Episode 15: with Lanese Barnett and Team

 

About the Episode:

Well, folks, The Car Wash Show, hosted by the International Carwash Association, is just around the corner, taking place May 8-10 in Las Vegas! If you’re attending, be sure to listen to this episode for a sneak peek of the timely and highly relevant car wash market insights members of the Amplify Car Wash Advisors leadership team will share during various sessions and speaking times at TCWS. Hear Chris Jenks on Monday, May 8 at 1pm in a Pitch 20 Session talk about “Optimizing Operations by Partnering with Technology Solutions Providers.” Attend the education session, “M&A Trends in the Car Wash Industry, The Great Market Reset,” with Jeff Pavone and Paul Sigfusson on Tuesday, May 9 at 9:30am. And catch Jeff on the CAR WASH Magazine Live Stage in a panel hosted by Matt DeWolf, “So, you want to sell your car wash” on Tuesday, May 9 at 2pm with David Miller from Zips and Dave Dalesandro with Jet Brite.

Come by our booth, #811, located just inside the West Hall Atrium Entrance (W1) by the main entrance, to speak with the Amplify Car Wash Advisors and Commercial Plus team about how we can help sell or scale your car wash business. For car wash owners and industry professionals interested in booking a private meeting time, please reach out to Jessica Kortas at [email protected] for more information. See you in Las Vegas!

Sign up for Car Wash M&A, The Newsletter. | Follow us on social media @AmplifyCarWashAdvisors on LinkedIn or Facebook. | Connect with Lanese on LinkedIn.

Check out the full transcript below:

Lanese

Hello, and welcome to Car Wash M&A, The Podcast. This is episode 15 of the show. And today we’re going to take the time to just talk a little bit about the upcoming The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas that is put on by the International Car Wash Association. And for those of you who haven’t joined before, it’s a great show. It’s the largest one in the US for the car wash industry specifically, followed by the Southwest Car Wash Association Expo. That’s a regional trade show that, in my opinion, is also another really great one to check out.

In talking about The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas, we have several sessions where our team is talking about various things going on in the industry, a lot of which we talk about here on this show. I have my team members that are going to join us and just share a sneak peek about what their sessions are about and give a little insight on that. But I’ll go through some of the things that I’d like for you to know in preparing for this trip going to Las Vegas. So the dates of the International Car Wash Association trade show is it begins on Monday May 8th and it wraps up on Wednesday, May 10th.

On Monday, May 8, we have Chris Jenks, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Amplify Car Wash Advisors. He has a Pitch 20 session, which is entitled “Optimizing Operations by Partnering with Innovative Solution Providers.” That is on Monday, May 8 from 1:00 – 1:20, and it’s located in the Pitch 20 theater.

Then on Tuesday, May 9, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, we have Jeff Pavone, partner at Amplify, along with Paul Sigfusson, who joined our team earlier this year and was formerly with KKR. Paul is our head of capital solutions. They will be talking about “M&A Trends in the Car Wash Industry: The Great Market Reset.” This is a really, really timely topic for us to reflect on what the last year has meant for M&A activity, and different options for funding growth and also what that translates to as far as the Look Ahead for the rest of this year and going into next year. We’d love to have you guys come out for that; it’s always a very well attended session. And for the folks that attend in person, you can look for a copy of the deck that I will send out or that someone from my team will send out following the presentation. It’s great information that you can take home with you. And we really encourage you to attend that. It’s, again, very much anticipated and it’s just jam packed with information that is super relevant and super timely to car wash owners and to all of those involved in the industry.

First up, I have Paul Sigfusson; he is going to share an exclusive sneak peek about the education session that he and Jeff are speaking on on Tuesday, May 9 at 9:30. This session is “M&A Trends in the Car Wash Industry: The Great Market Reset.”

Okay, so Paul, you are joining us at The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas, brought to you by the ICA. This year, you are going to join Jeff Pavone in his educational session that he’s done the last couple of years about M&A trends in the car wash industry. And I was wondering if you could share with us a little bit more about the perspective that you’re hoping to add to this session?

Paul

Yeah, look, I’m really excited to get on stage in a couple of weeks here. And we’ve been doing a lot of work to prepare for it. It’s been a really interesting last 12 months. And we’re looking forward to sharing our views around the changing landscape, the seismic changes that are happening in the industry. You know, there’s been a global reset in cost of capital and how businesses are being funded and how businesses are being financed. And we’re looking forward to talking a lot about those changes and how we see the the evolution of those changes coming through to the specifics around the car wash industry itself.

