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• WINTER 2017 •

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CONTENTS Letters to the Editor ............... 4


Association Calendar & News ........................................ 6 From the Archives: Testing, Teasting ...................10 Marc Wilson on WashIdeas................................20 Industry Dirt...........................32 Extra! Extra! ............................38 Tricks of the Trade ...............43

I had two themes for my editor’s letter this issue,

October. She spent the

and both of them got up and quietly walked out

nursing home doing ther-

the door when I read Jim Holve’s post about his

apy to help her recover

wife’s passing on

some quality of life. It

Innovations..............................62 Beef Up Your Locks ...............67

hospital and in a skilled

If Jim’s name sounds familiar, but you can’t

never happened so my family and I had to place her

quite place how you know him, you might better

in Hospice care 3 days after Christmas to let nature

remember the designer/builder behind ShurVend

take its course. She passed away in the early morning

Vending Products as his alter ego, Uncle Sam, who

of January 1, 2017. Needless to say the Christmas

has been a fixture at carwash shows for over 15

season was not a very happy one for my family.

years now. It was at Jim’s third carwash show

KleenRite Show......................56

next two months in the

(WCA’s 2001 Expo) when he and his

I told very few of my customers about my situation, because you all have problems of your own. Some of you have been through these

wife (also a carwash show mainstay)

situations yourself, as I have found out,

decided to rent an Uncle Sam cos-

so you know what I have been through.

tume on impulse in hopes it might

I haven’t been focused on my usual cus-

encourage a smile or two at an event

tomer service as I usually am, but, now,

that was expected to be rather dour due

Cover story: Wash Loong & Prosper .......68

to the lingering shock and grief from 9/11.

Darwin at the Carwash.......83

that I am starting a new chapter in my life, I can get back to what I need to do. I

The get-up was a hit (particularly with SS-

apologize to any of you that have been disappointed

CWN Editor Emeritus J.J. Jakubowski), and Jim

with my actions these past months, but now is the

went on to wear the outfit at every show since

time to continue into the new year with my usual

that date, many times with his lovely wife by his

good customer service.

side. I think those of you who have had the plea-

I appreciate every one of you on this forum.

sure of knowing Jim, will join me in expressing

Uncle Sam

our most sincere and heartfelt condolences as he

VOL. 44, NO. 2, WINTER 2017

Publisher Jackson Vahaly Editor Kate Carr Design Katy Barret-Alley Editor Emeritus Jarret J. Jakubowski Editor Emeritus 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

weathers the storm of losing not only a most lov-

I am not sure there is much more to say, other

ing spouse, but also a partner in so many of his

than I am heartbroken for Jim, and I hope 2017

business adventures and travels.

represents a turning of the page for us all. I hope

Jim titled his post announcing his wife’s death,

we are all able to embrace the optimism of the

“Goodbye 2016!!!!” and went on to summarize

New Year and move forward with open hearts and

how the last few months of the year were spent

minds. I hope we are able to emulate Jim’s ideals

caring for his wife while she was in declining

of customer service and appreciation for our suc-

health after a stroke in late October. In a “life sure

cess in business.

is funny” kind of way, Jim’s letter touched upon

I hope we’re able to wash cars; but I hope, most

the two issues I had planned to write about in this

especially, that we demonstrate our appreciation for

issue’s “Carr’s Corner:” The tone for 2017, and

our families, our loved ones, and the God that brings

customer service in the carwash industry.

us these blessings. And I hope, for Jim, that there is healing and hope and love in every day he has to

In his own words: I have been absent from the Forum for most of 2016 since my last post in May when I announced that I had to skip the Nashville show due to my wife’s health problems. She had continuing health problems for the rest of the year until she had a massive stroke in late

move forward without his beloved companion.

Happy washing,


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 • WINTER 2017 •


LETTERS Hi Kate, I’ve been reading and enjoying the SS Car Wash News for the past couple of years. I’ve owned my car wash for three years now (5 SS bays, Touchless Automatic, 8 vacs, air, vending and soda machine). I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but the more I learn the more I realize that I’ve still got a lot to learn. When I purchased my wash there was one credit card reader which was/is in the auto cashier for my touchless automatic. It was and still is dial up. When I purchased my wash I realized that credit card readers are a must, at least for me. I spent countless hours over the past three years trying to decide which credit card readers/system to purchase. I finally settled on eports made by USA Technologies. While not perfect, USA Technologies satisfies many of my needs, is reasonably priced and is reliable. I’ve got eports in 4 of 5 ss bays and on a hamilton changer set up to vend tokens. I’ve been trying to make the eport work with my auto cashier, but have not been successful yet. By the end of January I will have an eport in my 5th ss bay and on two vacs. I plan to have 12 eports when all’s


I’m so glad you reached out this has been a hot topic in our industry for years, and you’re exactly right: It deserves the SSCWN spotlight attention! Your spreadsheet has given me a solid foundation for research, and I’m hoping other readers might chime in with additional categories/concerns. Mike’s current research includes categories for: Cost, Internet/Cellular, Wireless, PCI Compliant, Count Down, Count Up, Customer Service, Ease of Install, Durability, Warranty, Supports EMV/Chip, Supports NFC (i.e. Apply Pay/Card Tap), Contactless Card Payments, Merchant Interface/Reporting, Ease of Customer Use, Recurring Costs, Card Processing Costs, Card Processor, Loyalty Program, Fleet Program. I plan to distribute the questionnaire among our industry POS providers and publish our findings in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, here’s some basic info on PCI compliance for our readers to review:

What is PCI compliance? The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of rules meant to ensure that all companies safely accept, process, store, or transmit cardholder data (i.e., credit card information). PCI DSS is managed by the PCI Security Standards Council, an independent body founded by the five largest credit card brands — American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, Mas-


• WINTER 2017 •

Reader Input & Feedback

said and done. I think that this process has been more difficult than necessary and I’m certain that car wash operators are not aware of some important issues related to accepting credit card payments. I also think that some products are being advertised in a deceptive way. I’d like to suggest what I think is an important topic for an article in your magazine. The topic is a comparison of all or most credit card systems available to car wash operators. This is a frequent topic of discussion at The most recent thread is located at The comparison might include equipment costs, monthly fees (internet, reporting, etc.), processing options and fees, durability, ease of install, PCI compliance, PCI certification level/ process, etc. Maybe the card system manufacturers could complete a list of items for the purpose of comparison? The topic might need to be narrowed down or broken into parts. One major issue that I’ve struggled with is PCI

RISKY BEHAVIOR A survey of businesses in the U.S. and Europe reveals activities that may put cardholder data at risk. • 81% store payment card numbers. • 73% store payment card expiration dates. • 71% store payment card verification codes. • 57% store customer data on the payment card magnetic strip. • 16% store other personal data. *Source: Forrester Consulting: The State of PCI Compliance (commissioned by RSA/EMC)

terCard Worldwide, and Visa. It was launched in 2006 to improve the security of the transaction process and payment technology life cycle as a whole. The PCI Council and the five credit card brands believe that sellers and organizations that accept credit cards are primarily responsible for the security of those transactions — which is why it’s crucial that

certification. Any merchant that accepts credit card payment is required to certify PCI compliance on a yearly basis. I’ve tried to understand what is required of me/the merchant in this regard, but I’m really not sure what I am supposed to do. It is obvious to me that very few operators are aware of this requirement. I’ve spoken with USA technologies on several occasions about this and while I still need to understand what my responsibility is, I am comfortable that the USA Technologies ePort by USA Technologies is PCI compliant and is compliant at many levels (hardware, software, processing, clearing, settlement,prepaid services, etc.). I am able to search the internet and verify this with the major credit card companies. I can’t say the same for other credit card options available for car washes. I put together a spreadsheet that I’ve attached. I used it when I narrowed my choice down between eport and cryptopay and I’ve since added other options that I’ve learned about. This might be a good starting point if you’d like to consider this topic for an article.

Thanks, Mike Loewe highly secure technologies and measures are in place to prevent theft of cardholder data. If you’re responsible for validating your PCI compliance, you must first determine the level at which you need to be compliant, then take the necessary steps recommended for your business type. Depending on your annual transaction volume, the requirements for businesses to maintain PCI compliance could include some or all of the following steps: • Hiring an approved scanning vendor (ASV) that might perform network and system scans • Completing an annual self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) or checklist; this is a tool used to report the results of your PCI DSS self-assessment and validate your standing • Hiring a qualified security assessment vendor (QSA), which is essentially a digital security firm qualified to perform PCI DSS assessments at your business *Source:

From the PCI Security Standards Council: The twentieth century U.S. criminal Willie Sutton was said to rob banks because “that’s where the money is.” The same motivation in our digital age makes merchants the new target for financial fraud. Occasionally lax security by some merchants enables criminals to easily steal and use personal consumer financial information from payment card transactions and processing systems. {continued P.8}

Microcoin QL ®

The MICROCOIN ® QL is a high speed, multi-coin, field programmable electronic coin acceptor that can be used in many applications in your car wash including your: WASH BAYS AUTOCASHIERS VACUUMS FRAGRANCE MACHINES CHANGE MACHINES Its features are many. Here are just a few: Quick Learn™ On Board Programming Single and multi-coin programming Programmable for Multiple Currencies Programmable for up to 12 different coins Universal size - one size fits all High speed, multi-coin acceptance up to 10 cps New, revolutionary coin discrimination techniques Highly critical and unique coin path design which virtually eliminates the possibility of coin jams. Maximum fraud coin rejection For more information on the MICROCOIN® QL contact Hi-Performance Wash Systems or one of the distributors listed below. Advanced Car Wash Systems – GA JE Adams – IA National Pride Equipment – OH Auto Wash Concepts – CA Jim Coleman Company – TX Ryko – IA Dultmeier – NE Kleen-Rite – PA U-Wash Equipment – IL Etowah Valley – NC Laurel Metal Products, Inc. – IL Water Conservation Services – CA Fragramatics – AR Mark VII – CO Windtrax - KS

3901 East 41st Avenue 800.922.1313 (Toll Free) Denver, CO 80237 303.322.2232 (Local) • WINTER 2017 •



Association News & Calendar

From the International Carwash Association: As of this week (January 3, 2017) more than 60% of the combined areas of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are in some stage of drought – affecting more than 20 million people. You can view the U.S. Drought Monitor for the Southeast here: State and local authorities have already begun implementing water saving measures, such as eliminating lawn watering. Water saving (and pollution prevention) campaigns can be well suited to benefit the professional car wash industry – but every operator should be taking steps to best protect their business. The best way to defend your car wash business from these types of campaigns is to tell your story with accurate information. We’re here to help. Please consider the following: • Emphasize your car wash’s water conservation attributes. A garden hose can use more than 60 gallons in as little as 5 minutes and home washing machines can use 45 gallons per load. Compare these statistics to your car wash’s use of fresh water. • Emphasize your car wash’s pollution prevention attributes. Research has shown that even a medium sized town can generate hundreds of pounds of dangerous pollution by allowing car washing to be done at home or on pavement. • Let your customers and local water authorities know that safety is one of the key reasons for keeping your car clean. • Familiarize yourself with ICA’s model drought response plan. This plan takes into account the fact that, based on research, professional car washes typically use well less than one percent of the water used in a municipality. • If you are a member of WaterSavers®, be sure to be using the signage and messages of the program - our industry’s unified and most effective voice on the environmental benefits of professional car washing. WaterSavers members are also included in our online directory of environmentally responsible car wash locations. • If you are located in North Carolina or Georgia, consider having your car wash certified as water saving to protect against restrictions.


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Thanks to the excellent efforts of the North Carolina Professional Carwash Association and the Georgia Coalition of Car Washes for their work in having these programs adopted. In drought situations, it is understandable that there is a public interest in reducing water demand. But, it’s not acceptable to target one particular type of business. In the case of professional car washing, it’s also illogical given the above facts – and a potential threat to businesses and jobs. This November, ICA launched a targeted campaign to bring this information to consumers and water regulators. This is in addition to the nearly half a million dollars ICA has invested in public relations and advocacy efforts. As part of that effort, please share the contact information for your local water regulators so that we can be sure to include them in our outreach. You can send that information directly to Claire Moore at As always, we welcome your input and suggestions. Let’s work together to protect professional car washing, while also doing our part to protect the environment.

From the Southwest Car Wash Association: The Southwest Car Wash Association will host John Stossel, the 19-time Emmy winner and former co-anchor of 20/20, as keynote for the SCWA Convention. Stossel’s address will be presented during the Opening Breakfast session on Monday, February 27. Hailed by The Dallas Morning News as “the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time,” he is the host of Stossel on Fox where he highlights “current consumer issues with a Libertarian point of view.” He has recorded a video invitation to the convention, which has been posted on the SCWA Facebook account. The Association pointed out that Stossel began his career as a business-bashing consumer reporter calling for government regulation, but when he saw regulation fail, he began reporting on the

things that free markets create: prosperity, innovation, choice and freedom. He joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in 2009. He is the host of “Stossel” (Thursdays at 9 PM/ ET), a weekly program highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint, the release stated, and he also appears regularly on Fox News Channel (FNC) providing signature analysis. According to the release, Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club; other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award. {continued }

2017 CALENDAR OF EVENTS Submissions can be made to Editor Kate Carr at

FEB. 26-28

SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO Arlington, TX |


SECWA Road Show

Biloxi, MS |


Car Wash Show (ICA) Las Vegas |

APRIL 25-26

Heartland Carwash Association (HCA) Product Show

Des Moines, IA |

JULY 23-26

SECWA Expo and Convention Swan and Dolphin Resort Hotel Orlando, FL |

SEPT. 25-27

Car Wash Show Europe (ICA)

Amsterdam, Netherlands |

OCT. 2-4 NRCC 2017

Atlantic City, NJ |

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continued ...

It’s a serious problem – more than 868 million records with sensitive information have been breached between January 2005 and June 2014, according to As you are a key participant in payment card transactions, it is imperative that you use standard security procedures and technologies to thwart theft of cardholder data. Merchant-based vulnerabilities may appear almost anywhere in the card-processing ecosystem including point-of-sale devices; mobile devices, personal computers or servers; wireless hotspots; web shopping applications; paper-based storage systems; the transmission of cardholder data to service providers, and in remote access connections. Vulnerabilities may also extend to systems operated by service providers and acquirers, which are the financial institutions that initiate and maintain the relationships with merchants that accept payment cards (see diagram on page 5). Compliance with the PCI DSS helps to alleviate these vulnerabilities and protect cardholder data.

PCI DSS Requirements: The Checklist • Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data • Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters • Protect stored cardholder data • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks • Protect all systems against malware and regularly update anti• virus software or programs • Develop and maintain secure systems and applications • Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know • Identify and authenticate access to system components • Restrict physical access to cardholder data • Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data • Regularly test security systems and processes • Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel

Ask your POS vendor about the security of your system with the following suggested questions: • Have default settings and passwords been changed on the systems and databases that are part of the POS system? • Do you access my POS system remotely? If so, have you implemented appropriate controls to prevent others from accessing my POS system, such as using secure remote access methods and not using common or default passwords? How often do you access my POS device remotely and why? Who is authorized to access my POS remotely? • Have all unnecessary and insecure services been removed from the systems and databases that are part of the POS system? • Is my POS software validated to the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS)? (Refer to PCI SSC’s list of Validated Payment Applications.) Does my POS software • Store sensitive authentication data, such as track data or PIN blocks? If so, this storage is prohibited: how quickly can you help me remove it? • Does my POS software store primary account numbers (PANs)? If so, this storage must be protected: how is the POS protecting this data? • Will you document the list of files written by the application with a summary of • Does my POS software enforce complex and unique passwords for all user access? • Can you confirm that you do not use common or default passwords for access to my system and other merchant systems you support? • Have all the systems and databases that are part of the POS system been patched with all applicable security updates? • Is the logging capability turned on for the systems and databases that are part of the POS system? • If prior versions of my POS software stored sensitive authentication data, has this feature been removed during current updates to the POS software? Was a secure wipe utility used to remove this data?

NEED HELP? • If you would like to engage a security professional for help with your self-assessment, the PCI Security Council encourages you to consider contacting a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). QSAs have been trained by PCI SSC to conduct PCI DSS assessments and are listed on the PCI SSC website. • The PCI SSC website is a primary source for additional resources, including: The PCI DSS Glossary of Terms, Abbreviations and Acronyms Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Webinars Information Supplements and Guidelines SAQ forms and Attestations of Compliance. • PCI SSC also provides a number of training programs to help build awareness for an organization’s personnel. Examples include PCI Awareness, the PCI Professional (PCIP) program, and the Internal Security Assessor (ISA) program. Please refer to www. for more information. • Payment-related training programs and resources may also be available from the payment brands and/or your merchant acquirer.

Association News & Calendar continued ...

From the New England Car Wash Association: The New England Car Wash Association honored Paul Vercollone, vice president of VERC Enterprises, with the “You Make It Happen Award.” The honor is given annually given to a member who consistently gives back to the association as well as to the communities he/she serves. Dave Ellard, president of NECA’s board of directors, presented Vercollone with the award on Nov. 2. Vercollone served as president of the association in 2007 and 2008. He was recognized for his fundraising efforts for the NECA scholarship program,


• WINTER 2017 •

the association’s annual golf tournament and NECA’s Wash for a Cause program. Noted for “his generosity, positive outlook, sense of humor and sense of style,” Vercollone also received recognition as vice president of VERC Enterprises, a company that is distinguished as a leader in employing those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “It’s an honor to be acknowledged by my industry peers,” Vercollone said. “NECA has advanced, safeguarded and support-

ed its members since its founding in 1973. I’m proud to be part of an organization that enhances the professionalism of the car washing industry in New England.” Duxbury-based VERC Enterprises is an in independent chain of convenience stores and gas stations and car wash operator with locations in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The company began 39 years ago with a single car wash in Marshfield, in a business founded by Eugene Vercollone.



Car Wash Systems

800.892.3537 • • WINTER 2017 •


From the Archives

Testing, Testing... Regular testing procedures and the right test tools are the building blocks of a superior carwash. Here are some solid suggestions. By: Donna Verchot Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared over 25 years ago, and then again in the Spring ‘00 issue. It is being reproduced here with minor edits to update cost/brand information.

very well received article that ran more than 10 years ago in the SSCWN. “Tests” has withstood the test of time quite well and had to be updated very little.

Editor’s Note from 2000: The following is a reprise of a

It was written by Donna Verchota, a legendary lady car-

washer from Denver. She left the industry in the early 90s moved on to the Home & Garden marketplace where she now specializes in water conservation and irrigation systems. Our loss, the landscapes of America’s gain.

