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Marketing Goodwill
GRACE FOR VETS                                                                                                by Diann Roffe

              he challenges facing the car wash industry within          At Cloister Wash & Lube our marketing department’s
              an economic downturn can be daunting at best.        challenge is simply to keep people coming in our door every
              Consumers are facing daily decisions affecting how   day. How we choose to market our products and
they choose to spend their disposable income. Gas, groceries,      services to the public is where we need to think outside
utilities, coffee and clothing are prioritized by necessity. The   the box. Traditional forms of advertising and mainstream
bright spot in this challenge is that consumers are choosing to    media buys will always have degrees of success, but the cost is
take care of their assets and maintaining their investments has    sometimes astronomical for a small business. I think there is
become more important than ever. People are motivated to take      another approach to encourage our community to continually
care of their cars.                                                visit our car wash facilities.

Grace for Vets was designed to thank veterans for their service to our country.

60     America’s Car Care Business                                                                                  August 2008
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                                                           Focus on Community
“In 2007, Hoffman Car Wash                                       Cloister Wash & Lube has expanded into four different
                                                           communities in Central Pennsylvania. With four car wash facili-
had the privilege of washing                               ties and three fast lube shops, we have started to focus on each of
approximately 1,000 vehicles                               our locations and the communities that fuel them. The philos-
                                                           ophy is simple and straightforward. Our communities support
belonging to veterans. One veteran                         and feed our business. Cloister is focused on taking care of them
wrote, Thank you for giving a free                         and giving back to these communities. Consumers of all types
                                                           make decisions how they spend their hard earned money based
car wash to veterans on Veterans’                          on how they feel about our services. If they have no subjective
Day. I am a Vietnam Era veteran                            feelings or experience with our car wash, we hope to catch them
                                                           with a complimentary car wash, coupon or an ad that provides
having served for years in the U.S.                        enough incentive to bring them in the door. If they have a posi-
Navy. Your company provided a                              tive impression of our business, we are halfway there! The real
                                                           home run is to make them smile and say, “Cloister? I love
generous display of gratitude to all                       getting my car washed there! It is such a treat to go there!” They
veterans in our community. Thank                           love how they are treated and the facilities are clean and beau-
                                                           tiful. The real winner is when they state, “Cloister does so much
you to a very patriotic business.”                         for our community. I just love to give them my business!”

                                                           Community Relations Efforts
       — Tom Hoffman, Jr., Hoffman Car Wash & Jiffy Lube       Support community relations and take pride in your local
                                                           reputation. Leverage this with all you have. Doing the right

     Cars are lined up to participate
     in Grace for Vets.

62    America’s Car Care Business                                                                              August 2008
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thing in a community can do more for your marketing than          participating car wash operator. “The International Carwash
you can imagine. At Cloister, we have given over 2.5 million      Association supports Grace For Vets as an excellent way for
dollars back to the community with our successful                 our industry to honor those who have made freedom in
fundraising program. In 2007 we also distributed free car         America possible. We shall be eternally indebted to the men
wash coupons to the surrounding township firefighters that        and women who serve, and who have served, our country as
serve our locations, thanking them for their commitment           members of the Armed Forces,” said Mark Thorsby, Executive
to our communities. We give thousands of free coupons             Director, International Car Wash Association.
every year to area organizations that serve our communities.
The reputation this has created positively impacts how            Wash a Million
people feel about doing business with us. Each year we                 Car wash operators nationwide celebrated Veterans’ Day
participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life       with pride in 2007. Thirty two operators requested information
with a full team of walkers. We run a successful Children’s       to participate in Grace For Vets. A total of 92 locations
Miracle Network “Change Bandit” campaign each February            reported, and 8,581 veterans’ cars were washed. Grace For
during which we participate with local radio stations to          Vets was founded by Mike Mountz, Owner and President of
collect change at all our locations, donate washes for online     Cloister Wash & Lube. “My goal is for operators across the
auctions and volunteer to answer the phones for the local         country to wash a million veterans’ cars. It is the right thing to
Children’s Miracle Network radiothon. This year we are the        do, a good business model and has a positive impact on the
Corporate Chair for a regional Juvenile Diabetes Research         industry,” said Mike Mountz.
Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. The past two years we
have washed mother’s cars free on Mother’s Day. We are            Promote Loyalty
proud of our community relations efforts and they continue            All of these efforts solidify our commitment to the
to have a positive impact on our business. All of these efforts   community and promote loyalty from our customers. We
solidify our commitment to the community and promote              constantly look for ways to give back to the community that
loyalty from our customers. We constantly look for ways to        supports us. We have always said, “Feel good... Drive a
give back to the community that supports us. We have always       Cloister clean car!” By practicing community goodwill using
said, “Feel good... Drive a Cloister Clean Car!” By practicing    programs like Grace For Vets, we make sure that people
community goodwill, we make sure that people always think         always think highly of us and feel good about being our car
highly of us and feel good about being our car wash and lube      wash and lube customers.
                                                                  Get Started
Veteran’s Day                                                          Getting started and participating in Grace For Vets is easy
     The biggest effort we have made to honor our commu-          and simple. For 2008, the number of operators participating
nities comes in the form of giving free car washes to veterans    has jumped to 76 across the country and will grow as we near
and service personnel on Veterans’ Day. We ask no questions       November.We have provided all the supporting materials an
of anyone who comes to our four locations and says they are       operator or any retail business would need on the Web site.
a Veteran or active service personnel. We proudly thank them      The best success for getting the word out has been on site
for their service to our country and wash their car for free.     promotion and advertisement on our marquee signs as well as
This program has become fondly known as Grace For Vets            signage in our customer areas. This signage goes up about one
and is currently being shared with other wash operators           month in advance of Veterans’ Day. Contact the local media
across the country.                                               and let them know what you are planning to do on Veterans’
     Grace For Vets is designed to honor veterans and service     Day and invite them to cover the event. We have provided
personnel on Veterans’ Day by providing them with free car        photos, sample press releases, sample poster signage and radio
washes across the nation. We believe this exciting program        copy for anyone to download. Go to .
shows the car wash industry’s united support for veterans         All the materials needed to get started with implementing
and service personnel every November 11th. It also provides       Grace For Vets locally are available for downloading. ACCB
car wash companies across the United States with the chance
to thank their local veterans. The program provides us with
the opportunity to promote the car wash industry nationally
and each operation locally. We believe the goodwill from
Grace For Vets will help strengthen the support for veterans,        Diann Roffe is the director of business development for
increase the national visibility for the car wash industry        Cloister Wash & Lube. For more information please visit
as well as foster local support and business for each   

August 2008                                                                                 America’s Car Care Business         63

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