Lanese

What’s one takeaway that you hope that car wash owners, in particular, as attendees can leave with, armed with this information?

Paul

Yeah, look, I think the way that people have operated over the last several years is not going to be the case going forward. And I think people need to understand that the landscape is changing. It is changing rapidly; we’re entering a more restrictive credit environment. You’re already seeing some of those things sort of come through, so the way that people have thought about their sources of growth capital are evolving. And we’re having a lot of conversations on a week-to-week basis right now about that evolution. I look forward to sharing our point of view around what’s happening and how that’s going to impact the industry over the longer term.

Lanese

Well, we appreciate you joining us, and it’s so valuable having your perspective on our team, and so thank you for that. Kind of switching gears a little bit: what are your thoughts leading up to attending this show, kind of on the other side, if you will? Now that you’re inside of the carwash industry full time, do you have any different feelings towards it? Or more of the same? What are your thoughts on it?

Paul

Yeah, I think I’m looking forward to seeing some friendlier faces these days, to show up and have some friends versus being an outsider, so it’s been really fun to build and grow some of the relationships. I think this is an absolutely unbelievable event to continue to network and grow with the relationships you have and form some new ones. And it’s always fun meeting people and seeing familiar faces as you’re walking the floor. This is a very well-attended show. There’s a lot of relevant content that gets produced and a lot of relevant conversations that are happening. We’ve been very busy in Q1, and we continue to be very busy in Q2, and we look forward to sharing more about that with some of the conversations we have and some of the relationships that continue to grow in the space.

Lanese

You know, you brought up an interesting point, because we talk a lot, and I talk a lot, about the communal nature of the car wash industry and how this is such a tight knit group of folks. But the flip side of that is if you’re not inside of that tight knit group, you’re the other. Now you are inside, so we’re happy to have you. But I agree. I love these shows that are a place to have your friends and your colleagues come together. And you get to have that in-person time, whether it’s specifically talking shop, or you’re just kind of catching up and building those deeper relationships on a personal level. There’s a nice bit of fun mixed in and then having your yearly get togethers and having those opportunities to talk business. The last thing I want to ask you is: is there anything in particular that you’re personally looking forward to or excited about other than, you know, seeing people?

Paul

Yeah, no, I think [seeing] people is the number one thing for me. I think it’s a great time to check in with individuals who you don’t get to speak to regularly. And then, I’m always intrigued by some of the new and unwrapping evolution that’s happening in the space, whether that be technology, some really exciting sort of newer technologies that are out there that I think are beginning to sort of rear their head and come into the forefront. So I’m really excited to keep seeing those as they evolve. We’re obviously very relevant in a lot of those conversations between some of the partnerships that we as a firm have implemented and look forward to seeing others as they pop up.

Lanese

Yeah, definitely. Thanks for sharing, Paul. We’re looking forward to seeing you in person. I am, too, since our team is largely kind of spread around the country. Thanks for your time this morning. See in a couple weeks!

Paul

You got it.

Lanese

That was Paul sharing with us about “M&A Trends in the Car Wash Industry: The Great Market Reset,” the educational session that will be on May 9 from 9:30am to 10:30am. In addition to Jeff and Paul’s session, I also want to draw your attention to a car wash panel that Jeff will be participating in with Matt DeWolf, and this takes place on the Car Wash Magazine live stage on Tuesday at 2pm. So Tuesday, May 9 at 2pm. And this is a panel that is entitled, “So You Want to Sell Your Car Wash,” and we have Jeff Pavone at Amplify speaking with David Miller, who is the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Zips, along with Dave D’Alessandro, who’s president at Jet Brite Car Wash. And they are going to talk about why Jet Brite, who historically was not interested in selling, took another look at that and ended up having a really successful transaction with Zips Car Wash, and how our role is as Amplify Car Wash Advisors helped inform Dave and his team about what his options are, and what that could look like for the future of him and his team inside of the car wash industry that may not have been top of mind when he had previously been approached about selling.

This will be a really cool behind-the-scenes look into that transaction, and kind of what each party’s perspectives and thoughts are, and how it ended up being a win win win all the way around. I really encourage you to check that out. Again, that is on Tuesday, May 9 at 2pm on the Car Wash Magazine live stage with Dave, David and Jeff.