SAY ADIOS TO THE “NOT SO GOOD ‘OL DAYS” Do you have the proper tools to run your wash professionally? We used to run our washes more so “by the seat of our pants” than by the book. If we touched the blue wire to the red wire and got a spark they were hot! If you had bubbles on the car the soap mix was

right. If there was salt in the brine tank you had soft water. If no one complained your vacs were working and the hot water heater was running. That by-guess or by-golly times past were not the “good ‘ol days.” Now in place of guessing we do have test tools.

I’ve compiled a list of some of these with some brand names, plus an approximate price, and comments on why we use them. All are readily available items. Ask your supplier/distributor for more specific recommendations.


(MADE BY HACH, MODEL 5B. COST APPROXIMATELY $20.) This test is much more accurate than the “Soap Test Method” as one or less grains of hardness can be detected. An inexpensive soap test kit is generally provided with your softener. Because soap will suds better in soft water one or more drops of soap are added to your water in a clear vial. Then you shake well and observe the suds. “Lasting suds indicate soft water” is the final instruction. My problem with this is: What exactly are lasting suds? And how many grains hard are suds that don’t “last?” With the Hach test kit one drop of Hardness Reagent solution equals one grain of hardness. If one


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Calcium and magnesium are the “hardness” agents. These two ions have a reduced solubility when heated. These two “culprit” ions are no longer soluble and will plate or coat the the surfaces they touch. Soon your pipes have restricted flow and your heater loses efficiency. Even if you don’t heat your water (a mistake in my opinion) pressure effects the ions as well as heat and you will still plate and clog your lines. CLEANABILITY -When cleaning a car surface, hard water (which, again, contains calcium and magnesium) reacts with your cleaning agent to form “soap curd” (better known as “bathtub ring”). This soap curd forms a film which is deposited on the surface of the car. This results in a dissatisfied customer. {continued } PIPES -

drop produces a color change the water may be less than one grain hard. If it takes 7 drops to turn the color from pink to blue, your sample is 7 grains per gallon hard. Each grain of hardness requires 6 percent more car wash cleaning agent to clean properly. Zero grains is best for assuring thorough cleaning. Zero grains soft water is essential in reducing your costs for cleaning agents. But for two other more important, basic reasons you need soft water: 1.



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• WINTER 2017 •

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From the Archives


Another important test for your softener that only requires a broom handle “tool”: occasionally allow salt level to drop to the level of brine. Check for salt being “arched.” Often salt will bridge or arch at the bottom of your tank, which causes a weak brine. The reason for the bridge could be low quality salts. I prefer pellets or cubes never use rock salt! The reason for the weak brine is only the edges of the bridge provide surface area of salt to make brine. The solution is to carefully tap the bridge with a broom handle to distribute and cover the entire grid. Be sure to again fill with quality salt.


TDS METER - measures the “Total Dissolved Solids”

in water. (Hach makes a handy dandy, pocket-sized unit that is quite accurate and costs only about $75.) Some reverse osmosis and deionization systems do not have a built in meter. And some only have a “good” or “bad” margin readin. You need more specific testing. How do you know if your equipment is truly spot free?!? Don’t wait for customer complaints to find an equipment malfunction. If you do not have Spot Free Rinse, you don’t need a TDS meter, but I urge you to have your water tested and add Spot Free Rinse now. Water above 50 PPM (Parts Per Million) of TDS will definitely spot!

MULTI METERS SPOT MULTI PROBLEMS MULTI-METER (Available at any electronic outlet. Cost $150$300, depending on style and number of functions. We use a Fluke 77 Multimeter with Y8108 Current Probe - $288.) These are ideal for troubleshooting. They let you check transistors, AC and DC voltage, amps and resistance, and more. EXAMPLE: Motor running hot, not running or blowing breakers. TEST: Amps must match specs on motor and voltage meet specs on motors and transformers. What you are looking for on the high or low voltage is a drop or loss and the source of that loss. EXAMPLE: Recirculation motor on heater is not working. TEST: Trace power from circuit breaker on main panel to recirc motor. If you have power all the way chances are you will need a new motor. There are strange times called “brown out” days when your electrical suppliers demand exceeds supply. This causes lights to dim. This could cause equipment malfunction and self destruction. You can verify with a multimeter, and then call and complain to your electrical supplier. CAUTION: If you are not familiar


• WINTER 2017 •

with electricity do not use a multimeter as it involves 110V power. If you do have limited knowledge be sure to read and follow instructions carefully! BILLS AND COINS To test your changers. Use a spectrum of bills that vary in age/wear. If you have bogus bills, use them also for testing. Use quarters to test your coin mechanisms. Paint them red so you can retrieve these before counting income. GALLONS PER MINUTE Fluctuating GPM is a “sneaky” problem that creeps into your wash and robs you slowly, surely, and when you add it all up dramatically! Here are some causes, cures and tests: WORN NOZZLES are often too subtle to be “eye-dentified.” This is a simple 2 step test to check for worn out and enlarged nozzles: FIRST leave nozzle on, pull trigger and collect water bucket for 60 seconds. You may want to put a piece of hose over the wand so you don’t splash water out. This requires a second hand on your watch...which you should also use frequently to time your cycles. SECOND measure water. Most systems are set at 3.5 gallons per minute. You could be running as high as 5 GPM with a worn, dilated nozzle aperture. IMPORTANT Such increased flow could mean that your softener and boiler cannot keep up with wasteful “demand!” BELTS SLIPPING gallons per minute would be low. BAD PRESSURE REGULATOR could mean you are by-passing too much water; or if a foreign material is in the pressure regulator, it could cause pressure to rise and increase gallonage. BAD CHECK VALVES on the freeze control system would drop the pressure. INTERNAL PUMP PROBLEMS DECREASED FLOW

caused by softener restrictions or two small a water line or calcium build up in lines (plated or coated) would/could cause you to run out of water at peak period of business. WEEP OR BY-PASS HOLE ENLARGES with use. This can result in too high gallonage and pressure when the trigger is not being pulled and could cause dangerous flying wands. PRESSURE TEST If you suspect a pressure loss between pump and wand, use this test: Remove wand and insert t-fitting and replace wand. Install Pressure Gauge and squeeze trigger. WIth pump running, check PSI at pump and wand. (Pressure at pump should exceed wand pressure by not more than 100 PSI.) If your tip is free from debris and you still have irregular pressure at the pump or actually feel a loss of pressure in-bay after using this test your restriction could be in your gun or pump or lines. There are several materials used in car wash installations that could also affect or restrict PSI and gallonage. Going from least desireable to the “best” scenarios:


There has long been confusion over the relationship of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) to Hardness (measured in Grains Per Gallon). I’ll be as precise as possible yet try not to further confuse the issue: First, all hardness is dissolved solids. Hardness “solids” are mostly calcium and magnesium which, again, plate/clog your equipment and reduce cleaning efficiency producing tell tale “soap scum.” But, not all dissolved solids are hardness. There is a wide variety of other minerals and microscopic materials which are dissolved into water. They might not cause Hardness but they do result in spot problems. Unfortunately, many operators still believe that just because they have soft water that they need not be concerned about spots definitely not true! Softened water simply substitutes salt spots for calcium/magnesium spots...while doing nothing to remove the other causes of spotting.


• Requires 90 degree elbows that restrict. • Rough inside surface that flakes off metal that clogs and creates friction that causes pressure loss. • Attracts lime and calcium that can collect and reduce the opening to pinhole size. • If you ever freeze, you may have to replace large amounts of pipe. COPPER PIPE:

• Too often the inside diameter is too small and metal causes friction and pressure loss. • Metal attracts lime and calcium deposits. • No expansion. In the event you freeze, the pipe can split. SYNTHETIC HOSE:

• Doesn’t kink. • Expands when frozen. Smooth inside surface minimizes pressure losses due to friction. We suggest ” inside diameter hose. Remember rubber or synthetic hose does not attract and collect the lime and calcium deposits, but your fittings (metal) use soft water! Proper combining of gallons per minute and PSI are crucial ingredients in cleaning a car. How much of each is, and always will be, cause for discussion. I read with great interest the report from the Carwash Institute, funded by the International Carwash Association in the early 80s. I agreed with their findings and had been using the suggest GPM and PSI successfully for year.s I also had been using 120 degrees hot rinse water on which the Institute put its stamp of approval to assure a more superior completed wash. I realize that the use of hot rinse water is debatable. But for now, I’ll just state that 4 GPM at 1000 PSI; combined with zero grains soft water at 120 degrees for Wash, Rinse, Wax; plus the highest grade cleaning agent really cleans cars… and I mean REALLY! By the way, I should mention that I did not follow the herd after the advent of the foaming brush in the early 80s. I know that more than 95 percent of self serve washes have the brushes and that most customer choose to use them. I, however, consid{continued }

• WINTER 2017 •


From the Archives ered brushes to be more trouble than they were worth, so I did not install them in my washes. I am a proponent of totally touchless/no-friction washing which demands more of the “top end” when it comes to flow rate, pressure, heat, and soap quality. I strayed from my subject of GPM/PSI combination. I must warn you that several things must be considered in raising either GPM/PSI or when going to hot rinse (if not offered already): • Heater capacity per hour • Softener capacity • Water meter (line) capacity • Capacity of pump • Size of motors, pulleys and belts • Spot-free rinse system capacity if you move up to a #8 tip you will increase the GPM of Spot-Free Rinse and could find you will run out during busy times There are ways to increase capacity in heaters and softeners: • Add more low pressure functions • Add an energy saving device to the hot water heater and/or a storage tank. • Add auxiliary/tandem softener or regenerate more often


ment supplier. The idea behind this test is to have consistent cleaning agent quality. Start by getting the strength of your washing agent to where it really cleans a car. Test with titration and then make sure each batch of cleaning solution is the same number of drops titration. The kit will not tell you one cleaning agent is good or that another is bad, as there are many other factors involved in evaluating a cleaning agent. This is not an evaluation tool. Use it when manually mixing (as opposed to automatic powered dispensing which has its own test ...automatically.) With manual mixing you can add too much or not enough. Use it if your cleaning agent has set for a few days during a period of rain, extreme cold (slow to no traffic days). You may need to add some more powder to get the titration level up to where you know it cleans. And remember, different weather creates different dirt and cleaning problem.s Be aware and adjust. Most equipment manufacturers have established the range your titration should read with their product. There is another test we use. We strengthen our manually mixed cleaning agent to a point where it takes 15-18 seconds to change over to clear rinse in the bay. Any more time the mix is too strong. Ane less time I’m not cleaning cars. Keep in mind this is a “seat of the pants” judgement that none the less works until someone invents a test tool that does it all.

Ask your cleaning agent or equip-

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• WINTER 2017 •

A HOLE IN ONE Here’s a “duffer’s” low tech way to test vac suction: Set a golf ball down and try to pick it up with your vac. If it goes through the hose and “clunks” the inside of the vac housing you can be pretty sure your suctions’ good and your hose is free of any obstructions.

VAC SUCTION GAUGE We use this tool to precisely check vacuum suction after our vacs have been cleaned (Marshalltown $22). We are then assured motor sare fully operational. If the reading falls, you know you need to clean, change filters, motor and/or brushes.

AND FINALLY… Now here are a few suggestions to help you extend the life of your equipment: • Change oil in your pumps pump manufacturers typically suggest the initial fill be changed after 50 hours, then every 3 months or 500 hours. • Change brushes in your vacuum motors typically, at least twice per year. • Clean your brine tank (unless you use food grade salt) - at least once a year. • Sweep/hose the equipment room floor nightly so the floor is always clean and you can detect any leaks in the morning.

YOU BE THE JUDGE I have not set a hard and fast schedule for you to do these tests/tasks, nor have I covered all of the things that should be done. Simply do some or all of them now and set your own pace at repeating them. Obviously,a high volume carwash needs to do maintenance more often than a medium to slow carwash. You be the judge but do it!



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• WINTER 2017 •


From the Archives


THERMOMETER should be used to accurately test the temperature of your water. You can purchase in a metal case to put in your tool box. We run our wash, rinse and wax at 120 degrees. This temperature at the reservoir tank assures your water will be delivered even out to the last bay at no less than 105 degrees. The ICA Carwash Institute, as I mentioned earlier, determined that temperature to be the best and most efficient a standard/guidelines that has been used by our industry for about 20 years. Keep in mind that there are other factors that drop the temperature besides traveling through equipment, hoses and the wand or barrel. These are: MISTING if you push 2.5 GPM out at 1000 PSI with a 40 degree angled spray the temperature drops as soon as it hits the end of the tip and “mists” or atomizes. DISTANCE some customers stand away from their cars. The end of the wand is often 12” to 24 from the car’s surface. Guess what? Even the right GPM and PSI and a 25-degree tip (which concentrates the spray of water) you will have a substantial drop in temperature before it hits the car. As a footnote to this: The advantages of bays being 15’ centerline versus the old style 16’ is that it forces the customer closer to the surface of the car. THe closer to the car with the spray ,the better the wash. Some washes are even being built less than 15’ wide. The new, easier to handle short wands came into be-


• WINTER 2017 •

ing when we reduced our bay width. TEST FOR LEAKS while on low pressure functions by rotating 360 degrees swivel while pulling trigger gun. These leaks will show up later on high pressure functions and be more serious. Looking for leaks while on high pressure is less effective because the pressure itself will often seal or conceal a leak until it finally “blows” through. WINTER TESTS check your weep system, trough heat system, floor heat system, as well as overhead heater before winter. To check your floor heat system before winter turn on the heater to a high setting early on a cool morning. Allow 90 minutes or so to heat the coils in the floor...but not the concrete. Wet the floors (no need to soak them) then watch as the heated coils dry in a pattern. You’ll see each coil and be able to ascertain if there is a run leaking or clog. This is an excellent test prior to closing on a wash either as buyer or seller unless it’s winter time. LIGHTS drive by at night to see if all the lights are functioning. SOOT CHECK check the burners and vents of your heaters for “soot.” If you have it chances are you have covered your combustible air vents. NOT a good idea.


test and turn off vacuums to check if operating properly. It’s best to always use quarters to test coin mechanisms and time. After test VACUUM TEST KEY

starting with coins then time canceled with test keys. (The turn-on key and tumbler can be installed on an existing vacuum.) Your vacs should be tested every time someone comes on the lot, up to several times a day. It’s quick assurance that your customers find no clogs or a motor that’s blown. The reason for getting vacs that allow for key-stops is two-fold: Customers are willing to pay for vac time. Why give ti to them?!? Without test keys theoretically you would start a 4-minute cycle on your 8 vacs. If 4 customers were at the islands, you could give away $2-3 in time a couple times a day. That adds up! Also, motors do wear out based on usage. Using the same 8 vacs on a lot tested with quarters only and left running for 4 minutes you would cut motor life by several hours every month with no quarters to show for it. Some operators may do random testing with quarters...or even no testing at all. But if you are striving for complete customer satisfaction, don’t let your customers serve as your trouble shooters. Here’s another “seat of pants” test for vacs if you sense reduced suction: open upper door, take dome off, run vacuum and visually inspect. If you leave that “suction door” closed, the suction from the good motor(s) could pull the other motor blades around and you won’t be able to readily see if there’s a problem.

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• WINTER 2017 1/31/17 •8:57 AM

Marc Wilson on WashIdeas:

Looking back before your leap The former executive director of the Southeastern Car Wash Association talks to Perry Powell about the good ol’ days of carwashing, Southern hospitality, and growing up on the Space Coast.

By: Perry Powell Editor’s Note: Perry Powell and Marc Wilson recorded this WashIdeas Podcast in the winter of 2015, just a few short months before the Southeastern Car Wash Association announced a new management team (Linda and Mike Anderson, based out of Durham, NC) would be taking over Association operations. In the interview, Wilson reminisces about his start in self serve carwashing, the kind of hard work necessary for success, and what makes the Southeastern Car Wash Association so unique. In short, the three mainstays of the (Southern) American Dream: Opportunity, hard work, and sharing what you have.

PERRY POWELL: Welcome to a new edition of WashIdeas. This is your host, Perry Powell. I have a great guest today: Marc Wilson, the executive director of the Southeastern Car Wash Association and the owner of four carwashes. Marc, thanks for being here.


• WINTER 2017 •

MARC WILSON: Thank you for having me, Perry. PP: You know, I don’t think any of the other executive directors of the trade associations are actually owners. Is that unique to you? MW: Yes...I think so. What happened is when they hired me, quite a few years ago -- back in the 90s -- Lamar Beck and Richard Schuster were the two that came to visit me. And as I became involved with the Association, I would go around with Lamar Beck and visit different car washes and sites when we were setting up meetings and what not, and I was just fascinated with the business. And Lamar and Tom Brewster both kept telling me, “Well, you ought to get into it.” And of course, I got the bug and that’s what I did. Back in 2001, I got my first carwash. PP: And how did you grow from your first carwash to the four you have now? What was your initial business model?

