carwashes in Bridgeport, Texas. On October 13, the man is shown breaking into a payment machine at a carwash around 2 a.m. Cameras got a good image of his vehicle, a four-door white Dodge pickup from the mid-2000s. The same man is then seen again at the Eagle Car Machine. However, he was not able to steal any money at this car wash.

The purse-snatching didn’t occur at the carwash, but the wash’s security cameras might help in catching the thief. On October 3 in Springfield, Missouri, a woman stole a purse from an employee at a Subway sandwich shop. The thief ran out of the Subway and through a nearby car wash, which caught footage of the fleeing woman. The carwash released the footage to the police to help in finding the robber.

A hammer-wielding wacko was able to fight off a group of car wash employees as well as car wash customers in Addlestone, Surrey, England on October 8. It is un-


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that has since gone viral, thanks to Sean Ceballos of Alabama’s Facebook post, captured a car wash employee getting entangled in a car wash mitter. A wire apparently got caught up in the mitter and somehow the employee was attached to the wire. The video was shown on the Today Show and anchor Savannah Guthrie says that he appears very graceful while he spins around, a la a figure skater. Once the employee is freed from the mitter, he stands up and is apparently unscathed. The security footage somehow got into Ceballos’ hands who then posted it to his Facebook page. The video has now been viewed over 7 million times.

A man was caught backhanding and hurting his girlfriend at the King-Cal Car Wash in Fulton, Missouri and the incident was caught by surveillance cameras. On September 22, police arrested Joshua Byrd after a witness reported seeing a male in a Dodge Caravan hitting a female. Police reported that the victim had tried to get out of the Caravan, but Byrd grabbed her by the arm and would not let her leave. Officers reviewed the surveillance footage which confirmed the fact that Byrd was guilty.

What it is with criminals driving Dodge vehicles? This is the fifth crime story involving a Dodge in this month’s issue. Nothing against Dodge though, it is a wonderful company. In fact, I own a 2015 Chrysler Town & Country and it’s fantastic (please don’t sue me, or SSCWN!). In this case, a person driving a Dodge Ram pickup is caught on camera, trying to steal coins from the Highpoint Car Wash in Dundalk, Louth, Ireland, on October 26. Surveillance footage shows a masked man fastening a chain from his truck to the vending machines. Damage to the machines as well the carwash is estimated to be in the thousands

A poor Maple tree outside the Durango Rapid Wash in Durango, Colorado, is still recovering after a speeding car slammed into it around 2:40 p.m. on September 13. Video surveillance shows the 2000 Ford Escort barely missing a pedestrian before crashing into the tree. The vehicle, which uprooted the tree, is then shown spinning 180 degrees. The driver, who claimed he fell asleep at the wheel, was taken to the hospital and treated and was then charged with careless driving. No word on what happened to the tree, which couldn’t be reached for comment.

A man with a very distinctive tattoo was caught on camera (as well as his tattoo) burglarizing a car wash in Boynton Beach, Florida. The burglary took place at the Main Street Car Wash on October 10. Now, I am no criminal or experienced robber, but I even I would know to cover up my tattoo.



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