Here’s Jeff sharing a sneak peek about that panel, “So You Want to Sell Your Car Wash,” with Matt DeWolf, as well as the session that we spoke about with Paul earlier on M&A trends in the car wash industry. Jeff also shares a little bit about his general overall feelings for the show and his excitement to see friends and colleagues and meet with people.

Thank you, Jeff, for joining us. Again, I cannot believe that The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas is just a few short weeks away. One of the things that you have spoken about for the last several years is trends going on in the M&A space in the car wash industry, and then also financing trends. And so this year, you will not disappoint. And you will be hosting an educational session that’s called “M&A Trends in the Car Wash Industry: The Great Market Reset.” Could you tell us a little bit about what attendees can expect to learn from that session of yours?

Jeff

Sure. Well, we really want to make sure we cover where is the market value today. You know, at the end of the day, there’s a lot of information floating around. First off, are deals getting done? Who’s buying? who’s not? And I can tell you the reset has got a couple of components to it. One is sort of what are valuations? We want to dive deep into valuations and what they’re currently trading at today, to who’s buying? When you look at who was buying a year ago, it’s different than who’s buying today. Right now we’re still in a highly fragmented business industry; there’s still a lot of deals getting done, but I can tell you, the players have changed. And so, you know, it’s really helpful to understand who’s who. Next, we’re going to cover what are the options, because when I look at the market today, I’d say you’ve got different camps. You’ve got groups that want to sell; their timing is just ready to go. But we also have another group that are continuing to develop out their chain. And so what are we? How do we finance that growth? What does that look like? Then we’ll talk a little bit about more just trends, and where do we see this business going, you know, beyond this year. What does it look like next year? And so, you know, really, it’s meant to give as much data points as possible, so we can inform our audience about what to do and how to manage your business. And then it’ll let them decide where to go from there.

Lanese

For the last two years that I’ve been along with you and with the team, this is a really well-attended session because there is so much depth of information included there. And I think this year will be no different. One of the changes to the format this year, or the evolution of the format, is you’re having another one of our team members, Paul Sigfusson, join you to talk about options for funding growth and things from his perspective as well, right?

Jeff

Yeah, I’m super excited to have Paul alongside me. You know, Paul is probably the most informed guy in the country as far as where the capital markets are. And so you know, what does it mean to you? What it does for you is, first off, it’ll tell you sort of what are the dynamics going on behind the scenes, you know, so when you look at these large platforms, what are their challenges? Where’s the capital coming from? Paul can talk really intelligently about that, but more importantly, it is what are your options from a capital perspective. I can tell you, they’re changing. They’re changing rapidly by the day. And Paul is the guy on our team that comes from Wall Street; he’s got his finger on the pulse. He does. He’s researching this on a daily basis. So we really think, again, the audience is going to come away with some really good insights on where the capital markets are today for whoever could be buying and also just what are their options going to be from a from a financing standpoint?

Lanese

Yeah, Paul’s expertise on domain authority, adding to the team, has been really interesting to just showcase that bigger picture. Even in our monthly newsletter, I was working on the draft this week and having some more data points to include in there on a regular cadence that’s supplied from Paul’s research has really helped paint that broader picture of what’s going on and what does this mean for car wash owners. And that’s been a great asset for us to have on the team, so I’m excited to have him along with you, and to just continue building out that information that we can share with them. And as we’ve done for years past, after the session, for those folks that attend, you know, we’re happy to send out the deck with the supporting materials in there. And we encourage and welcome people coming by the booth, if they want to talk with us there or set up a private meeting beforehand, they’re welcome to reach out, as well. You can email [email protected], or reach out to me directly. But Jeff, on a personal note, what are you looking forward to most about our time in Las Vegas with The Car Wash Show?

Jeff

You know, I’m always really looking forward to meeting with the operators, hearing their stories, you know. I’ve got to tell you that this is the year that we all have got to work a lot harder, right? I think that we had a couple of years that were almost fool’s gold. So I’m really looking forward to meeting with the operators and really hearing their stories of what their challenges are and what their successes are. And it’s the one place where everybody comes. I can tell you, I think this is going to be a really important couple of days there to really dive in deeper with the operators to figure out what challenges they have. Now, the good news is our team is… we’ve been building out our team aggressively over the last year to address some of these issues. We brought in a capital markets expert; we brought in some real operating strength, and with our team, we’ve gotten involved in some venture products and services that will help manage your car wash. Beyond M&A, I just think we’ve been advocates for a while now about operations, and it’s really being able to connect with the operators, talking about some of the successes that they’re having, and then is there a way that we can help and be a good partner? We’d love to have that discussion.