MW: Well, back in the 90s, the carwash industry was either full serve or self serve and automatics, mostly. I decided I liked that self serve/automatic model back then, because I wasn’t in a position to actually have 25 employees with a full serve. That was my thing. So I decided I would try the self serve. My office then was in this really great location -- I actually owned the building -- and in talking to the guys, I kept thinking, this would be a great location for a carwash. So, I proceeded to tear down the building and build a carwash there, along with still running my association business. It was a love affair from the start. That first one was in 2001. Then I bought another self-serve/automatic from Marcus Kittrell in 2002, and then bought another one in 2003 and another in 2004. At one point, I had seven of them, but it got a little hectic then. I was going back and forth and had my son-in-law helping me to run them, and we ended up selling three of the self serves. But the market for the express was starting to come alive, so we built a small -- it was an old full {continued }

• WINTER 2017 •



serve, but we turned it into a small express just to see if that was something we would be interested in. So I sold four that were all together in one area, kept the three, and then I got down to two, and then I started building some express washes. So, now I have two express washes and two selfserve/automatics. Both of the self serve/automatics, we’re getting ready to add tunnels to -- but we’ll keep the self serve/automatics, and have the express tunnel with it. That model seems to be doing pretty well for us, and at one of those sites, we’ll actually gate it as well. It will be an interesting project. That’s how I got into it. I think at one point I had three express washes, right now just the two. One of the two had been a self serve/automatic, and I just blew out the walls on it and put in a tunnel and added vacuums on the side of it. That’s a different model, but it’s an express using an existing area, and an existing carwash. It’s done very well. I’ve been very happy with it. PP: What do you think is unique about your perspective because of your position as an Association executive and an owner? That’s a powerful combination of experience. MW: Well, for starters, the Southeast Association is really a relationship association. It’s people helping people, which tends to happen more down here in this area. I think it’s something like 28 percent of all carwashes are down here in the


• WINTER 2017 •

Southeast. There is a lot more of a family orientation down here. I think when someone calls our office -- like my wife says, I tend to talk longer, because I do have experience in the carwash business. So, hopefully I give them a little bit more insight and make sure these people realize that when they get into the business, it’s a real business. It’s not something to

... the Southeast Association is really a relationship association. It’s people helping people ... There is a lot more of a family orientation down here.

go pick up money and forget about it. They need to really be in touch with it. And of course, they need to get their local distributors to help them when they’re new in the business. I try to make sure that all our member vendors are involved. I give them a list of all the vendors to contact. I try to help them there. I have maybe a little bit more insight in it -- the names of the equipment, and

all that that. Some of the groups don’t really have that insight on it, but I think it’s an advantage for our association in that sense. PP: How many of those calls are you getting -from people who are looking to start into the carwash business -- each week? MW: Oh, I couldn’t put a number on it. We get quite a few people wanting to get into the business or at least wanting to get information on it. It’s something that -- I don’t know if outside this industry people have really embraced the idea that it’s a business that can be successful -- but we do have quite a few people that do call. I’d say, obviously 95 percent of them don’t get into it when they realize the effort you have to put into be successful. I’ve actually told a few people that if they’re serious about getting into it, they should go work at a carwash for a month. I actually had one guy come and he worked at our carwash for a month... And he didn’t get in the business. I’ve seen a lot of them that said it was the best thing they ever did because then they really learned what needed to be done. PP: What do you think the most unrealistic expectation these people have when they contact you? MW: I think a lot of them are told that it’s a business where you can make a lot of money and it’s not that hard. But this business is really a truly {continued } 1-888-439-5740

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American family type business. You look at the people who are in this business and they work their butts off. You see them in the second, third, and even fourth generation that are in this. And that’s some of what they don’t understand -- the work ethic. You can go to our show -- or any show, really -- and talk to the wives. Especially those owners who are in their 50s or 60s now. Those wives were cashiers. They were out there on the line helping their husband when the staff didn’t show up -- they’re working. They understand what it takes. A lot of people these days think it’s something easy, but it’s not. Look at someone like Benny Alford, or Lamar Beck, or Chuck Howard, or Frank Hutchins -- they’ve got second and third generation in the business now and they’ve built these things up to another level. It’s hard work. PP: And that term is something that comes up quite a bit in the Legends series on WashIdeas -hard work. MW: Oh, yeah. I can remember years ago, people would say about self serve and automatics, “You just go by and pick up your money, huh?” And I’m thinking, “Yeah, right! That’s not the way it is.” But, unfortunately, it’s sold to some people that way. I’ve always been impressed with the people -- and that’s why I got into this. I had seven associations I was running and one of the things I had decided when I was building some carwashes, was that the only association I wanted to continue to work with was the carwash one. It was strictly because of the families, the hard, dedicated work, and the willingness of the people in the Southeast and in this industry to help each other. Now, if you’re right down the street from the other guy, he might not necessarily be the one helping you with something right there, but they’re very open. THat’s one of the things we’ve been able to do with our road shows for the carwash association -- the networking, the passing of information, the helping. It’s huge.


• WINTER 2017 •

I won’t say the person’s name -- but I remember years ago, we were having a roundtable discussion, and Sonny Fazio, Lamar Beck, Tom Brewster, Frank Hutchins, and Benny Alford were sitting at the table and there was a new guy who had just bought a car wash and he was trying to tell them how to do it. And these guys actually jumped all over him -- I really kind of felt bad for the guy, at the time. But I remember later that night, at a social function we had, I told him, “These guys are trying

“These guys are trying to help you. Listen to them. They have tons of knowledge and it might not sound like what you want to hear right now, but listen to ‘em.” Today, that guy has seven or eight car washes and he’s very successful ...

to help you. Listen to them. They have tons of knowledge and it might not sound like what you want to hear right now, but listen to ‘em.” Today, that guy has seven or eight car washes and he’s very successful and if you talk to him, he would tell you that was a defining moment for him. PP: And I’ll actually let the cat out of the bag and name that man -- because he’s actually told that story here on WashIdeas. If you haven’t heard it before, you should listen to Petty Hardin’s interview. It’s on the homepage of WashIdeas, there on the left

column. And he related that story in the interview. MW: And that’s what’s so neat about this group. People ask me why I do the Association. It’s because I love it. It’s definitely not the money. I love the people, and I love what this industry is about. This is really true America. It really is. You look at the people and the hard work and what they’ve been able to build. I remember one guy told me, “I wash one car at a time.” He was making a point -- they’ll put out a good, clean, shiny car. One at a time. And you know, the car is one of the biggest purchases a person will make. It’s one of the most important items you’ll have. And here’s an industry that makes that car look better and makes that person feel better. And it’s even true for the manufacturers, too. A lot of the manufacturers own carwashes, too, and they’ve been out there for years and for generation after generation. A lot of them, they really care. It’s a very unique, to me, group. It’s fun to be around them. It’s been pretty fulfilling to me over the last twenty or so years I’ve been dealing with them, and the friendships I’ve made and the help I’ve had people give me. PP: Well, I’ve had the opportunity to be around this Association for many, many years. I’ve lost track, but I think I came to my first expo back in ‘97. Back then, you had two expos each year, and I was one of the vendors that begged you not to get rid to the second expok because I was making money at both of ‘em. So we have a long history. One of the most difficult shows I remember was right after 9/11, there were four or five shows in a six week period, and I went to all of those. We had the Southeast in Birmingham that year, and it was -- I can’t remember, you might, but it was only a few days after 9/11. People were afraid to travel. They were afraid to fly. They were stuck to their TVs. And it was a tough show. MW: I remember that one well because we were {continued }

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WashIdeas thinking about cancelling and of course, you have hotel contracts and the convention center, and they weren’t going to allow us out. So we decided to go with it, and of course, the attendance was not the greatest in the world, but the people who showed up were the people that needed to talk to the vendors and purchase equipment and do different things. It was only a few days after -- or maybe just a week -- after 9/11. I still remember one incident there: We were in an auditorium doing our General Session, when all of a sudden the fire alarm went off, and I remember telling everybody we had to go outside and you could have heard a pin drop. We had three or four hundred people filing out of this auditorium, and it was absolutely silent. I still remember that because it was so surreal. But the history of the Southeast is pretty incredible. We’ve been around since 1957, and like you said, we used to do two trade shows. Now, they weren’t nearly as big as what you might see today, but we’d try to get around to all the different territories. Now we do that with the trade show and then the road show to spread it out so we can get to most of our members. PP: Do you know where next year’s annual meeting will be? MW: It’s gonna be in Savannah, and in October. We just secured all the dates and everything on that. And our roadshow will be down in South Florida in Fort Lauderdale area. I just got back from visiting the carwashes down there that we’re gonna have on the tour. It’s gonna be really fascinating because the carwashing down there is a little bit different -- when you have an express wash, you also have a full serve or flex serve set up. Because in the winter, when you have all the retired people coming down, they’re not used to just having the express end of it. It’s a pretty unique blend of the carwashes down there. We have a couple new ones and then a bunch of some older carwashes that have been completely re-done. It’s going to be very unique. And we’ll also tour Sonny’s factory down there and have our lunch at their facility. There are six carwashes that will be on the tour -- three of them are the South part of Fort Lauderdale and the other three are up by West Palms. It’ll break it up pretty good. We’ll have the roundtable discussions and a guest speaker, too. That will be January 31 and February 1. I’m really looking forward to that. It looks like it’ll be one of our best road shows. One of the washes you’ve probably heard about -- Rising Tide. PP: The car wash that hires young men and women on the autism spectrum? MW: Yes. You’ve probably seen ‘em on CNN. When we were there it was really fascinating. The employees are just so gung ho about their jobs and they do a great job. We had an award we had given them for their service in that regard and they couldn’t attend the meeting so we took it down and took some pictures there and all the kids wanted to take the plaque home. They’ve done an insane job down there of doing something that’s great.


• WINTER 2017 •

Talking to Paul Fazio, he got involved with that stuff, too. He was talking about how he was in this guy’s office and he saw on the guy’s wall his son’s first paycheck and then it said “Rising Tide Car Wash.” He asked the father about it and his father said I bought my son’s first paycheck to put up here. Every morning, he looks forward to going to work. He is so excited. He has meaning in his life. The father was just beaming about the car wash and how his son is a productive person in society. While we were there, I was talking to one kid -- he takes a bus, an hour and a half every day to get to work. It’s amazing. That end of our society, when they hit 22, they’re kind of off the grid. And these

I’ve been doing this for over 20-some years now, so you never know everything. I can guarantee you. We have some people that come to these meetings that they’ve probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know. And they’re willing to talk to you. As far as the organization goes, it’s great. I’ve been very fortunate to get into the business and be successful in it to some degree -- it all depends on how you look at success. people down there are like angels to those people because of what they’re doing for these kids. PP: And the kids! What a contrast to have a staff of people who are young and who are excited and can’t wait to get to work -- and you juxtapose that against all the other issues we’ve been having with millennials in the workforce. To have this going on is pretty amazing. MW: Oh, it’s fascinating. I got a kick out of how all the kids wanted to take that plaque home. I thought that was neat. So, we decided we’ll print a certificate for each kid to put their name on it and give them that so they can take it home. We just figured that would be something neat for them. PP: If you are outside of the Southeastern Carwash Association, I can vouch from my years of experience with them that this is a warm, friendly bunch

of people --and I know there are listeners from all over the U.S., but if you have an inkling you’d like to go to any of these meetings down here, Marc and the rest of the gang would welcome you with open arms. I know I’m right about that. MW: Oh, yeah. And you can go online and check out our website at or call me at our office and we’d be happy to get you any information and help you any way that we can. That’s basically what we do. We are pretty different than the other groups -- we’re in 11 states and it’s a little bit of a different configuration the way our membership is. Not to take away from any of the others -- every Association is out there doing great stuff -- but we’re a relationship group, and it gives you a different feel, a different atmosphere. Everybody’s welcome. Any time we can help someone, we do. We find a lot of people come from out of our territory to go to our meetings and our road shows and they’ll get that feeling -- that they can ask questions, that they can get help. I know every time I go to a road show, I learn something new. I’ve been doing this for over 20-some years now, so you never know everything. I can guarantee you. We have some people that come to these meetings that they’ve probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know. And they’re willing to talk to you. As far as the organization goes, it’s great. I’ve been very fortunate to get into the business and be successful in it to some degree -- it all depends on how you look at success. I’ve loved it and I regret that I didn’t get into it even sooner. PP: Now, you and I had a conversation the other day -- I was telling you that Morris Hoole had been on, and we hadn’t talked about carwashing much, but it’s a great interview. And you should check that out, because Morris was an engineer at NASA during the Gemini -- maybe he predated Mercury even -- and he had gone on and been part of the effort to get us to the moon. What an interesting conversation. And I was sharing that with Marc and he told me he grew up on the Space Coast. That’s right, Marc? MW: Oh, yeah. My dad was a retired Colonel. He was in charge of our Minuteman project -- our ballistic missiles. We moved there in 1960. I was around the first seven astronauts -- my dad knew them all. We used to go skiing with them. YOu see some of these documentaries where they’re down at the beach, and I kind of look for us down there once in awhile. The start of that space program was really something. We used to go down to Patrick Air Force Base to the Officer’s Club and my mother used to love to play bingo, so we’d go on a Wednesday to play bingo. It overlooked the ocean and all of a sudden you’d see one of the rockets go up and it’d blow up -- and people would kind of clap, it was like very expensive fireworks. People didn’t realize that during this time, these guys were sitting on a bomb when they were going up. My dad was out at the Cape when White and Grissom and those guys all died in that one situation, and I was telling Perry that the day that John Glenn went into space, I skipped school. And I remember {continued }



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• WINTER 2017 •


WashIdeas having to go over a creek and I skipped over a water moccasin and then here goes John Glenn going across the sky in front of me. So I grew up with all of that. And actually, got to through all the stuff down there with the shuttle and everything,and now you if you go down there you can’t go in or anything, but we actually toured the place when they were wiring it up. We got to see all the neat stuff. PP: You told me your dad had an unusual escort home one day? MW: Oh yeah. He was heading home, they had shot up some kind of missile or rocket -- and he started to look out his rearview mirror and it was starting to come his way and then it just veered off. It had just kind of gone crazy, but then it flew over and blew up in these palmetto bushes. By the time my dad got over there in front of the secured area, the police and the air police were on top of the little hut they had, shooting at the snakes and the bobcats and the different things that were coming out of the bushes. But it was like the wild, wild west with that stuff back then. Those guys -- talk about some guts and some crazy… I mean, they were test pilots. Fighter pilots. They were a different breed. But it’s a big part of history and it was interesting to be there when all of that was happening. PP: And you had another interaction with John Glenn, didn’t you? MW: Yeah, well, my dad and him knew each other pretty well and he was actually sponsoring me to go to the Air Force Academy. I ended up deciding not to go to the Air Force Academy which about near killed my dad at the time, being a Colonel in the Air Force. Those were great people and again, people just don’t realize what they were thinking when they would get on top of those rockets and those little capsules. I mean -- there wasn’t any coming out of that thing. You talk about faith. I met one of the engineers that was actually the engineer that did all the calculations for going around the moon, and he he’s the one that did all the calculations for it. And to sit there and think about how when they were doing all of this, it was the equivalent of one of those commodore 64 computers. PP: Oh yes. If you go to Huntsville or any of the NASA places where they have the rooms set up with the old equipment -- it’s amazing. If you go to Huntsville and you go the mission control there, it’s hard to believe. MW: I mean, it’s crazy. And to think we were able to do some of that stuff. It’s just beyond comprehension when you look back at it. To see these guys put their lives right there to do that stuff is amazing. PP: I remember being at Huntsville -- they have a Saturn-5 on it’s side. And to stand at one of the Saturn-5 -- I mean, the thing is huge, huuuuuuuuge -- and you look down that line at how long that rocket is -- it’s absolutely phenomenal to see how gargantuan it is. And this was the 60s! MW: What’s funny about what you just said there,


• WINTER 2017 •

is I can remember taking our tour through all the areas down there on the Cape, and we were walking down this one aisle and I remember there was a rail there and then there was this wall and it was kind of curved. I didn’t think much of it, and then the guy stopped and said “Here on the right is one of the sections of Saturn-5.” And I had been thinking this wa sa wall! It was just one piece of it. And you know the crawler and all that -- we were walking in the tread of it and all that stuff. You can’t do that any more. But back then we were able to go out and do all that. It was kind of a history that if you haven’t’ had a chance to get down there, you need to get to the Cape and look at the stuff there. And to Houston or Huntsville to see this stuff. It’s quite fascinating. And it’s like how you brought up Morris -- I had no idea he did any

This November I’ll be 67 years old! Where has it gone? But the future is bright. This industry is really hopping right now. But you need to look at the past to see where the future is going. It is a pendulum. YOu can look at stuff from 30 years ago, and it’s the same stuff that’s pertinent and “new” now.

of that stuff. PP: That’s what I mean about these dialogues and these conversations. You and I have known each other for about 18 years -- and I’ve known Morris almost as long. I think I was next to him in a booth just as I was starting in the industry and I had no idea about this with Morris or with you. What a great thing it is. Not everybody has my fascination with it, I’m sure, but I was 10 years old when the moon landing happened -- so I grew up with this. I’m the guy with the G.I. Joe astronaut capsule. The little G.I. Joe astronaut capsule came with a record of Alan Shephard’s 15 minute conversation with the tower. So this is all really interesting childhood stuff for me. MW: You know, one of the things -- and you and I have talked about this before -- is history, and what’s happened in this industry, or finding out what people have done -- is so important. You find some of these younger guys who maybe don’t care about these old timers or this or that, but they’re the pioneers. THey’re the ones that developed this business. You talk to some of these manufacturers, like one I was talking to recently -- I said, “How’d you get into this business?” And it was funny. They

had been in a completely different business and then because of the economic turn, they added this one section to it and then all of a sudden, 20 years later, they’re one of the leaders in this business. Then you take someone like Chuck Howard -- his father started his business and they developed it to a certain level, and then Chuck has taken it to a complete other level, and now the next generation is already there, ready to keep building. It’s the same thing with Frank Hutchins. Look at his family. Look at Benny Alford. Look at Lamar Beck. It’s fascinating to see where we’ve come from and what we’ve done. That stuff is important. Some of the younger people sort of blow those people ot the side, but it’s ridiculous. This is important. PP: Yes, and here’s what I predict: One of these days those younger people are going to wake up and they’re going to discover they’re one of us. (Laughter.) MW: Yes, and it happens quicker than they think. (Laughter.) It happened to me -- I can’t believe I’m this old. This November I’ll be 67 years old! Where has it gone? But the future is bright. This industry is really hopping right now. But you need to look at the past to see where the future is going. It is a pendulum. YOu can look at stuff from 30 years ago, and it’s the same stuff that’s pertinent and “new” now. PP: Yes -- and one quick example of that: Express carwashing. I was talking to Vic Odermat and he was telling me about mini tunnels that they had in the early 60s. And it kind of went away, and now they’re back, and they’re better. MW: It’s funny. I get a kick out of some of this equipment -- they have all these newfangled ways to read cars and what not, but the old tape switch works great. There’s some stuff you shouldn’t change. PP: But you’ll admit: Conveyors are better than chains on the wall. MW: (Laughter.) Yes. For sure. Things evolve and it might not be the answer, but you gotta try all those things. You’ve got to be a part of the development. PP: Marc, it’s been a pleasure. I’m glad we got this chance. MW: Absolutely. This industry is hopping now. It’s growing. It’s getting better than ever. Everybody come on down to our meetings. Become a member. You’ve got to participate. If you don’t participate, we can’t make changes and we can’t get better. You’ve got to join your organizations wherever you are. Join the regional. It’s important. There’s a lot ot offer. The little bit of money that you pay to join -the fellowship, the knowledge you can get coming to a road show or a round table or a discussion -- or even the bars afterwards. That’s worth more dollars than you could ever imagine. Let alone all the other programs that are offered. That’s something you need to be a part of. I urge everybody in every part of the country to join their regional association and be active. It’s very important.

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• WINTER 2017 •



Happenings In & Around Self Serve Carwashing

In this issue’s edition of “Industry Dirt,” SSCWN mourns the passing of an industry leader; SONNY’S announces a recapitalization; Bob Schrum hands off the Flagstop baton, Splash Car Wash fights a P.R. battle in the front pages, and the U.S. auto market give carwashers a reason to celebrate ... and a few reasons to worry. Edward Dahm, co-founder of Mike’s Carwash, died Dec. 22 at the age of 86, the company announced. “With great sadness and on behalf of my father, Joe Dahm, brother, Bill Dahm, and cousin, Jerry Dahm, I want to recognize the tragic death of our uncle, brother, father and co-founder of Mike’s Carwash, Ed Dahm. He was a great leader not only for our business but the entire automatic carwash industry and was an integral part of our success,” Mike Dahm, president of Mike’s Carwash, said in a statement. “Ed’s great personality brought out the best in our associates and customers. He was a very positive person and brought our business his fun energy that everyone enjoyed.” Multiple reports from Fort Wayne, Ind. indicate that Ed Dahm’s SUV crossed the centerline on U.S. 33 into the path of an oncoming charter bus. While initial reports indicated that Dahm died naturally, the crash killed Dahm’s dog and left 17 others injured. Ed Dahm and his brother, Joe, launched their business in 1950 with the opening of Indiana’s first automated carwash called Mike’s Minit Man. In 1993, the duo passed their business down to their sons, Jerry and Mike, who continued to follow Ed’s motto to treat everyone the way you would like to be treated as they moved the company’s headquarters to Cincinnati. Ed served as president of the International Carwash Association and was entered into the Carwash Hall of Fame. He was also Notre Dame Man of the Year, Xavier University Man of the Year and Father Thomas A. Brandon Knights of Columbus Council #4048 Man of the Year. Ed earned the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from Junior Achievement in 1999, was inducted into the Greater Fort Wayne Business Hall of Fame in 2001 and received the Donald Wolf Award in 2014. Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in “promising companies in the lower end of the middle market,” has announced the recapitalization of SONNY’S Enterprises, Inc., the worldwide leader in conveyorized car wash systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Established in 1949, SONNY’S is the largest global manufacturer of conveyorized car wash systems.


• WINTER 2017 •

From left, Jerry Dahm, Bill Dahm, Joe Dahm, Ed Dahm and Mike Dahm celebrate the … more Courtesy Mike’s Carwash SONNY’S designs and manufactures car wash systems in its 135,000 sq. ft. facility in Tamarac, Florida and will continue to be managed by the same family that has run the business since its inception. “SONNY’S is a leading car care platform with strong development and design capabilities, a record of innovation, and unparalleled customer relationships,” said Scott Perry, a partner at Sentinel. “SONNY’S offers an impressive breadth of products and has built longstanding sales relationships and distribution channels throughout North America. We are very excited about this investment and the opportunity to partner with SONNY’S outstanding management team. We see a bright future for SONNY’S, which has an exciting opportunity to grow organically and through acquisitions.” “SONNY’S will continue to execute on the vision and plan that my father set for the company… to be the premier provider of car care products to car wash professionals,” said CEO Paul Fazio. “Sentinel was very different from any other firm that contacted me in the past. From the first conversation, it was clear that a partnership with Sentinel will allow SONNY’S to accelerate its rapid growth record and to expand the number of world class products and services to our clients.”

Flagstop Car Wash’s eight (8) locations in central Virginia have been acquired by RVA Wash Holdings Inc as of January 1, 2017. Bob Schrum founded Flagstop Car Wash in 1981 as a car wash, gas station and convenience store. In the 90’s Flagstop started its growth streak under the management of Jamie Nester. With Schrum’s land development background and Nester’s operations and technical drive, Flagstop has grown to 8 locations including 5 express exterior washes, 3 full service washes, 1 quick lube and 20 bays of self service. “We are thankful to Bob Schrum for resisting the temptation to sell to one of the large acquisition groups. When I started working for Flagstop in 1994 as a car wash attendant, Bob had always talked to me about his desire to leave the company to the folks that help make him successful. I am excited to see his dream realized and start the next phase of Flagstop’s growth” says Jamie Nester, Flagstop’s new President and CEO. Schrum states “As I enter into my retirement years I couldn’t be happier to leave my company {continued }


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INDUSTRY DIRT in the very capable hands of Jamie Nester, Craig Marable, Derek Haynes and Lauren Denny. These great leaders have over 50 years of combined service with Flagstop and are ready to take Flagstop Car Wash into the future.” Craig Marable, Flagstop’s Chief Operating Officer, stated that Flagstop is planning 4-6 new locations throughout central Virginia in the next five years through new construction or acquisition. Cleaning Systems, Inc. (CSI) of De Pere, Wisconsin has hired Danny McRorie to the position of Lustra® Regional Sales Manager covering the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States. McRorie comes to CSI with 14 years of experience in the car wash industry, according to a press release announcing the appointment. “I am excited to be joining the CSI family and being part of the Lustra team that is committed to delivering the highest quality products and innovative technology in the industry,” McRorie said in the release. “I look forward to the opportunity to serve our customers across the Mid-Atlantic region.” Dave Krause, President and CEO of CSI was quoted as saying, “We are excited to have Danny join an already strong Eastern US Team in the Lustra Division. We are confident that with his industry and chemical knowledge he will be able to make an immediate impact for our customers.” U.S. automakers sold a record 17.55 million cars in 2016 -- although as The New York Times pointed out, that record came at a “steep cost, as companies piled on higher sales incentives to lure consumers to their showrooms” in an effort to surpass 2015’s sales number of 17.47 million. The newspaper said this number may represent the “high-water mark” for the industry, which bounced back from a recession in 2008 that saw annual sales fall below 11 million and had the American public bailing out General Motors and Chrysler. The article said pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles remain the American vehicles of choice, while passenger cars are slow sellers. Analysts expect the trend toward larger vehicles to continue as long as gas prices remain low. The average ticket price remains above $35,000. “One of the problems with predicting 2017 is it is the year of unknowns,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with the car-shopping site Autotrader. “We are hearing a lot of different things about border tariffs and regulatory policies, but we don’t know what the whole picture looks like.” Overall, the industry forecasts sales exceeding 17 million vehicles in the United States in the coming year, although how automakers manage shifts in demand will affect their profitability. While the industry’s health appears closely tied to the continued demand for larger vehicles, some automakers have placed big bets on electric cars, which remain a tiny niche in the market. In one of the most closely watched introductions


• WINTER 2017 •

Speaking of flash ashy y technology: The website has identified 33 cars of various makes and models that get confused and can seize up in an automated car wash because they are equipped with so-called autonomous technology such as self-braking systems, automatic parking brakes, pedestrian warnings and alerts that signal a vehicle is in the next lane. According to BestRide, even low-cost 2017 cars will be equipped with some autonomous safety features. Among the cars BestRide says could have problems going in for a clean-up are the Acura TLX, BMW 7 Series, Dodge Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 200 and 300, two Ram trucks, five Lexus models, Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz models, six Subarus, six Toyotas, Tesla Model S, and a half-dozen Volvos. It offers a handy list of instructions for correcting a stall in the car wash – and probably preventing a lot of honking behind you. Flipping through the owner’s manual may become the norm if you believe industry observers who predict self-driving cars will come to rule the roads within the not-too-distant future. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Alexandria, Va., auto-braking systems can cut rear-end crashes by 40 percent and reduce their severity by 30 percent (in terms of related bodily injury claims). Automakers and regulators agreed to make forward-collision prevention systems standard in most light-duty cars and trucks by the 2022 model year. And as Forbes reports: Car wash operators are reporting instances where some vehicles’ auto-braking systems suddenly lock up in mid-wash. Some models, ironically in the act of what their sensors and processors think is preventing a crash, actually jump the car wash rails and inadvertently cause a wreck with the vehicle directly rearward. What’s more, car wash operators report similar problems with some vehicles’ electronic parking brake systems, which mainly occur at facilities in which the driver is required to leave the transmission in neutral, switch off the engine and exit the car. Some cars will go ahead and engage the emergency brake automatically when a car is switched off, while others require a motorist to shift the transmission into park before disengaging the engine. It should be noted that auto-braking and electronic emergency braking systems have no effect if the car wash uses a conveyor belt system to move a car though the tunnel, rather than the conventional array of chains and rollers in which a car is physically pushed through the tunnel. The situation is further complicated by the fact that not all semi-autonomous systems are created equal. “There’s no standardization in how autonomous and automatic braking systems work, how they’re disabled, or even if they can be disabled,” says Eric Wulf CEO of the International Car Wash Association. For example, Honda’s forward auto-braking system is designed to disengage automatically when the vehicle is moving slower than 10 mph, which presents no problem to even the quickest car washes. Others require drivers to manually disable the system, which, depending on the make and model, can be a simple as holding down a button or as complicated as navigating the menus in a vehicle’s operating system. Some systems remain active even when the car is turned off. This information is usually detailed — however deeply buried — in a new-vehicle’s owner’s manual, but that assumes a given motorist actually ever takes the time to read it. Fortunately, a complete list of affected models and official workarounds compiled in conjunction with the ICWA can be found at

in the segment, G.M. said it sold 579 Chevrolet Bolts, a new battery-powered sedan, in December, its first month of sales. By contrast, the company sold more than 54,000 Silverado pickups, its most popular product. All the more reason to start looking for that magic “car wash mode” button on the dash: Honda recently filed a patent to help address an ongoing problem when getting their vehicles cleaned

at automatic car washes. Many car owners may not know that windshield wipers run the risk of getting gravely damaged -- because of the automatic wiper system -- when going through automatic car washes due to the scrubbers. According to The NewsWheel, Honda is developing a new kind of technology so that automatic windshield wiper systems can detect when it is under an automatic car wash. Although it might not seem like such a big deal, the patent by Honda is actually a great thing for car owners, saving them a lot of money in {continued }

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• WINTER 2017 •

INDUSTRY DIRT case the wiper arms get dislocated from the car. The new patent works in such a way that it leverages on sensors so that the car would be able to detect that it is being cleaned -- as opposed to being subject to a thunderstorm, where the windshield wipers are obviously necessary. The sensors would be able to detect noise and vibrations from the equipment used in an automatic car wash, sending signals to halt the automatic wiper system from initiating. In addition, the new patent from Honda also takes other factors into consideration, such as the usage of the brake or acceleration pedals, along with the car’s speed, to figure out if the automatic wiper system should be overriden. There is still no word on when the new technology from Honda will be released to the public. It doesn’t seem like these are something car owners would definitely be watching out for, albeit it would definitely make the lives of car owners much more convenient. Not only that, but this has already sparked a new idea that either Honda or other car manufacturers can evolve further. Autoblog cites that car owners would probably be more impressed if they curate a “car wash mode” that could “automatically fold in the mirrors and deactivate the parking sensors” of cars as well. The online publication also noted that such technology could be used to avert any other damages that result from accidents. For the second year in a row, the State of Oklahoma is facing a major budget shortfall -- and this time carwashers might be taking the hit. There’s an $868 million hole that needs to be filled in next year’s budget and Governor Mary Fallin is proposing some possible tax increases that could help close that gap -- including one on car wash services. According to KTUL, Fallin is reintroducing a proposal for a cigarette tax, as well as on services like car washes and tattoos, which are both currently exempt from sales taxes. It’s had a bit of a lukewarm reaction in Green Country. “We’re not cutting our way out of this problem,” said Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger at a press conference on Tuesday. “We have agencies that have experienced cuts as much at 40 percent over a period of time between 2009 and current day. We can’t cut our way out of this problem and I’ll leave it at that,” said Doerflinger. “Cigarettes sounds good but leave the other two alone. That could put some people out of business along the way, including people who run very low-profit margins on their business,” said Richard Nelson of Collinsville. At Rocket Lube & Wash on Peoria, owner Tim Rollyson says a tax on his business could discourage his customers. “What’s it gonna be, another ten percent to add a couple of dollars to a car wash? I mean, everyone is struggling right now as it is and we already pay a lot of taxes as it is. You’re gonna put more of a

burden on people?” said Rollyson. Tim Richards told us taxes should be raised, but not on consumers. Raise taxes on the fracking companies, which he says should generate considerably more revenue than a tax on car washes and tattoos. Oklahoma considered raising the cigarette tax

by a $1.50 per pack earlier this year to help shore up the health care system, but that failed in a 5940 vote in the House. Governor Fallin has said modernizing Oklahoma’s tax code to reflect a more service based economy will hopefully ease the cuts to state agencies next year.

Splash Car Wash, the Greenwich, CT-based carwash chain with 18 locations headed up by former ICA president Mark Curtis, was popping in and out of the headlines throughout this Winter...a whack-a-mole game that we’re sure they’ll be relieved to end as soon as possible. In the most alarming headline, a Bridgeport resident is accusing Splash Norwalk of forcing him and other employees to work several hours every day without pay. In a class action lawsuit filed in December, plaintiff Javier Llantin claims the Greenwich-based company forces employees to clock out during slow times but requires them to stay on site without pay. Llantin alleges that his manager fired him after working at Splash Norwalk for six years because he complained about the practices, according to a separate individual retaliation complaint. According to an article by the Associated Press, Llantin seeks the wages he and other employees should have earned under the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act, according to the class action lawsuit. In his individual retaliation complaint, Llantin is seeking to recoup double the amount of his lost wages and benefits. Splash did not return a request for comment. Just a week before that story made headlines, a Stamford, CT woman reported a $4,300 pair of diamond earrings missing from her car after it went through Splash Car Wash in Darien. The woman waited nearly two weeks before making a report with police -- she had initially contacted management at the carwash, who searched her vehicle and the vacuum but could not find the earrings. Surveillance video has been reviewed, according to a local article, but it does not show anything of note. Police are still following up and speaking with Splash employees. However, police did say it appears the earrings were taken and not vacuumed up. Finally, in a bit of good news, Splash kicked off the holiday season by filling a “fire truck” with 100 turkeys and delivered them to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s coat and food drive at the Bridgeport Harbor Yard Arena. The Splash Crew, led by owners Mark Curtis and Dan Petrelle, arrived midday and were greeted by a number of volunteers working at the Arena during their six-day “Great Thanksgiving Project” where 3,000 families are provided complete dinners for the holidays. Additionally, thousands of winter coats were provided to families coming to the Arena. “I love this day”’ stated Petrelle. “We’ve been doing it for about five years now and every year it feels great to be able to help people who might not have a meal this Thanksgiving. Bridgeport Rescue Mission is a fantastic organization and does so much for so many who are in need.”

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EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it ... If pairing wine and beer with a carwash is too ambitious for your taste, how about red sauce? As a thank you to its monthly fast pass customers at Royal Car Wash, the Daniele family gave away 15,000 jars of its Mario Via Abruzzi red sauce (retail price $6.99) to customers at all three of the company’s locations. Daniele Family Cos., which owns the car washes in Brighton, Henrietta and Greece, NY, also owns Southpoint Marina and the former Mario’s restaurant in Brighton.

Its suds and more suds for customers at Trademark Carwash in Plano, TX, which offers complimentary wine and beer alongside soda and coffee for patrons waiting for their cars to come through the tunnel for a full service wash (packages start at $27). Tom Miller, president of The Car Wash Cos., which operates brands such as Trademark and Tommy Terrific’s Car Wash, calls the experience “a luxury car wash that isn’t outrageously expensive.” According to an article in The Dallas Observer: Trademark boasts some serious bragging rights in terms of technology. The two 90-by-15-foot conveyor belts that slowly move cars along an assembly line process for detail work are the first of their kind in the state. It’s also a bit more cultured than the typical car wash, something that is apparent from the designer trash cans and the commissioned art pieces on the walls from Dallas’ Cameron Smith, which all perfectly complement the sleek, modern aesthetic of the car wash’s interior. While it’s nice to know your vehicle is being treated well, it’s also nice to treat yourself well. So, while the evidence of your embarrassingly laissez-faire approach to vehicular hygiene is being lovingly erased by the pros, why don’t you grab yourself a drink? “The idea to serve alcohol began by wanting to have a true wine bar inside the car wash,” Miller says. In what will likely come as a surprise to no one, these plans were thwarted by the Gatekeepers of No-Fun Land over at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. “What that boiled down to was


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we could legally sell beer and wine but not serve it on premise — doesn’t make for much of a wine bar if you can’t drink the wine at the bar,” Miller says. “To keep our dream alive, despite the restrictions, we opted to give it away for free.” The beer selection has got all the macro-lover’s bases covered with Bud Light, Miller Lite, Dos Equis and Red Stripe, and while it’s not craft-beer heaven, the list also features some local selections from Lakewood Brewing and Rahr & Sons. As far as the wine, Miller says, “We feature different bottles based on what we are digging at the moment. ... Fortunately, my daughter is in the wine business. She has introduced me to new upand-comers in the industry that might not have been on my radar, especially wines emerging on the market that are a good value before the price rises due to name recognition. It’s been a really cool side project for us to work on together.” At the end of the day what they are trying to do at Trademark Carwash, in Miller’s words, is to “create an environment that is totally unexpected for a car wash.” I already knew Trademark provided beer and wine before I came, so I can’t say I didn’t expect that. Also, I read some reviews on Yelp before I made my way out there so I can’t say I didn’t expect quality wash either, but I really didn’t expect the hospitality. Tossing a cooler of beer into a dingy car wash lobby would have been easy enough. Instead, Trademark Carwash makes their customers feel cared for in a way more reminiscent of a cafe, and that’s pretty interesting. And the free booze doesn’t certainly doesn’t hurt.

And if free beer, wine or red sauce isn’t your thing, the city of Chicago recently gifted some residents with free bottled water simply for living near a carwash which may have contaminated a waterline. According to a story by NBC 5, the city became concerned after rusty, discolored water started to flow in a North Side neighborhood. “As soon as we have the results indicating that the water is safe to drink, the do not drink the water order will be lifted,” the city said in a statement. Residents in the area told NBC 5 they were having water troubles for months. Mike and Amy Streff have been concerned about their 3-year-old’s health after they say their water began sputtering and coming out discolored. “The bathtub, I was running the stub and it was coming out brown,” Mike told NBC 5. “Same thing with the laundry downstairs.” Across the street from the Streffs, Freda Johnson worried her pipes rattle so hard they’ll soon crack. “It seems like an explosion,” she said. “Everybody feels like their stuff is just going to go up into space or explode.” Residents like Johnson and the Streffs say they’ve been trying to get the city to fix the problems for months—with no luck. A day after NBC 5 reached out to the Department of Water Management, the city sent crews to {continued }

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the neighborhood and says it resolved the issue— but found the car wash problem. Flyers distributed to residents Thursday warned them to wash dishes, brush their teeth or even consume the water coming from their taps. “My grandkids … I babysit them and I’ve been giving them lemonade, macaroni and cheese,” said resident Luz Ojega. “Everything I do with the water.” The car wash has been shut down and the “do not drink” order will remain in effect until tests are completed, which could take up to 48 hours or longer, the city said. “It makes me worried,” Ojega said. “We’ve been calling and they know we have a problem—I don’t know why it took them so long.” Oh, deer! What to do when Bambi shows up at the carwash? Share it on Facebook, of course! Bechtelsville Car Wash in Berks County, Pennsylvania, did just that after two deer were spotted frolicking through the carwash on the business’s security cameras. In the videos, you can see the deer run into the car wash. Both launch themselves at a plastic barrier. One breaks through; the other is thrown backwards and darts out another opening. You can see for yourself at: BechtelsvilleCarWash/videos It’s possible the deer weren’t looking for a bath, but were simply trying to get out of the woods. It is hunting season, after all.