Lanese

Right, and what our goal has been since the beginning is helping car wash owners maximize the value of their business, whether they’re looking to make an exit, they’re looking to stay in, or they’re looking to grow. Whatever it is, we want to come alongside as advocates for helping them achieve that maximum value through streamlining operations and all these different products and services that we can point them to. I think that even though our scope of work and our services have expanded, the core nuts and bolts and the mission of it is still the same.

Jeff

Well, yeah, Lanese, and there are a lot of people that got in the space. Because there’s so much money, and when there’s money, they’re going to find it.

Lanese

Because we make it look so easy!

Jeff

Yeah. And it’s like, you know, we’re just… At the end of the day, there are a lot of guys knocking on your door, and there are a lot of promises, and false promises, out there. And for us, we’re staying very true to our mission of just being really relationship driven. We want to be good partners. We will tell you; we’re going to be fully transparent and give you the honest truth. We’re going to give you facts based on what’s actually is going on in the market. We’re not going to sit here and inflate things; we’re not going to tell you what you want to hear, but we are just going to give good, sound advice. And if you look at the team, we’ve got really high-quality people that were we looked at, valued along the way, to all of our clients.

Lanese

Yeah, for sure. Thank you for sharing that. And it’s definitely true that we are all very relationship driven. And we care deeply about our fellow colleagues in the car wash industry and our friends. So this is a chance for us to get together with them. And you know what? Vegas isn’t that bad for two or three days! Have a lot of fun and see friends, but also get ready to get out and get home and sleep in your own bed.

Jeff

Where would you rather be on Mother’s Day?

Lanese

It’s actually not on Mother’s Day this year. So I had the terrible idea of having my kids and my husband drop me off at the airport last year, a crying two year old and four year old with the windows down going, “Mommy Mommy!” I was like, Why did I even think this would be a good idea? Not this year, so I’ll just sneak out as per usual. Well, Jeff, thank you so much.

And again, for folks listening, you can come by and see Jeff and our team at booth 811 at The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas May 8 through 10th.

Jeff

Thank you.

Lanese

Thanks to Jeff and Paul for popping on today to share a sneak peek of The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas. Our booth number is number 811. We’ll have people from both our Amplify Car Wash Advisors team as well as the Commercial Plus brokerage team. If you would like to learn more about scheduling a private meeting with either the Amplify or Commercial Plus folks, please reach out to Jessica Cortez before the show. Jessica’s email is Jessica@commercial plus.com, and you can find her email info in the show notes.

We have also done quite a bit of work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the last year, and we’ve had the opportunity to partner with them on different things and become a corporate partner with them. About four or five weeks ago, I attended their Partner Summit in Memphis, and we toured the hospital. It is so amazing and uplifting to see all of the great research development and advocacy that St. Jude’s does for children with childhood cancer and for children with other diseases of all kinds. They’re just really amazing folks.

We will have two representatives that are from the St. Jude organization in our booth and kind of walking around checking out the car wash industry and checking out The Car Wash Show. They came last year when we presented a $100,000 check to St. Jude. And it was such a cool moment because as we were on The Car Wash Magazine live stage, and we were presenting this check to St. Jude, our good friend Paul Fazio had made a very large matching donation as well on the spot, and it was just a really cool, special moment.

Anyway, we have two folks from St. Jude coming and would love for you to come by and say hello to them. If you have any questions at all about different fundraisings that you could do or activations at your car wash or on a corporate level, they have full plethora of different options, and I just really feel like for the car wash community, these can be great plug-and-play or customized community engagement and customer engagement and employee engagement opportunities that’s all supporting such an amazing cause of ending childhood cancer.

Come by our booth and say hello. Well, folks, we look forward to seeing you at The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas. It will be here before we know it! Thank you for tuning in today. Please come by and say hello. I will be glad to give you some Car Wash M&A magnets to take back to your place of business to proudly display as you’re a frequent listener. If you feel so inclined, go on to Apple podcasts or Google podcasts and rate the show and leave some feedback if you’d like. Thank you so much for listening, and again, we look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

Jet Brite Car Wash

With decades of hands-on experience as operators, when it came time to sell our car wash business who we sold to was important to Sam and me. Chris [Jenks] and the team at Amplify listened to us throughout the entire process. They found the right buyer in ZIPS who would be a good steward of the brand and helped find the best path forward for us where we can continue pursuing our passion for manufacturing high-quality car wash equipment.  