The neighbors weren’t having he thought the carwash might. According to an article in The Austin American Statesman, John Borek was just trying to have a little fun when he placed a few animatronic dinosaurs outside his home one Halloween. “The neighborhood association threatened to sue me,” he said in the story, so he decided an emigration might be in the cards for the prehistoric robots. “I wanted the car wash to be fun and different from others. The solution was obvious, and that’s how Jurassic Car Wash was born.” Today, customers who stop by the dino-themed car wash will find five animatronic dinosaurs, in-


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cluding a Pterodactyl on the roof and a Tyrannosaurus Rex that squirts water at the entrance to the automatic car wash tunnel. The facility, which has four bays and is open 24 hours, also has two dinosaurs equipped with seats out front so customers can snap the obligatory selfie. Borek has expanded the business to include a six-cycle pet wash that has, among other features, a pet-treat dispenser and a built-in radio and speakers that allows visitors to select and play their own music. Customers, he says, love the Austin-centric business. “Some laugh, and others just smile,” Borek said. “It’s a welcome difference from my past business (a body shop). Nobody is happy when their car is wrecked.

Reminding motorists it’s time to get new tires can be a battle, but in Europe, Nokian Tyres has come up with a clever way to give customers a nudge. The company has teamed up with tire and service chain Vianor to create SnapSkan — a tire monitoring service that measures tread depth quickly and efficiently using 3D scanning technology. The genius is that the drive-over scanners are designed to be installed along drivers’ everyday routes — such as parking lots, car washes (as seen in the photo) and service centers — and do not require separate equipment to be installed on the vehicle.

The automated drive-over scanner reads the tires while a camera identifies the vehicle based on its registration number. When the scan is complete, the driver can opt to receive a personal tire report by text message or email — free of charge — regardless of which manufacturer’s tires are fitted to the car. The technical solution was developed in collaboration with Finnish technology partners Futurice and Affecto. The entire service is enabled by unique 3D scanning technology patented by British Sigmavision. Ville Nikkola, head of Vianor’s retail business area, said too many motorists were unaware of the condition of their tires and the threshold for replacing tires seemed to be high. “We want to use this new technology to raise drivers’ awareness of the condition of their tires by making it as easy to access as possible,” he said. Nokian’s plan with SnapSkan is to promote road safety to millions of people around the world in a quick, hassle-free way. Nokian president and chief executive Ari Lehtoranta said it was time for the tire industry to change. “Until now, the tire sector has lagged clearly behind other industries in terms of digitalization,” he said. “It is high time to harness technology to serve motorists with regard to their tires. The sector needs a bold forerunner.” The first SnapSkan scanning point will be installed in an underground parking garage in Helsinki, Finland. In the near future, scanning points will be rolled out elsewhere in Finland. The service will also be introduced in several other countries in the coming years.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Be careful with your heaters. According to an article in The Eagle: Fire officials say a small heater connected to a propane tank designed to keep pipes from freezing is likely what started a blaze at Wolf Creek Lube and Express Wash in south College Station, Texas. Bill and Sandra Trainor have owned the business at Rock Prairie Road for more than 20 years, in addition to another location on Harvey Road. According to their daughter, Chelsea Denning, harsh winter temperatures are something they are familiar with when it comes to running the business. “We regularly replace the heaters,” Denning said. “Obviously we have water and fluids in the [carwash’s] pipes, and when it freezes outside, we have to keep the building above a freezing temperature.” The Trainors have been using special propane heaters that are specially designed for car washes for years. The heaters are designed to direct heat toward pipes and feature stabilization safeguards to prevent them from tipping. On Sunday, the shop was closed but one of the managers was regularly coming in and out to monitor the heater. “That manager wakes up every two hours to go check on the tunnel, making sure the pipes are all

EXTRA! EXTRA! right and everything is functioning OK,” Denning said. The manager had performed a check on the heater and pipes less than 30 minutes before the fire erupted, Denning said. College Station Fire Marshal Steve Smith said firefighters are attempting to review security footage of the fire from the building’s cameras, looking to see if perhaps the heater had been placed in a dangerous area or if a strong gust of wind had somehow knocked the heater over. The business contains more than 12 hydraulic hoses that help operate the wash, which contributed to the quick flare up of the fire, officials said. “Remember that hydraulic fluid is flammable,” Smith said. “The store’s owner and I think that there was about four to six gallons of hydraulic fluid coming out after the hoses had burst... There were so many combustibles in there.” Because the car wash floor has grates to control the flow of liquids, firefighters had difficulty battling the blaze. Equipment such as plastic brushes used to clean cars also proved to be flammable. However, by using a special foam, firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before the building’s structure and other rooms were severely damaged. “The best part about that place is the big masonry blocks that are on both sides of the structure,” Smith said. “It’s almost like a tunnel or a chimney.”

The structure appears to be sound for the most part, Smith said, although the Trainors’ insurance company will make the final determination. The two businesses that share the building with Wolf Creek Lube, a dry cleaners and Loxs hair salon, suffered some smoke and heat damage, but were not in contact with flames. Hallmark Cleaners reopened Monday because the actual cleaning of garments is done at a separate location, Denning said. Clothes that were in the building at the time of the fire will have to be relaundered. Smith said he is proud of his firefighters, as well as the firefighters from Bryan who assisted. “The roof is still on that place, and it’s made of wood.” he said. “They didn’t let it burn very long... our firefighters hit it hard and fast. Otherwise the roof would have caved in.” Smith said he didn’t blame the Trainors and their staff for the fire, saying the investigation points toward it being an accident. “It’s all about how you place the heater,” he said. “I’m not blaming the guy. If accidents were criminal, we’d all be in jail.” Denning and Smith both said the oil and lube portion of the business may be able to reopen some time next week. “It’s stressful, but my father is just really glad


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that no one was there to get hurt,” Denning said. “He keeps saying that equipment and things are replaceable, but human lives aren’t.” Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Beacon Car Wash in Pacific, Missouri, is under new ownership and recently installed a dog wash that is attracting a higher than average number of users. According to an article in The Beacon, the car wash also has a free downloadable mobile app that allows customers to order car washes and pay with their mobile phone. New owner Bill Hoaglin gave business leaders a tour of the facility when the Pacific Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting to officially open the renovated car wash. Hoaglin noted that he has refitted the car wash with all new equipment, which includes automatic washes, self-serve washes, vacuums and the dog wash. Customers can download the app and complete a quick signup process to begin. New accounts get $10 free credit when they sign up. The cost to wash and dry a pet in the totally enclosed pet wash station is $10. Hoaglin told visitors that the national average for a pet wash is 3.5 washes a day and Beacon has been averaging around nine washes. For more information, visit {continued }

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EXTRA! EXTRA! Talk about turning a negative situation into a positive one! All-American Car Wash in Wichita Falls, Texas, presented Lake Wichita Revitalization Project committee members with a check for $20,000 dollars after realizing the drought in their area had placed an emphasis on water stewardship. The donation is part of a matching grant for another $29,000 dollars that will go toward the fisheries and fish habitat at the Lake. “We understood through the drought that becoming a steward of water was very important, so we reduced our water usage tremendously. We used 100 percent biodegradable chemicals in our system,” explained Jim Cadotte, All-American Car Wash General Manager. “What we wanted to do was show our support and what a better way than matching with the Lake Wichita Project to give back -- not only to the community -- but to our environment.” Four times a year, the All-American Car Wash hosted Friends of Lake Wichita Days where 50 percent of their proceeds from that day went toward the project.

He couldn’t get a permit approved to renovate his carwash -- so he ran for city council.

Homeowners in Bellevue, Nebraska, are tired of waiting for a vacant car wash to renovate and reopen, according to KETV. The report said: Neighbors in the community say they’ve watched the car wash go from bad to worse over the last 10 years. The location has collected litter and the crime that occurs on the property makes it nearly unusable. “It’s kind of the one eyesore here in the neighborhood,” neighbor Dustin Volpi said. “There’s empty beer cans and things in the back of it. It’s just sad to see this happen in our neighborhood,” neighbor Lisa Swanson said. The location has had nine code violations since 2012, according to city records. The most recent

came in November, due to litter. “I’ve seen (a) whole couch is piled up by the dumpsters. I’ve seen people use it as a dumping ground from time to time,” Volpi said. It turns out, Bellevue Councilman-elect Pat Shannon owns the car wash. He said he bought the property in 2015 and submitted plans for renovation but keeps getting his permits denied by the city. “Seven (permits denied) I believe so far,” Shannon said. Instead of submitting his plans an eighth time, he ran for City Council. “I could not get certain people on the council to get out of my way. They wanted to block it just because I was the owner of it,” Shannon said. He said he wants neighbors to know he’ll renovate as fast as the city lets him. “It would be nice to have a car wash in the neighborhood right now. Right now, I have to drive out to Fort Crook if I want to wash my truck,” Volpi said. “I want to see him clean it up first. I don’t see that happening. There’s a body of evidence that says this person may not be a good representative for the city of Bellevue,” Swanson said. Shannon believes there are other property owners whose projects are also caught up in red tape. He hopes to get those approved and to make Bellevue a more inviting place for redevelopment.

We want your stories! Do you have a funny story from the bay? Maybe an inspiring tale from the wash? Try something new that worked well? is lieve what th “You won’t be y wash…” m Darwin did at I ever made “The best decision was…” s es sin bu for my to…” “On rainy days, I like


“We were struggling with low volumes when we decided to…”

“The funniest thing a customer ever did at my wash…”

Some n conversartsio starte :

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Reach out to Editor Kate Carr to share your story with our readers.


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Presenting some of the best discussions of the self serve industry’s headaches and solutions from ACF. You can find more discussions like these on

Improving low-pressure products delivery to bay; air running to FB and TF when FB is in use Improving products delivery to bay HCW: Don’t know why it’s taking me that long to address this issue, but the low pressure products (tire cleaner, presoak, and spotfree) takes 45 seconds or more to reach the furthest bay. Currently our setup is: all diluted products sits above pump stand and all have solenoids pre-pump. Wax and soap tied to pump on inlet side, tire cleaner, spotfree, presoak tied to pump on outlet side with check valves. Spotfree and presoak deliver products via booster pumps and tire cleaner uses a flojet air pump. I am thinking to relocate all three low pressure to above each bay. Is it just a matter of moving low pressure product blocks and check valves to above bays and extend feed lines? If so, can I use poly tubing? Tdlconceptsllc: I have a 10 bay SS and I honestly am not a fan by any means of having all the solenoids above each bay so much harder to troubleshoot and they get abused by weather,sun/ UV, chemicals. I personally can’t wait to get all my LO pressure setups in a nice warm clean equipment room where I can see all the solenoids together and troubleshoot them in 10 seconds instead of going to each bay with a 10-ft ladder looking for leaks bad solenoids, check valves and having leaky tire cleaner and presoak running down your hands and arms to your armpits a true enjoyment should I say.. I would maybe try a different approach: Bigger delivery pump, a higher volume flow jet and chemical hose size 1/4 VS 3/8 can make a difference also. Tell us how many bays you have and what’s the GPM and psi of your flojet and other delivery pump see if we can guide you in a different way. Yeah, you might shave off 10-15 seconds by having the solenoids directly above in each bay, but it’s so not worth it in my humble opinion. I can’t wait for the luxury one day at my site to have everything in the equipment room. I would build me a low pressure system for each product and mount in equipment room and run the poly tubing for each product to each bay get a air logics LO pressure or national pride or something similar or make one yourself with kip valves and blocks. hcw: Pics


The original poster is concerned that it takes 45 seconds or more for low pressure products (tire cleaner, presoak, spotfree) to reach the furthest bay at his carwash. Should he relocate the three low pressure services to above the bays and extend feed lines? Our posters lay out pros and cons to various set-ups before OP continues with moving his low pressure blocks (w/check valves)

over the bays with ¼ poly tubing - leaving solenoids in the equipment room. Delivery time improves from 45+ seconds to bay - to 15 seconds after the move.

MEP001: How I like to do it:

Hcw: Only wanting to relocate low pressure blocks (w/check valves) to over bays. Solenoids will remain where they’re at. Cantbreak80: From each equipment room solenoid, plumb 1/4” PE tubing to above each bay’s ceiling drop. Add a 3/8” Tee or Cross (Brass or Stainless) to each bay’s high pressure hose…again, above the ceiling drop. Thread your 1/4” x 3/8” fittings to the new “injection fitting”…along with high pressure check valves. Now, each bay’s low pressure product must only displace the liquid from the ceiling to the trigger gun…Resulting in much faster delivery to the customer. Caveat…This also requires a heated plumbing chase to prevent the low pressure lines from freezing. So, the answers to your questions are: Yes and Yes.

HCW: From left to right, air, presoak, tire cleaner (or vice versa), hp, spotfree?If so, one check valve is sufficient for, tc, ps? And solenoids will keep them from back flowing to each other? MEP001: Presoak is on far left, air on center of cross, other 1/4” line is tire cleaner. I prefer one check valve for all three, and it will work as long as none of the pressures are wildly different. So{continued } • WINTER 2017 •



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Improving products delivery to bay lenoids do not stop backflow, so if you’re running Procons you’ll need something to prevent backflow. The setup pictured has flojets always under pressure, so no backflow problems, and I prefer a Speedaire regulator on the air line so if the check valve fails the high pressure just bleeds off through the regulator and causes no harm. Earl Weiss: Me, same as MEP so the lines are full of product to above the bay. The delay should just be for the solution to go from above the bay, displace whatever is in the hose and reach the tip. Not sure if this would happen quicker if you ran 3/8 poly or 1/4 poly to the manifold above the bay. My guess is the 3/8 could deliver more product to displace what is in the hose, but the nozzle is likely of a size that the 1/4 poly will deliver the max amount the nozzle will discharge anyway.

MEP001: Since you don’t use needle valves your theory would work that way - I like to crank pump pressure up and restrict air and fluid (except for presoak) so 1/4” OD line is plenty for a run up to 120’. HCW: Just making sure before I place the order with KR, 1/4” outside diameter correct? Part num-

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{continued }

ber HF0540 And PTN100N from Kleen Rite. 2Biz: I went through this exercise a few years back...You might research pressure loss using 1/4 PE tubing v/s using 3/8”. There are a few online calculators to help determine the difference. There is about 6 times the pressure loss using 1/4” v/s 3/8” for a given length run. From memory there is about 30 psi drop in 100 ft with 1/4” and 5 psi drop in the same length using 3/8”....I originally had 1/4” PE going to my bays....Switching it all

Randy: My low pressure systems are tied into high pressure line out above the boom, like they should be. It doesn’t take but about 15 - 20 seconds for the product to come out the gun. I use a Procon pump on the low pressure presoak, tire cleaner, and engine cleaner systems. The only Flo-jet pump I have is on the Foam brush system. I run the Procon pump at around 140-150psi with no air injection.

out to 3/8” made a huge difference. Something else to consider, you’re trying to push LP through a very small nozzle...Like a 2506....It takes a lot of pressure to get any performance through this size tip....What I did (at Cantbreak80’s suggestion!) is take all LP (TF and PS) and run it through a foam gun...They typically use a larger nozzle like a 4040 so you get a lot better performance with lower pressure. Plus PS will foam if you run it through a foam generator... Customers loved it when I made the change. You could do the same thing except put PS and TC on the same gun. It also allows you to eliminate CV’s associated with PS and TC...Just more to consider depending on how far you want to go with this! 2biz: Here’s the foam generators I made up that goes in the trough above each bay. The one on the left is TF and PS with Washer Fluid and Air blowdown...The one on the right is FB with Washer Fluid and Air blowdown...If you are curious, there is SS media in the small tubing for TF and PS... The tubing on the right also has SS scrubbie in the long tube...Both versions makes good foam... HCW: I am planning on enclosing all lines in a 5” pvc pipe with a heat source and wrapped in insulation. I.B. Washincars: How do you plan to service them? HCW: Pipes will be cut in half and a sleeve will go over at the end of the two halfs. Not sure if it’ll work, but worth a try.


2Biz: More options for you! I did my outside truck bay using this method...The cap I made just snaps into place. In the attic, I cut a 1.5”-2” wide strip down the entire length of the 5” pipe. Right through the connections. Makes for easy install of any tubing or replacing anything in the trough. To insulate, I cut 8’ long strips of 4” insulation and stuff it in the pipe to seal it up. No freeze ups since making the change. When I bought the wash, the pipe was solid with only openings above each bay! No insulation...PO complained of freezing up every winter...For the life of me I don’t know why the PO’s put up with that! Pulling new lines down the entire length of pipe must have been exhausting, too!

MEP001: Also if you happen to get really obsessed with fast delivery to the gun, you could do what I did which is to use a programmable relay to blow the line from boom to tip with air. I get tire cleaner and presoak to the tip in about four seconds. HCW: Tried to wire PS and TC to air solenoid block but when one product’s wire is energized it’s back feeding the other. Do I need a relay? This is the block I am using for air MEP001: You can either use a relay for each solenoid or if you have a rotary switch you can run a wire from the two adjacent outputs on the second stack to the common solenoid. HCW: What kind of relay do I need? 2Biz: Instead of a relay, why don’t you use separate air solenoids for PS and TC and then tee the outputs together so you have a single air hose to the bay? Any of the mini Siemens, Idec, Omron, etc. relays will work...Such as the Idec RH1b.... MEP001: You’ll need a SPDT relay with a 24VAC coil. This is how you’d wire it, except replace “rinse” with one function and “wax” with the other, with the “To rinse solenoid” output going to the common air solenoid. I’ve done it both ways, one air solenoid for both functions and a separate one for each. If you use a common air solenoid you’ll need an accurate needle valve. HCW: Finally got it done. Thanks for all inputs, furthest by tire cleaner took 48 seconds before the new set up and now it’s 15 seconds. Hooking up air solenoid this weekend. HAPPY NEW YEAR! {continued }

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Air running to FB and TF when FB in use slash007: I noticed lately that when someone is using the FB in a bay, air is leaking and causing bubbles and foam to run out of the FB and TF to all the other bays. I can’t figure out what would cause something like that, but assume it’s simple. Any suggestions?

The Original Poster noticed air is leaking when his foam brush is in use - causing bubbles and foam to run out of the FB and TF in all other bays. Several culprits are considered before a climb into the attic reveals bad check valves for the low pressure weep - but even after they’re replaced, the problem continues! What’s causing so many failures?

DiamondWash: Sounds like the plunger assemblies in the solenoid bank either need to be cleaned or replaced, possible weak solenoids themselves. Slash007: That was my conclusion, so I checked a few of the plungers and they seemed fine. Didn’t replace any solenoids. I can’t think of any other cause, but seems odd for all solenoids to get weak for TF and FB for all bays. Cantbreak80: Check the Commons on the solenoid coils. An open Common might be the culprit.

trol panel? These two checks should eliminate the electrical side of the equation. slash007: I checked the voltages on the solenoids and they were zero if not activated. Also took off the airlines from the back and nothing was coming out unless that bay was activated. There is white foam coming out of both the brushes and TF guns, so it is not just air that is passing through. Same for all bays. I replaced my weep solenoid for the Brush and TF as it was having issues, but that wasn’t it. What else can I check? Here is a pic.

MEP001: It sounds like you’ve got a freeze protection check valve stuck open. Is it happening only when a certain bay is used? It won’t be a problem with the individual solenoids for the bays since there’s likely not a common air solenoid to all the other air solenoids. 2Biz: To test CB80’s and Meps suggestion, take the air outputs off the air solenoid manifolds to see which way air is flowing...Bingo... Slash007: It is a lot worse in one bay, but I see bubbles coming out of TF and FB in all bays. That happens no matter which bay the FB is being used in. A weep solenoid check valve sounds like a possible culprit, but if it’s happening in all bays, how is the air crossing over to the weep lines? Do you have weep on your fb and tf? It might be a completely separate system from your normal hp weep. If so just bypass it.... I have had this problem before. But the odds of more than one bay is odd.... unless it is old equipment that has been sitting? Or no chemical filter in the dilution tank maybe? Slash007: The weep for my FB and TF is separate from the HP guns weep. 2Biz: Have you checked coil voltage on all air solenoids before and after activating FB in a single bay? Per CB80’s suggestion: If the Air Solenoid Commons are daisy chained, have you checked each connection for continuity back to the con-


for the TF and FB, and I still have the same problem! When the brush is being used, foam+air is coming out of the check valve. I made sure that it was installed the correct direction, and it is the fluid controls check valve that I have used many times with no issues. Also when the weep is on, water is running out of the chemical line check valve. I was shocked to start with that all of the original check valves would have failed, but figured they were old. What are the odds I received 20 brand new check valves that don’t work? I don’t believe that the check valves are bad (old or new ones) so something else has to be the issue. Problem is, I have no idea what the heck else it could be. A check valve is a simple device and shouldn’t allow product or air to pass through the wrong way. Any suggestions/tips? I gave up for now until I can think of something else to try. Worst part is that the water is going into my air lines, so my regulators are going bad right and left because of all the water. MEP001: Can you draw a diagram of how your system works and post it? It could be a check valve for the low pressure weep. Slash007: Based on my setup, I’ve thought about it and that has to be it. I’m sure that when FB is activated in the problem bay, it’s running past the weep cv and into the weep manifold for all the FB and TF weep valves, then coming out of each one. I will check that out and confirm. Thanks!

Slash007: Sure. Just in the trough, or all the way? In the trough, air and chemical tee in together and share a check valve. They then attach to another t that has the weep attached to it via a check valve. Here is a picture:

Slash007: To update, I finally made it into the attic. I only checked 2 bays, but out of 8 check valves, 6 were bad. All four weep check valves (TF and FB) and 2 out of the 4 that went to the chemical lines. What could cause that many failures? I am just going to buy 20 and replace them all. Slash007: I just spent time replacing all 20 check valves that went to the product and week

The green lines are air. The blue lines are product and the yellow lines are weep. If I remove the {continued }


• WINTER 2017 • 1-888-439-5740

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Air running to FB and TF when FB in use yellow weep line and use brush, nothing should come out of the check valve, but it does. Same the other way around. If the product and air lines are removed and the weep is on, nothing should come out of the product/air check valve, but it does. This picture is of the old check valves. The gold has now been replaced with the stainless fluid control check valves. 2Biz: Could it be possible the street elbow’s and push to connect fittings you’re using are threaded too far into the CV and holding the valve open? Have you taken the CV’s out and checked them with air pressure for flow directing and sealing? Are you absolutely sure you have them installed correctly and in the right direction? Could it be possible the arrow is stamped in the wrong direction...I test all CV’s before installing them for flow direction and sealing.... Just some possibilities and things that come to mind...How on earth could 20 CV’s be bad?!?!? Sure sounds like something is holding them open so they flow both directions. Bench testing should show you what the culprit is...

Robert2181: Did it only start to happen when the weeps started to weep?

{continued } how the nipple could be screwed in too far. Here is a picture of how it looks with the new cv.

Slash007: No, I noticed it a couple of months ago. All bays would have white foam coming out from the TF and FB when FB was used in any bay. Found out that the brush was running into the weep manifold, and since FB and TF weep are on the same manifold, that’s why they both had the issue. I went into the attic and took the weep line off of the check valve for TF and FB for all 5 bays. Product was coming out of the weep check valve. Seemed craze that all would fail, but figured they were old and maybe they had failed a while back and I bought all new. Put them in today, same issue. To be fair, I only checked 4 of the 20 I put in, but they all had the issue. 2biz: I should have bench tested them, but never had before and never had any issues. I actually bought 24 cv’s and used 2 at my other wash and they worked fine. Arrow is pointing the right direction and I looked inside and it’s stamped the right way. With the weep line off, the entrance to the cv has nothing to put pressure and open it. I don’t see

Cantbreak80: The cv issue is a mystery to me? Sounds like your LP air is set up like mine. With an {continued }

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Air running to FB and TF when FB in use air regulator for each LP service located between the solenoid and bay. I originally took all cv’s out of the attic, but since I share single air lines, air pressure would backfeed to other air regulators causing them to leak air. So I had to put a cv on each regulator. That’s all getting fixed shortly....I’m installing an all new LP system where a single regulator sets pressure for all 4 bays for a single service. That way the solenoid is between the regulator and bay. The solenoid will stop any backflow which should allow me to get rid of all remaining LP cv’s. I know it would be a lot of work for you, but maybe you could try something similar. 2Biz: Even if you did something similar, you still may have to put a cv on the weep, but that could be done in the ER. The only cv’s I have in my trough are for sfr. No way around that! Another benefit, I don’t weep any LP service! MEP001: Did you get the Buna-N or Viton o-ring check valves? I’ve found the Teflon seal ones need high pressure to form the seal to the valve and make a positive seal. I can often blow some air through the wrong way when they’re new.

Slash007: I bought the teflon version after reading comments here on the forum. Are you saying they need high pressure to form the seal initially then they work fine? MEP001: The first time I tried them I had some low pressure backing up through them for a few days before they finally made a 100% seal. I’ll only use the Teflon ones for high-pressure, mainly because I’ve seen high flow blow the o-ring off the other ones. The Teflon one won’t come off that easily. The o-ring will make a positive seal when they’re new and isn’t going to come off with low pressure flow. Maybe try a rebuild kit with an o-ring in a couple of bays. I never ran into the problem mep1 stated.... but obviously his statement must be true. I must have purchased viton cv’s before? What about removing all the valves then for your weep adding a relay system that opens the air for the tf and brush in all the bays? I used these cheap pvc cv to add weep for my brush in 2009. 1-2 have broken since then I believe?

{continued } eck-valve.aspx I also added the block in the equipment room. Slash007: I have been out of town for a few days, but was able to get KR to agree to accept the check valves. They will send them to Fluid Controls for evaluation, but will credit me even if they are repaired or replaced. In the meantime, I need to buy replacement check valves so that I can remove the bad ones. I bought the FC valves based on all of the feedback from here, but now need to go in a different direction. Considering that I am using these for weep and chemical on only FB and TF, what is my best bet? I climbed into the attic earlier today and put on 2 old used cheap check valves and they worked fine. So the issue is the FC Teflon valves for sure.

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Learn More, Earn More Kleen-Rite Corporation hosts another successful expo and carwash tour in Columbia, PA. By: Chelsea Dimmig, staff writer for Kleen Rite Corp. Another biannual show in the books, and Kleen-Rite Corporation fell nothing short of excellent in their Car Wash Experience, Learn More, Earn More Expo on November 15, 2016 and November 16, 2016. With over 200 attendees and 70 vendors, Columbia, PA was filled with eager car wash enthusiasts. This year, Kleen-Rite decided to add a bonus day, The Car Wash Experience (November 15, 2016) into the mix which involved four keynote speakers,

and a bus tour to three locations in the Lancaster County area. Car Wash operators from all over the nation were able to see and share business ideas, over catered lunch, amongst themselves in order to better their establishments. Bob Rossini from the Connecticut Carwash Association was thrilled to be there and looks forward to Kleen-Rite’s next show. “I fairly enjoyed speaking in front of the car wash consumers on day one. It was nice to hear

and see what other car wash owners are going through and how others could relate or be aware of certain situations happening to them,” Rossini said. “This was my first expo and the whole event was well planned out and greatly structured. This show has been nothing but a big thank you to all customers and buyers.” Round and round the coach buses went as the Kleen-Rite Car Wash toured continued stopping {continued }


• WINTER 2017 •

Replace or upgrade your ACW. Installs inside an existing ACW cabinet! Accepts Cash, Coins and Credit Cards The most economical 24hr Automatic Entry System! CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’ Features CryptoPay Consolidation reducing Merchant Fees Compatible with CryptoPay In-Bay credit card system*

PayStation Features: l 4 - Selection Large backlit LCD display and voice prompts. l Accepts cash, coins and credit cards securely with CryptoPay! l Connect this Paystation CryptoPay to your existing CryptoPay system or add CryptoPay to your In-bay boxes for one complete credit card solution*. (*CryptoPay Coordinator is required for each car wash location) l Program up to 25 discount codes. Add an “optional” 2nd hopper to vend a bonus token that can be redeemed for a free vacuum or a discount on your next car wash purchase.

CryptoPay Security: Prevents credit card data from being ‘in the clear’ and at risk by encrypting the credit card data at the moment, and point, of the credit card swipe. CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’. CryptoPay Consolidation: Reduces merchant and credit cards fees which are essential for small ticket purchases. Here’s an example of CryptoPay Consolidation: Imagine that a customer visits your carwash. He swipes his credit card at the PayStation and purchases an $8.00 wash. Ten minutes later swipes his card again at the vacuum, and is charged $1.00. CryptoPay combines these two charges into one $9.00 charge that is submitted to the credit card company, which results in only one merchant fee for the purchase. CryptoPay GoGreen Receipt Service: Allows your customers to get their receipts from credit card purchases made at your car wash. Receipts are available online 24/7, two hours after last usage. It provides end-to-end encryption delivering receipts safely online. American Changer Corp.

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Carwash Boom Assembly MODEL 203 Zierco’s Original Swivel and Boom Assembly, with New Rebuildable Cartridge

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• WINTER 2017 •

Carwash Boom Assemblies

MODEL 204 and 206 FEATURES • Twin compression springs are tension-adjustable for a variety of hose and gun weights • Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft. diameter • Temperatures to 280˚ max., pressure to 2000 psi • Longer hose life as spring prevents kinks • Ruggedly built, satisfaction guaranteed • Optional stainless steel components

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Kleen-Rite Show at SunDance Car Wash &; Laundry located on 2150 Columbia Ave, Lancaster PA 17557. Car wash owner, Ed Hollinger exemplified his knowledge and wisdom of the car wash industry, showing off his updated self-serve bays and automatic bays. The bus tour resumed on and ended with Kleen-Rite’s very own carwash. “I always enjoy a carwash tour and this was no exception,” Dave DuGoff, Mid-Atlantic CW Association said. “It was especially interesting to see the older wash that had been totally renovated (SunDance Car Wash) and looked brand new. That was amazing.” As day one came to an end, Kleen-Rite commenced at Bully’s Restaurant & Pub, thanking all of the manufacturers for their support and effort for the next day’s events. “We find that going to Bully’s is a wonderful opportunity to spend some social time with our vendors as they become lifelong friends throughout time we work together,” Vice President Keith Lutz said. “It’s just a time to be more personable and not be 100% in a work environment.” On day two, Learn More, Earn More Car Wash Experience (November 16, 2016) manufactures like Airlogic and Erie Brush were able to show off their new and upcoming products and talk with customers about what they can do to add more to their car wash. The Kleen-Rite Car Wash trade show is especially perfect for new manufacturers such as Wheel-eez, as this was their first show and best opportunity to sell their product. “We had a very enjoyable and productive day at our first Kleen-Rite Expo,” Bob Kuczik, Wheel-eez Sales & Marketing director said. “As a new vendor, Wheel-eez had a chance to meet hundreds of friendly carwash owners who were genuinely interested in our non-corrosive wheel cleaning solutions.” Throughout the day there were several seminars held such as LED Lights, Cryptopay, and SelfServe Q & A. The Kleen-Rite, Learn More, Earn More Expo also offered bus tours to the new warehouse in Mount Joy, PA. With chatty banter filling the expo facility, the smell of Little Tree Air Fresheners in the air and the presence of the infamous Bat Mobile, KleenRite Corporation had the profound privilege of housing all things car wash. Door prizes, sponsored by manufactures became the selling point of the day as visitors waited eagerly for their names to be hand-picked. Gifts as small as couch pouches to as big as an ATV sponsored by Simoniz. “The Kleen-Rite trade show was a terrific way to meet new people and spend time with old friends,” DuGoff said. “I always learn something from being around other operators and Mike and Keith were such warm and generous hosts.” Trade shows are the time and place to educate operators on different platforms of car wash knowledge. It’s the place to collaborate with other members of the car wash industry and creating new relationships along the way. Until next time!


• WINTER 2017 •



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INNOVATIONS From Yellow-Off: Instant Headlight Lens Restoration Headlight Cleaner Wipes and Sprays Clean headlights can save a life. If you use sandpaper, rubbing compound, toothpaste or any other abrasives on your headlight you may permanently damage the protective UV coating on the headlight lens. No Rubbing, No Scrubbing, No kidding. Just wipe on, that’s it! GUARANTEED TO WORK Pass your state inspection the first time.


From USA Technologies: ePort Interactive touchscreen payment portal Entice and Engage Consumers with ePort Interactive’s vibrant touchscreen and powerful interactive media platform. These features are new, efficient ways to boost your unattended business. A recent USAT study showed that installing ePort Interactive with targeted advertising yielded striking results: • 22% increase in total revenue • 12% increase in cashless average ticket This is over and above pre-study cashless sales. The simple, clean touchscreen device that serves as a portal to ePort® Interactive is a secure, all-inone cardreader and telemetry system. It supports traditional magnetic stripe credit and debit cards and NFC (Mobile Wallet) payments along with an ability to display nutritional information, issue remote refunds, serve up coupons & promotions and much more. Better yet, its vibrant, full color touch screen allows for the display of national or custom marketing and promotional campaigns. The hardware is supported by the full ePort Connect suite of services and integrates seamlessly to most Vending Management Systems through a simple DEX interface. The minimalistic design of the device and superior security features of both the device and the ePort Interactive platform make it the undisputed best-in-class solution for unattended operators looking for a payment solution that offers a platform with an array of high tech consumer engagement and content delivery options. Contact your USAT Sales representative to discuss the unique needs of your business and to find the right solution for you.

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• WINTER 2017 •

High demand for clean vehicles and little room available for a car wash have left companies with few options. The ability to drive consistent wash results for high customer satisfaction, to meet EPA compliance and budget requirements are the primary goals. The ICW is a simple system. Select WASH or RINSE. 100% of the wash water is collected and recycled to be used for washing. Rinsing with optional RO or DI water provides spot free rinsing. Here’s what is all new: • 1. A single WASH/RINSE switch for total operation • 2. All collected wastewater is filtered and recycled to be used for washing • 3. The Hydroblaster and microfiber brush use the recycled water for washing. • 4. Trigger pull auto start is standard for the Hydroblaster pressure washer • 5. Switch to rinse, and the Hydroblaster rinses with fresh water, or choose the option for RO or DI spot free water. Recycled water is used through a Hydroblaster pressure washer or microfiber brush, to remove stubborn dirt and bugs, just like a self serve. When finished, a quick flip of the switch changes the wand to rinse (with fresh or spot free water). Contact the experts at Hydro Engineering, Inc to get more information.








From iClean: Modern dog wash The all-new iClean Dog Wash Futura leaves you with a first impression that is impossible to forget. The Futura has the same big plateau as the XL, which allows the dog to turn more easily and improves the washing experience. The design of the Futura goes far beyond its electric exterior. In so many ways, it is really all connected. Engineering and designing an iClean Dog Wash is not simply a matter of physics or architecture; it is a systematic compilation of disparate disciplines and ideas, forged into something iconic and sophisticated. The Futura is a symbol of everything an iClean Dog Wash stands for and a reminder that iClean is blazing a new trail. The Futura is a dream machine any way you look at it. Includes: • Customizable multicolor LED panel with remote control • Easy access height plateau • Dog Wash spray gun with 5 patterns + hairdryer • New welded robust chain connection • Magnetic lock • Sandblasted detail in corner of washtub • Technical cabinet with 11-inch touchscreen, illuminated icons + payment terminal Dimensions: • Length 101.6 (258,1cm) • Height 86.6 (220 cm) • Depth 27.5 (70 cm) • Roof can be temporarily removed for inside placement Dimensions Washtub: • Length 66.9 (170 cm) • Depth 25.6 (65 cm) • Weight: 968 Pounds (440 Kg)

From D&S: IQ Self Wash Now there’s a smarter self serve car wash solution! The Smarter, Cleaner, Greener design of the D&S IQ Self Wash System is the most efficient and ecological solution for your self serve car wash. With this revolutionary system, you can offer precise cleaning in your bays, increase customer satisfaction and value, and maximize space in your equipment room or location with its smaller footprint! The IQ Self Wash is an extremely versatile 1 through 6 bay self service pumping system (5 bay unit shown at left), providing all car wash functions from the same small, compact pumping system. VFDs and direct driven motors control the pump speed used for each wash function, giving you complete control of water pressure and chemical consumption. Operating pressures are adjustable between 0 and 1500 psi. Chemicals are directly injected into the system so the need for storage and mixing tanks is eliminated.


• WINTER 2017 •

Standard Wash Features • Pre-soak • Tire clean • Engine clean • High pressure soap • Foam brush • High pressure rinse • High pressure wax • Spot-free rinse Optional Wash Features • Triple color foam • Tire scrub • Bug remover

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Beef Up Your Locks Advice from the self serve trenches to help you thwart thieves and sleep soundly at night. By: Pat Hall Most of us car wash operators know that once the locks are removed from our bill changers and automatic pay stations there is a “much too common” tool to finish opening the door to these machines. A little over a year ago, I learned just how vulnerable these machines are. One night, I had 14 locks drilled out at just one location. I found three ACW pay station doors sitting open, along with several SS bays doors that had been opened as well. I lost two hoppers and their stock of golden dollars, along with the bill acceptor cash from all of those machines. Numerous operators within a 40-mile radius suffered a similar fate that same week.