Jet Brite Car Wash  
Dave Delesandro  | Founder

Quick N’ Clean

My relationship with Commercial Plus over the past 20 years has been a very professional and trustworthy relationship. The feel of trust is very important in this business, and Jeff Pavone and his staff have exhibited a level of trust that makes me continue to feel that they have my best interest front of mind. I deal with many brokers across the nation, and my best experiences and results have been achieved with Commercial Plus representation.

Quick N’ Clean
Richard Karle | Owner

Zips

It’s been a great experience working with Amplify Car Wash Advisors to bring these sites into the ZIPS portfolio. We look forward to serving Dallas area customers with an enhanced car wash experience unique to ZIPS, with the added benefit of our extensive network of stores. This year we have continued our aggressive growth track with the goal to truly shine in our efforts to be the best express car wash provider in the industry and it’s acquisitions like this that help us reach our goals.

Zips
Gene Dinkens | CEO

ModWash

It was truly a pleasure to work with the Amplify team on our most recent acquisition of three additional operating locations in our home state of Tennessee. Their team provided great support and ensured a timely and seamless closing process, and we are excited for the additional growth opportunities this relationship will produce in our near future. We know this is the first of many transactions we will successfully complete with the Amplify team as we grow from our current operating store count of 23 to well over 200 locations across 14 states in the next two years.

ModWash
Brian Thornton | COO

Busy Bee Car Wash

For years I’ve talked to a lot of brokers with the same goal; sell your car wash chain as quickly as possible. But I chose to work with Amplify because they were interested and invested in the emotional side of selling my business and truly value long-term relationships. They weren’t forcing me to take a deal just to take a deal. They listened to my concerns and goals then educated me on all my options. And that’s how I decided on the right partner for my chain specifically. I went to bed at night after I signed the papers knowing I got the best deal possible versus just having any deal put in front of me that is only about money.

Busy Bee Car Wash
Jim Mulholland | Owner

Q Car Wash

We really appreciate Jeff and his entire team at Amplify. Their expertise and deep industry knowledge helped us navigate our options and best showcase our strengths to maximize our value. Caliber is a good fit for Q Car Wash as they look to expand in North Texas.

Q Car Wash
Viran Nana | COO

Cobblestone Auto Spa

I have known both Jeff and Bill for over thirty years combined, and respect them both as experts in our professional car washing industry. Their unique and individual strengths bring very strong talent and advice to operators, sellers, and buyers with sharp knowledge, client’s best interest in mind, and an actual personal touch. They hold the expertise and performance track record to hold a very high level of respect within this rapidly-changing car wash industry.

Cobblestone Auto Spa
Tuck Bettin | CEO

Oasis Car Wash

Turning over a business you started from one shovel of dirt 25 years ago and grew to several locations is a difficult and even uncomfortable process. So, when it came time for Larry and me to sell, we chose Amplify Car Wash Advisors to guide us through the process because of their strong reputation and thought leadership in the industry. Their team was professional and did a great job walking us through each step.

Oasis Car Wash
Dallas Hawkins | Partner

Busy Bee Car Wash

Selling our business after 52 years is big deal and certainly not a decision I took lightly, turning over our family legacy was an emotional process and I appreciated that the team at Amplify respected that. They helped me understand my options and found the best deal for me.

Busy Bee Car Wash
Jim Mulholland | Owner

Ducky’s Express

I have been a multi-site developer and operator in the car wash industry for over 30 years. Four years ago, a partner’s health concern forced me to sell a portion of my portfolio, and during that process, I was introduced to Jeff Pavone of Commercial Plus. I was immediately impressed with Jeff’s knowledge of my industry and his volume of successful deal closings. In a very short period of time, Jeff found the right buyer at a very fair price, and the transaction closed shortly thereafter. I was looking for a team with honesty, integrity, and a proven track record of success, and I found all of that in Jeff.

Ducky’s Express
Richard Miller

Trademark Car Wash

These are some of the most exciting times for car wash owners. As we grew 350% in revenue in just one year, we recognized the time to partner up with a top-tier team that has mastered growth in retail and specifically the automotive industry. Amplify Car Wash Advisors had helped us acquire, raise capital, and was the perfect partner to help us reach this next chapter of the Trademark story.

Trademark Car Wash
Andrew Goldberger