TAKING ACTION Since no one had been apprehended for this crime, I was very concerned it could happen again at any time. I felt the need to make my machines different, so the perpetrator might pass me by, opting for an easier target. I first called Ra-Lock. I wanted a kit to add one of those “hockey puck” style locks to cover the plug lock that these ACWs. These style locks are available from several manufacturers and vendors (American Lock, Lock America, Medeco, etc.); I called RA-Lock. Their lock barrel/sleeve accepts the original plug lock and also has an added tab to accept the hockey puck lock. I ordered a kit for all seven automatic washes I own.

I began to look for another way to make my machines even more resistant to break-ins. One place I felt was a weak link was the bolts that hold the door closed. Once the plug lock is breached, pretty much anyone that has any tools at all will have the wrench that fits that bolt. I felt that if I could change this bolt to a less commonly available head, this would help thwart the thief’s effort. I went on an online search for that same bolt size with a different size socket head. I eventually found something at one lone supplier on the other side of the country. From a different supplier, I found a long T-handle that would fit the bolt and work well, with a small modification. This size wrench is available on the open market, but it is larger than is included in most sets that I saw. I feel it won’t be in most tool kits. In the event that a thief breaches both locks, he will be in for a surprise, since the wrench he was expecting to work, won’t. I feel he will be more likely to move on, rather than trying random tools (most likely, in the dark) that he may have with him. Another thing I did when I removed the lock barrel/sleeve from the door was to ground out the flat sides that hold the barrel from spinning (used a Dremel tool and a bit from Lowe’s.) Just to clarify, I ground the DOOR and not the barrel.

I wouldn’t receive them for a few days and was going to be very apprehensive in the meantime.

second nut came very close to the cabinet when closing the door, so I ground them off. They are not needed anyway, since tightening is done with a hammer and punch. I’m thinking this will make it very difficult to twist off the hockey puck lock with a large pipe wrench or whatever. Also, I feel that if they get past the puck lock, or you never installed one, the barrel will spin when attempting to drill it out. I did this modification to most of my machines. One of them had a switch on the top lock, so I did not grind the flats from that one.

THE RESULTS I did all of these things over a year ago. It has worked great and there have been no unexpected consequences. They haven’t been put to a real-world test, since I haven’t had any more theft attempts. The bolt/wrench change was cheap. The door modification cost nothing but some time. I think the Ra-lock kit was well worth its investment. I feel that big lock that is easily visible before even getting out of the car, may keep a potential thief from even stopping, and heading down the road to an easier mark…I hope it’s not you.

Before grinding, and after grinding. Ra-Lock barrel with tab, and picture of hockey puck lock installed.

Jam nuts on lock barrel.

I then installed the barrels back in the door, tightening the nut just enough so that the barrel wouldn’t spin easily. I then stacked a second nut and jammed it to the first one. The points on the

Editor’s Note: Pat Hall is the owner of a self serve carwash in Bardstown, KY. If you would like more information on this tactic, please contact Pat Hall directly at ibwashincars@ or 502-827-4555.

• WINTER 2017 •


BRAND ME UP, By: Kate Carr


Build your brand, design a logo, get the word-of-mouth advertising you need to


Self serve car washes have long lived (and died) by the “If you build it, they will come” mindset. “Location, location, location” was the answer to nearly every problem. And, in many ways, this has not only been true of our segment of the carwash industry -- but emblematic of it. Self serve washes have always done decently in those rural markets where there’s limited competition and a reliable traffic count on the main road. The investment cost is low; the steady income is guaranteed. But what if you could do more? What if you could attract customers to your wash simply by being a “brand?” I know, I know. It seems so...trendy. So...hipstery.


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So...modern. According to Wikipedia, the idea of a brand has some pretty innocuous roots. “Initially, livestock branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron.” You know: Cowboys. Right to Property. The Wild West. Eventually, the term was extended to mean “a strategic personality for a product or company, so that ‘brand’ now suggests the values and promises that a consumer may perceive and buy into.” Think your customers won’t buy into it? Think your rural market is protected from the Star-

bucks-sipping, Target-addicted, iPhone-blinded masses? Think brand doesn’t apply to a small business with only one location? Think again. Brands influence loyalty. • 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your current customers. This statistic applies to rural *and* urban markets. • 58% of people buy from the stores and brands whose loyalty programs they belong to at least once a month. • Brands influence spending habits. {continued }





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High volume car washes that can deliver clean, shiny cars need to be a “WORK HORSE”, and that is what the TURBO WASH is often called. In fact, there are more units of the TURBO WASH basic design that are 10, 20 even 30 years old that are still out there washing cars. What other manufacturer can make that statement?

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• WINTER 2017 •


Brand Me Up, Scotty THE 10 MOST MEMORABLE BRAND LOGOS The swoosh, the apple and the big M rule the world of logos, according to a recent report from Siegel + Gale. The report was based on data from a survey of 3,000 people in the United States and United Kingdom. Respondents were shown the logos of 100 top global brands, then asked to name and describe the ones they found most memorable. Nike is the most memorable of the logos examined (16% of respondents cited it), followed by Apple (15.6%), McDonald’s (11.1%), and Coca-Cola (9.7%): The study further concluded that consumers are more likely to ascribe positive attributes such as trust, respect, and reliability to logos they are familiar with. In contrast, consumers are more likely to ascribe negative attributes such as pretentiousness, tackiness, and being boring to logos that are unfamilar to them.

• 38 percent of moms are more likely to buy from brands their friends “like” on Facebook). • Brand perception starts right away. • 59 percent of consumers say their decision of when a brand becomes a favorite of theirs occurs right after their first purchase . • Brands encourage your customers to go out and get you more customers. • Brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive three times as much WOM as less emotionally-connected brands. (Sources:, So, understanding the importance of a brand (and with the caveat that creating one is a fairly inexpensive and harmless process), let’s move on to the big stuff:

SET BRANDS TO STUN: Defining Your Brand

The first step in defining your brand is deciding if you already have one, if you need to improve upon it, or if you need to create it. You can start with some softball questions and work along the path of navel-gazing into your business from there. • What is your company’s mission statement? • What are the benefits and features of your carwash? • What do your customers love most about your car wash? (Don’t try to put this in your own words -- research and survey your customers to get it in *their* words) • What words do your customers use to describe your car wash? • What are the needs and habits of your customers? What are their wants? • How do you stand out from other carwashes? What do you do better than your competition? • How do you plan to improve upon your car-


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wash in the future? • If you could describe your carwash in three words, what would they be? • Depending on the answers to these questions, you might decide your business is any or all of the following: • Friendly • High-quality • Luxury • Budget-friendly • Speedy • Clean • Safe/secure • Convenient • Modern Focus on one or two of these qualities (or whatever else you might come up with) to focus your brand identity and direct your future growth. Remember: Your brand will go everywhere. It will permeate all areas of your business; from how you answer the phone and sign-off on emails -to how your employees dress and the signage at your location. Not only will your brand go everywhere, it will have a lot to say. “Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market,” according to Dan Einzig of Mystery, a brand development company based in the U.K. “When building your brand, think of it as a person,” Einzig advises. “Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course for people it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.” Finally, you should be prepared to stay true to your brand. If your mission is to be the friendliest and most cost-efficient wash, then you -- and your employees -- had better be prepared to deliver on {continued }


HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COLOR SCHEME FOR YOUR CARWASH SOME IDEAS FROM PRIDE PAINT AND TILE IN EDMONTON, CANADA: Look around your industrial area for inspiration. Also, check with your landlord since you might be limited to a certain color or shade. If you aren’t limited in this way, decide whether you want your building to either blend in or stand out. This way you know whether to choose a paint color that matches or one that is completely different from all of the others.

USE COMMON COLORS Consider using the colors in the company’s logo. This seems like an obvious choice for inspiration, however, it gets overlooked a lot. Choose one or more of the colors in your company logo for both the exterior and interior of the building. It will publicize your company’s brand a slightly subtle way, as well as match your sign. If you colors are ones that stand out, this will also make it easier for people to find your building.

COLOR EVOKES FEELING Use colors like blue (which is soothing) or green (which evokes a feeling of safety) or yellow (which is energizing) to change the atmosphere in your office. When all else fails, turn to interior colors that have meaning and that evoke a specific feeling in the people looking at them. You might even spur your workforce into being more productive with the right color.

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Brand Me Up, Scotty it during every single customer interaction.

Make It So!

Creating Your Brand Now that you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to put it in motion. Let’s start with the most obvious: Your carwash building. From the minute a customer pulls onto the lot, how will your brand be communicated? What color scheme will emphasize the safety and security of your wash? Or do you need a building which highlights all of your modern equipment and amenities? If your emphasizing a price point, is it clearly demonstrated in your signage or do customers have to squint to find the deals? If you’re after a luxury feel, what about your building or landscaping will illustrate this characteristic to customers? This can be a rather painstaking and arduous process, but consider taking photographs of your carwash from many different vantage points that you can evaluate at home and with customers. Have your mission statement/brand at the forefront of your mind as you go over all of the nooks and crannies. And remember: small businesses are at a distinct advantage in this regard. National and global brands are spending lots of money these days to evoke that “independent” feel that will come naturally to you. Don’t try to emulate the big chains; emphasize what’s unique about you. “Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how they feel about themselves,” Einzig reminds us. Once you’ve evaluated how your carwash’s physical attributes match up with your brand, it’s time to consider all the small details like: • Uniforms, • Letterhead, • Email and answering messages, • Your logo; • Your website and social media profiles; • Marketing material; • Advertising; • Employee attitudes/education.


Marketing to the different generations Now that you’ve created your brand, it’s time to get out there and spread the message. There are four distinct American customer demographics -and with a little work, you can reach every single one of them. For this we rely on the advice of Carolyn Crum-


• WINTER 2017 •


Brand Me Up, Scotty

DESIGNING YOUR LOGO • Your logo is an essential part of your brand -- basically, it’s your visual identity. Its reach extends far beyond the borders of your physical location and should be synonymous with your brand and business. Use it on everything and everywhere. • It should be “simple to understand, memorable, enduring, versatile and appropriate,” according to

• Where to start? Well, begin with defining your brand and brainstorming all of the attributes you want to symbolize in your logo. Create a “mind map” with the first word you want customers to think of when thinking about your brand and branching out into 5-6 other adjectives to describe your company.

• Gather inspiration from outside your industry and from within. Consider some of the most iconic American brands (Starbucks, Nike, Amazon) as well as the most well-done car wash ones. (We’ve highlighted quite an impressive bunch throughout this article.)

DO’S & DON’TS • Don’t forget to evaluate your color scheme. Statistics show color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. (Source: Your logo doesn’t have to match your physical location’s colors, but it helps. You’ll want this scheme to spread throughout your business -- uniforms, advertising, even your landscaping colors. Will you choose calming colors? Bold ones? Patriotic hues? Whatever your mission statement, let your colors reflect it.

• Do choose a “simple, readable, and classy font.” As CreativeMarket. com reminds us, “Gimmicky fonts are overtly fancy and excessively weak;” particularly those that are “on trend” today and “passe” tomorrow. Remember: Your logo needs to be readable at 45 mph and it needs to appeal to drivers age 16-92.

• Don’t rule out hiring a professional. Considering how integral your logo is to your carwash’s brand, reputation and marketing efforts, it might be worth spending a few bucks on a professional. This person will have access to all the best fonts and ready graphics, as well as the expertise and know-how to help you communicate your best ideas in typeface and design shape.

• Do make the design versatile. Your brand needs to work in a myriad of situations. It should work in color and in black and white. It should work whether it’s large or small. It should be able to be manipulated in marketing to reflect holidays and charity causes. It should be appealing if its printed on a hat or a bumper sticker -- or simply put on signage in your carwash bay. Consider the space around the logo, too. Your ”exclusion zone” should protect the integrity of the logo, especially in instances of it being adapted to marketing materials.

• Do make your logo active. This doesn’t mean creating a gif, it means implying motion and energy in your logo. For instance, a hose can be spraying water, or a car could be zooming by. Consider the direction of the action -- you want that car to be zooming into your carwash, not away from it,. The idea of activity in a logo is a good way to inspire energy in the customer.

• Don’t forget the tagline. Your logo should have room for a short tagline, although it won’t be used every time, it should have the ability to blend well with your logo while still protecting the borders of your “exclusion zone.”

mey (reprinted with permission below), a business and technology strategist and owner of VirTasktic (, an agency dedicated to providing high-level virtual services to small businesses and entrepreneurs.


(Born between 1981 & 1995) According to the 2013 report ‘Across the Ages: Generational Impact on Spending,” there are more than 80 million millennials. This young generation that has grown up on technology will soon surpass baby boomers as the largest age group. Millennials are more educated and have more choices than any other generation before them. They are unpredictable, not always brand loyal, and are just as comfortable buying online as they are buying off the rack. If you are targeting this group – • Have a strong online presence, including blogs and social media • Adopt the latest technology trends to market to this generation • Ensure that the promotional e-mailers are compatible for mobile viewing • Benefit from their impulsiveness by offering additional items for purchase at the checkout point.

Generation X

(Born between 1965 & 1980) The Gen X demographic covers some 65 million Americans. This generation is an important target market because these individuals are at the peak of their earning and spending years. While they weren’t born in the internet era, majority use smart phones and regularly access social media. This generation does not want to just follow trends/ styles and is not easily convinced. When marketing to this demographic – • Avoid hard core sales tactics • Convince them of your business claims with research and customer testimonials • Combine traditional marketing efforts with digital promotional tools such as Facebook, email marketing, and online adverts.

Baby Boomers

(Born between 1946 & 1964) Comprising 76 million consumers, this demographic represents individuals who focused on hard work, individualism, and social activism. They value trust, loyalty, and sense of community. Many baby boomers are retired or will be retiring soon. According to the Across the Ages report, Boomers are the most likely to be bargain hunting; nearly 28.9 percent Boomers say they only buy clothing when it’s on sale, a larger share than any other group. Here is what you need to know about this group – • They will search for product information on{continued } • WINTER 2017 •


Brand Me Up, Scotty line, and through calls and emails. • However, they place higher faith in face-toface communication. • They would be interested in knowing what your business stands for • Discounts and bargain deals will appeal more to this demographic than any other

The Silent Generation (Born between the mid-1920s & 1945)

lowing advice from an e-Review of Tourism Research, by Alyssa K. Webb and Jose M. Quintana, published by Texas A&M University:

Google Maps Chances are that you have used Google Maps to locate an address or obtain driving directions to and from a destination. But more importantly, can your potential customers locate your business using Google Maps? Take the time to list your business on Google Maps so that customers can easily obtain your address and the driving directions. It is completely free to add your business to Google maps, you can event include a photo and link for your business or organization’s website. Add Your business to Google Maps by visiting

find your location online.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is the most important form of marketing that your business or organization can have. Traditionally, WOM meant the passing of information from person to person verbally. Now, WOM marketing includes all types of media from the spoken to the written word. One person with a Youtube video or blog can reach millions of people with information about your business or organization and you have no control over how they portray your business. The best way to combat negative WOM and help ensure positive WOM is to make sure that every customer who comes in contact with your business experiences superior customer service. Great customer service involves treating customers with respect, valuing their time, and making sure your employees, services and products are top-notch. It is extremely important that you communicate your commitment to excellence in customer service quality to your employees, as they interact directly with customers. Working hard at providing your customers with high levels of quality customer service will help make certain your business’s WOM is positive, rather than negative.

Also known as “Traditionalists,” this category has 50 million consumers. This generation displayed tremendous resolve to overcome the impact of the Great Depression and World War II. They seek value for money, comfort, and a sense of belonging. Many of them are active seniors and do not like to be regarded as ‘old or dependent’. • They are the least likely to make an impulsive purchase • Target them with traditional marketing tools such as flyers, newsletters and postcards, although keep in mind that some of them will use the internet to search for information. • The promotional material should be in larger font for ease of reading • Use grammar and language that they will appreciate • Use a single image (one that conveys emotions) rather than a collage Customizing marketing campaigns as per customer demographics is one way to appeal to your customers. As a smaller business, every customer contact offers you the unique opportunity to ask Most local businesses still rely on adConsider how your logo can be adapted to celebrate valuable customer research questions like vertising with local newspapers and radio holidays and charitable causes, just like Brown Bear “Have you tried this product before?”, stations. Despite reports of decreasing auhas done here to commemorate Veterans Day. “Did you like the product?” and “When diences due to the increased availability of do you use this product the most?” Knownews sources online, newspapers still reach ing more about your customers will help you deHOW TO: Click on the link for “Put your business significant audiences daily. Traditional radio stations sign products /services attuned to their needs and on Google Maps.” From this site you will be able also enjoy a regular following despite satellite radios lifestyle choices. to enter your address and see if there is already and the increasing use of MP3 devices in vehicles. a business listed at that location. The form that However, if the local newspaper appears online, appears next will ask you to enter your business or your radio station has a website, ask your sales information. After entering your information. representative what it would take to have your ad The map on the right will focus in on the address featured on the website, as well as in print or on air. that was entered. Please pay close attention to You may choose to let the advertising representathe red map marker; sometimes Google places it tive or an advertising agency design your ad, or run incorrectly. If this happens, click on the link “Fix one you designed. Many radio stations will record Reaching out in rural areas Incorrect Marker” Located underneath the map. your ad for you once you have written the copy, or Now, drag and drop the marker to its correct loWell, all of this trendy-modern-hipster-millenyou can go to the studio and record the ad yourself. cation. Google Maps will then search itS database nial brand talk is fine for our urban and suburban Also, do not be afraid to negotiate for the best to Determine if there is another business at The readers -- but what about our rural readers? We’ve deals with sales representatives. Most advertising same location. If there is you can “claim” the long heard from the small town contingent that experts agree that there is no need to make sure listing and update the data to correspond with these big city gimmicks don’t work in their maryour newspaper ad runs every day of the week, your business. Now, when someone searches for kets. Create a brand? Most of these guys don’t instead they recommend running ads three times your business online it will appear on Google even have a business name on the sign other than a week for maximum return. Maps. If your business is not listed on “CAR WASH.” For radio ads make sure your ads run at peak Google Maps you may be missing out on busiFor these hardworking, floating-along-just-fine, listening times, such as early morning, lunchtime ness because potential customers simply cannot jack-of-all-trades type owners, we propose the fol{continued }

Local Newspapers & Radio Stations



• WINTER 2017 •






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Brand Me Up, Scotty and after work, when people are most likely to be in their vehicles listening. Many people simply skim newspapers; when you are flipping through the paper how many times does it take you to find and locate your ad? Make sure your ad stands out and is eye catching, so that even the most cursory readers can spot it easily. Often newspapers will place your ad directly next to that of a competitor (usually accidentally), so ask the sales representative to make sure there are no competing ads directly next to yours. Consider using a coupon and a radio teaser, such as “look for our coupon in the Sunday paper,” as this combination can generate more business than just a coupon in the newspaper.

Chambers of Commerce Another “Best Practice” includes joining your local Chamber of Commerce. Visit to find information about your local Chamber of Commerce. The website has contact information and includes links to chamber websites. Chambers of Commerce are dedicated to providing support for local businesses and they accomplish this through membership fees. They provide services such as working towards creating a strong local economy, providing networking opportunities for small business owners, serving as a liaison between business and local governing bodies and assisting pro-business candidates with elections. Chambers of Commerce are often engaged in economic development activities as well. Contact your local Chamber today to find out what opportunities await you.

Convention & Visitor’s Bureaus Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus (otherwise know as CVB’s) are directly responsible for promoting travel and tourism in an area. They are responsible for bringing meetings and conventions to your area, as well as conducting familiarization, or “fam” tours. A “fam” tour is a tour for travel agents designed to familiarize them with the offerings of a location. Does your business boast the best chicken fried steak in a 100 mile radius? Perhaps you should contact the CVB about making your business the lunch stop on the next “fam” tour. The CVB also serves as a centralized location for tourists to stop at to pick up maps, brochures and gather information about the activities in an area while they are visiting. Consider asking the CVB to display a brochure, flyer or special coupon for your business. You can keep track of how many coupons are used to get a general idea of how much traffic the display is generating for your business.


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Business Alliances Are there any local small business alliances that you can join? Is there a partnership you could create with a business that complements yours? Alliances often offer a wealth of expertise on a variety of topics including financial management and marketing. Business alliances help smaller businesses capitalize on the combined buying power of several businesses. Business alliances can work together to create packages for tourists. For instance, a museum and a hotel could partner together, advertising for each other on location, as well as offering reduced rates of admission to the museum with one night’s stay at the hotel. Individually each business may not be able to afford large ads in the newspaper, but splitting the cost and sharing the ad can result in increased exposure for both. It is a win-win situation. The agreements will vary from business to business but the possibilities are limitless. If your area does not have a business alliance, consider creating one.

Sponsorship Consider sponsoring local events or sports teams. Often youth sports leagues need sponsors and in exchange the business name is featured in the team’s name or on uniforms. This type of sponsorship creates positive word-of-mouth marketing for your organization and helps people make positive associations with your business. Often youth organizations, such as dance teams, sell sponsorships for their teams. In exchange your name appears on various marketing materials and you receive a team photo to display at your place of business identifying you as a sponsor. These types of sponsorships may serve to inspire loyalty with customers who have close affiliations to these youth organizations. You may choose to sponsor or donate in-kind materials in exchange for a booth at a local event. Use this booth space to promote or demonstrate your products and services to potential clients or to distribute samples or coupons. Large events have the potential to increase regional marketing efforts, as people from surrounding towns and communities, who might not otherwise hear about your business, will attend the event. Remember; only affiliate yourself with events and causes that align closely with the values of your organization in order to protect the reputation of your business.

Conduct Market Research This idea is designed to help you discover what types of marketing methods work best for your business. Consider running a promotion that lasts exactly one month. Place coupons at the CVB, on your business’ website, in the local paper and run an ad on the radio offering, for example, a free

SPONSOR A CONTEST: Challenge locals to create a video or montage of the best the community has to offer. The winning videos will be uploaded onto YouTube. Have youth, adult and even business divisions to get the entire community involved. Talk to the journalism department at your local high school or college to get teachers involved in the contest. This project would make a great assignment for their students. Talk to the local movie theater about donating theater space for a night and create an event that showcases the best video submissions. Chances are the movie theater would love to be involved with the event and might profit substantially from concessions. Consider charging a small ($2) admission or having everyone bring a canned good for the local food bank in lieu of admissions. Let the community or a panel of judges choose the winner from each division. Get local businesses involved with sponsoring prizes for the winners–who knows maybe they would even be interested in sponsoring individual moviemaking efforts. The possibilities are endless– and result in positive online exposure for your community.

appetizer when you “mention this ad” (or “present this coupon”, for print sources). Each coupon should be for the exact same offering (whether it is a free tire rotation, 10% off an oil change, free nail polish, etc...), but make sure that it is easy for you to identify the source of each physical coupon; newspaper, printed off from the website, or picked up at the CVB. Have your employees keep track of how many people mention the radio ad and count how many of each type of coupon is redeemed. At the end of the month you should have a pretty good idea of which advertising method is giving you the highest return on your investment and be able to narrow your focus to those methods that generate the most business.

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Darwin Carwash at the

Hopefully someone will teach this Darwin some new tricks -- because we’re pretty sure no carwash owner wants to make even a penny off this kind of a transaction. Local police in Hamilton, Ontario, investigated after a woman was filmed by another customer at the wash spraying her dog with a high pressure wand in the self serve bay. According to a local news report, the animal was yelping, and the other customer eventually approached the woman and asked her to stop. The woman said her pet had been covered in mud and she was using a low-pressure rinse to clean the dog. The criminal investigation concluded the animal wasn’t hurt in the incident, although police did advise the woman to choose a more suitable method for dog washing in the future. Meanwhile, the video made the rounds on Facebook and has gone “viral.” Maybe it’s time someone installed a pet wash in Hamilton? Smile, thief ... you’re on candid camera! A suspect in a theft at an Arlington, TX, car wash turned himself in after police posted a surveillance picture of him grinning on Facebook and it garnered plenty of attention. The happy-go-lucky man and two other criminals were caught on a surveillance camera at the Lucky Car Wash in September. One of the men broke into a vault and one stood watch, as the third man cleaned out a getaway vehicle, according to the Facebook post. Arlington police posted several images of the theft, as well as an image that shows the criminal grinning on camera, to their Facebook page. The man turned himself in a short while later. This Darwin’s attempt to “get clean” at the carwash ended in a charge of drunk driving after he was arrested while taking a break from driving home at the Lady Lake Car Wash in Lady Lake, Florida. Lady Lake police had received a complaint about the gray BMW shortly before 8 p.m. Dec. 10 1. When an officer asked the driver, identified as James Anthony Sosso, what he was doing, he replied, “I was just sitting here sobering up before I headed home.” The officer observed empty beers cans underneath the car and a case of beer in the backseat,

according to a local news report. Sosso failed field sobriety exercises and told the officer he had come from his parents’ house and had been headed to “wherever I was parked,” the arrest report indicated. He said he had consumed five beers between 5 and 7 p.m. He was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. Also reported in Lady Lake, which must feature an exceptional Darwin community: An employee at Village Car Wash reported that his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend came to the business on Tuesday and “caused a scene.” The 22-year-old worker reported that his ex-girlfriend came to the car wash and started to argue with him, according to an incident report from the Lady Lake Police Department. He said she also hit the driver’s side window of his car with her forearm and then hit him on the arm, the incident report indicated. The man went to the Lady Lake Police Department after work and reported the incident. So were they driving dirty or not? This story is pretty confusing, even by Darwin Report standards: When a routine check on a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta came back listed as stolen out of Euclid, OH, a patrol officer waited nearby while the driver took it through the Village Auto-Wash. The car was soon pulled over in the Wendy’s lot, where the driver, a Shaker Heights woman, 38, explained that it was a rental in her brother’s name. Asked if that was her brother who had exited the Jetta at the start of the car wash then left on foot, she replied that was her uncle, a Cleveland Heights man, 58. He was picked up walking near the Beechmont Country Club, saying that his niece told him the get out of the car when she saw the police cruiser, stating only that she had “identity theft issues” and didn’t want him to get drawn into it. The report didn’t indicate that any charges were issued ... although the investigation seems to be ongoing. Siri, how do I report a robbery to police? The owner of Westbury Car Wash in Oklahoma City watched a man vandalize his carwash from his {continued }

Speaking of pet washes ... employees at a Corsicana, TX, were also in need of some doggie shampoo after an early morning discovery on a chilly December day. A “mysterious cardboard box” was found in the middle of the carwash, according to a local news report. It emitted a strong odor, and when employees finally decided to open it, they found three adorable puppies inside, freezing cold and covered in their own urine and excrement. The car wash employees contacted Jaclyn Smith, founder of the East Dallas Pet Rescue organization. Smith immediately sent over volunteers to recuperate the pups. “The box was filthy; it had poop and dog food all over it […],” Smith explained. “It was freezing cold last night. Thankfully, all of the puppies were quickly brought to the shelter where they were finally able to warm up and receive proper care. As soon as they’re ready they’ll be put up for adoption. Without a doubt these adorable pups will quickly find a forever family.”

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Lord help us all, the YouTube Generation has decided to start showering in automatic carwashes now. (You may recall from our last issue that incidents of “showering” at self serve carwashes had been reported after music festivals in the Southern U.S. and by tourists in the Netherlands.) Well, now we’ve got girls in sports bras trying their luck through a conveyor carwash -- all in a quest for Internet fame, it seems. According to a summary of the video by The Daily Mail, the two women hid under a tarp in the back of a pickup truck, wearing swim tops, shorts, and goggles. “The tarpaulin didn’t last long though, because as soon as the girls were sprayed with the powerful water jets it flew off the side of the truck,” the report said. “The friends seemed to take quite a beating from the different car wash cloths, then looked like they might take off when the dryers appears.” Finally out in the open again the pals gave each a high five and shouted at the screen: “We survived.” Viewers had mixed emotions to the bizarre clip. One person wrote: “It’s all fun and games until one of them gets their hair caught in something spinning and gets scalped.” Another said: “That’s how you know you have a best friend when they ride or die with you.” But a third commented: “On a serious note, that is not healthy and it’s dangerous, vehicle soap is not meant for skin.” Let’s just pray the other Darwins of the world don’t find any inspiration in this…


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iPad, according to KOKH. Owner Kelvin Truong said the suspect was at the business for about an hour. Truong was unsure what he was doing during that time, until the sun came up. “When the sun about to come up, I saw a white blade about this long, about 9 inches, and I looked at and I talked to my wife, I said, that look like a blade to me,” Truong said. He has more damage done to one of his cash boxes than money actually stolen. “You can see he actually used like a cutter trying to cut it,” Truong said. “And right there, the reciprocating saw tried to hack it off. Down here he bend it really hard to see if the lock yield. Just for what, a couple of dollars?” Police are now circulating images of the suspect, as well as the black Nissan pickup truck he was driving. “The truck backed into one of the stalls and the driver, who’s described as a white male wearing a black bald cap in a camo jacket, got out of the vehicle,” said Oklahoma City Police Officer Megan Morgan. Police say he tried to open the change box, but was unsuccessful. “I don’t know how he did it, but from the way it look like the damage, this is a cut from a tool.” Truong said. Truong said the suspect tried to steal $15, but the damage to the box will leave a big dent in his pocket. “I already ordered a box, this toolbox right here. It’s $205, just for the box,” Truong said. It’s damage he said could have been completely avoided. “Oh come on man, it’s not worth it,” Truong said. The owner said the suspect put a dollar in the cash machine to clean out his truck. He’s hoping that fingerprint on the dollar will help out with the investigation and catch the suspect. Our Darwinettes have been busy -- not just going through car washes, but crashing into them, too! Cape Coral police have arrested a woman who drove a friend’s car into a 24-hour car wash, striking pipes and water lines and causing an estimated $40,000 in damage. Security footage shows Theresa Watson checking the damage to the vehicle before driving away -- without the vehicle’s bumper, which she left behind. According to local news reports, Watson most likely fled the scene because she was driving with an expired registration and without a license. “In this case, the perpetrator just drove right down the street and parked it in a parking lot because she was panicked,” said Cpl. Phil Mullen. “You’re less likely to report an accident if you know you have these other things coming to you. if you were obviously drunk, or you had a suspended license or something,” Mullen said.

The car wash’s owner said she’s glad someone called police after noticing the abandoned SUV in the Coralwood Center parking lot. It was heavily damaged and missing the license plate. “They took all of their personal items out of the car which made them look quite suspicious, and that’s what caused them to call in,” said Coni Dean, owner of the car wash. Watson also told police that the brakes failed on the SUV forcing her to decide between crashing into another car with a child inside, or hitting the building. She is out on bond and faces a number of charges including hit and run, leaving the scene of a crash, and driving with a suspended license. Meanwhile, in Abilene, TX, the unlicensed Darwin stuck around for her lumps after a driving lesson went horribly wrong and the student driver lost control of her vehicle and struck a carwash here. Officers on scene of the accident told KTAB the driver was attempting to make a turn when she lost control and failed to let off the gas. Neither the nor her passenger were injured, but police did give the driver a citation for operating a vehicle without a license. Now this story really sucks -- a carwash customer was shot in the abdomen and elbow while trying to vacuum his vehicle at a car wash in River Ridge, Louisiana, according to a police incident report. The 32-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and elbow after he used his car to pin an armed stranger against a wall at the wash, the report said. The shooting occurred just after midnight Nov. 27, as the victim was trying to vacuum the inside of his vehicle. A deputy responding to reports of gunfire found an empty Pontiac Grand Am at the car wash. The car had damage that appeared to be from gunshots along with heavy front-end damage. Officers also spotted several spent casings near two of the carwash bays, according to the incident report. Shortly after, around 12:20 a.m., deputies learned a man with gunshot wounds had arrived at a local hospital via private vehicle. The victim told deputies that he had been cleaning the inside of his car when he noticed a man approaching with a gun. Already in the driver’s seat, the victim drove toward the armed man and hit him, pinning the man against a brick wall at the car wash. When the victim then shifted into reverse to escape, the gunman began firing at the victim’s car, hitting the victim in his lower abdomen and left elbow, according to the report. The victim’s 23-year-old girlfriend, who had arrived at the car

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wash in a separate car, told police that when she saw the armed man, she started running down Jefferson Highway. After the gunfire stopped, the shooter fled in a vehicle, the victim told deputies. The man who was shot then got into the car used by his girlfriend and drove them both to the hospital. The victim told deputies he “had no known enemies and did not know who would wish to harm him,” according to the incident report. The victim described the suspected shooter as age 20 to 30, about six feet tall, about 200 pounds and clad in all black, including a black bandana. Speaking of getaway vehicles, this Darwin decided to make it work on a bike. A managing partner of the Nascar Car Wash in Indianapolis arrived at work Saturday morning and found that someone had vandalized her business and caused thousands of dollars in damage by destroying eight of the 10 carwash vacuums and damaging several vending machines in a late-night incident that was caught on security camera. The carwash lost only about $100 from the vacuum coin boxes, but repairing the vacuum units will be several thousand dollars, according to a local news report. Surveillance video shows the vandal wearing a hoodie and riding to and away from the business on a small bike. He left the carwash once, but returned about 20 minutes later in an attempt to find other sources for money. A couple of would-be carjackers are all wet after an encounter at a Shreveport, LA, car wash with a man who refused to become a victim, according to a local news report. According to KSLA: Michael Davis says he was washing his car at Oasis Car Wash when he was approached by a man pointing a gun directly at him demanding his keys and money. “He said ‘give me your keys and your money,’ and I said ‘what’d you say?’ and I took the sprayer and just sprayed it right in his face,” recalled Michael Davis. Davis’ dashcam caught it all on video as Davis turned the power washer on the gunman and forced him to flee. Moments later, another man comes into view, appearing to attempt to grab the hose. Davis doesn’t let up, spraying the second man with the hose before swinging the wand at him. That man


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Three young (and busy!) Darwins have been charged after two car washes in Darlington, Wisconsin, were burglarized and police were able to connect the incidents to additional thefts at carwashes in the tri-state area (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin). According to Darlington police, the group stole the hoppers to the change machines at Wash ‘n’ Shine and Xtreme Clean, before the Grant County Sheriff’s Department received a call of a suspicious vehicle at the Dickeyville Car Wash in Dickeyville, WI. An investigation determined that two young people attempted to burglarize the car wash while a third person sat in the vehicle, described as a red, late 1990s Chevrolet Blazer. The vehicle had several features that made it easily identifiable, including the driver’s door having damage, possibly preventing it from opening as it was secured with orange zip-ties. There was also a round sticker on the back window. Dickeyville Police Chief Dave Reuter said the suspect vehicle was also involved in car wash incidents in three Iowa cities—Farley, Peosta and Epworth—and may have been a part of other damages and thefts at car washes in Hazel

can be seen trying one more time to grab at the wand before also fleeing out of frame. “I heard his friend try to run and get my backside so I turned around and sprayed him and hit him and they took off running,” recalled Davis, “The whole situation to me was almost surreal.” Through it all, Davis never backs down and never drops the cigarette out of his mouth, even smiling at one point during an encounter that would be terrifying for most people. Now, he’s hoping the pair will be caught and their criminal careers all washed up. “If they would’ve taken my keys and my money, they probably would have shot me anyway, plus I had my disabled veteran brother in the car, they could’ve done something to him as well,” said Davis. The attempted robbery was over in a matter of seconds and played out like a scene from a movie. “I wish it was a fun little acting video or skit or something like that but our lives were really in jeopardy, that’s why we called police as soon as we could and got them to come out here and we made a report,” expressed Davis. “I wasn’t going to give up my car or money to some little thug like that there’s just no way.” Davis said after he hit the second guy with the hose,

Green, Dodgeville and Mineral Point. “The Iowa locations had video footage of the same vehicle,” Reuter said. “We believe it could be related to the Wisconsin incidents, too.” Reuter used still images from the surveillance video to seek assistance from social media users. He received many comments with tips from the Facebook post. “We got a lot of comments on it,” Reuter said. “Facebook can really help in situations like this.” On Monday, Dec. 12, Reuter was notified that the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department had a vehicle matching the description pulled over. The vehicle was occupied by two males and one female who were taken into custody and charged for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. “The vehicle contained burglary tools, but there wasn’t enough to make any charges in this case,” Reuter said. The investigation is ongoing.

he yelled that he was going to grab his gun, which he believes is what ultimately scared the second man away. Seems like their lookout fell asleep on the job! Three men were arrested after Kilgore, TX, police were called to an in-progress robbery at the Finish Line Car Wash. When officers arrived, they found two people had broken into one of the coin-dispensing buildings and were in the middle of burglarizing the coin machines, police said. A third person was found asleep in a car across the street, and police found several boxes of air fresheners from the car wash inside the car, police said. Police found one suspect had a BB gun shaped like a realistic revolver in his waistband and another had a loaded .22 caliber revolver. Police said they also recovered $108 in currency and coins, along with various burglary tools. Jose Serrato, 17, of Tyler, Elizandro Penaloza, 19, of Henderson and Cristian Miramontes-Cardenas, 18, of Tyler have been charged with burglary of a building. Penaloza was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and Serrato was also charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon.

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