Great White Car & Truck Wash – Breaking the Mould
By Tania Moffat
Great White Car and Truck Wash, is making a move to step up the carwash game in Alberta. StoreWest, the development company behind Great White, is establishing their brand with a series of state-of-the-art washes complete with express tunnels, wash bays and a corporate culture focused on customer experience. To date, they have two washes in Calgary with several more on the way.
Primarily a storage facility developer, StoreWest didn’t start out aiming to build a carwash empire. President Roland Schatz and vice president Matt Verity explain how their new endeavor came to be. “It started out with excess space on land we had purchased for storage units. After researching compatible options, we discovered that the storage and carwash industry attracted similar demographics. We spent three years planning and strategizing before we opened our first wash,” says Schatz.
Great White’s first location opened in Dufferin, southeast Calgary in 2019. It spans 20,000-square feet, and features a 110-foot automatic express tunnel, seven self-serve residential wash bays, and six industrial wash bays equipped with foam cannons, foam brushes and commercial undercarriage spray.
Building a brand
“Bringing the express tunnel technology here was important to us for several reasons. We grew up with self-serve and touchless washes, but after attending association shows in the U.S. it became clear to us that the express tunnels provided a more efficient and technologically advanced wash. They were able to process a much larger number of vehicles,” adds Verity. Their partners agreed and StoreWest became one of the pioneers of this technology in Canada.
Committed to providing their customers with a different level of service, StoreWest’s aim was to bring more of a corporate approach to their wash sites by creating a brand synonymous with convenience, fun, and a great wash experience. “There is not a lot of brand cohesion in Canada’s carwash industry. If you look at the marketplace, there are no major recognizable carwash brands. We wanted to change that,” says Schatz.
A play off the great white north and great white shark lead to the birth of the brand, complete with a fun and family-friendly mascot. Sharks feature prominently in their wash packages which include a Mini Shark, Hammerhead, Tiger and Great White wash option. Customers can elect to come for a single wash or purchase a monthly package ranging between $25 and $49 per month. Following their mantra to do things better, wash card member vehicles are equipped with a RFID tag and can treat themselves to unlimited washes, maxing out at one wash per day, over the course of the month.
“We take the environment very seriously and want our brand to reflect that. We treat all of our water and use biodegradable chemicals. Great White Wash is one of the only carwashes in Canada that is part of the ICA WaterSavers program. We work diligently to improve efficiencies between water flow and temperature to ensure maximum cleaning coverage while minimizing resources,” shares Verity.
Social media is used to tie their message together, promoting the brand, service and corporate culture. As part of that corporate culture, all staff members are required to participate in internal training programs that educate them on the wash process and best practices, ensuring Great White presents a strong team in the front-of-house and back.
Considerable research combined with their valuable learning experience from Dufferin went into their second build. Aviation, is located in on McKnight Boulevard, just east of Deerfoot in Calgary. Built on previously undeveloped airport land, the facility is now part of a vibrant retail development along a busy east-west corridor. Construction began in May of 2021 and the site celebrated their grand opening on February 18 of this year. The location features a 145-foot-long automatic carwash tunnel, and a self-serve carwash area with seven oversized bays to accommodate larger vehicles.
“Optimization is everything and it’s especially important with the growth curve we have right now. We want to make sure we have the best equipment available, which is one of the reasons we chose MacNeil as our tunnel provider. Their products are easy to operate, reliable and deliver a fantastic wash. The system we installed uses one-third of the water of a traditional touchless system, and we added a reclaim system to the site. MacNiel’s distributor, Rockyview, also had a lot to do with our decision. They provide prompt service with minimal downtime and have staff dedicated to maintenance which is valuable to us,” Schatz explains.
“Rockyview equipped the Aviation carwash with a full compliment of MacNeil wash equipment, including the XR1000 conveyor, two sets of RS-701 Super Flex Wraps, the RS-1000 Evolution Top Brush, RS-400 Low Side Washers, both the Wheel Boss and Gloss Boss tire cleaning and polishing units, along with MacNeil’s Tech 21 drying system. They system is complete with all of the back-room support equipment as well as MacNeil’s SB-600 Wheel and Side Blasters and colorful arches throughout the tunnel. Combined, the MacNeil package delivers a gentle but thorough, superior wash,” says John Downey, general manager of Rockyview Industries.
“The processing speed of this tunnel really impressed us. MacNeil’s XR-1000 is capable of processing over 100 cars per hour! Meaning cars can get in and out with a really nice clean in five to six minutes. We washed 830 vehicles on our opening day,” Verity shares.
The group partnered with DRB for their tunnel solutions and POS technology. DRB Tunnel Solutions provides the operator control over their tunnel, allowing them to increase capacity and throughput, boost efficiencies and control costs. “We chose them because of their vast back-end system, multi-site integration and optimization. It is a very effective system,” Verity adds.
Full steam ahead
Carrying on with their momentum, StoreWest is poised to open their third location, with a similar setup as Aviation, in Edmonton later this year. Additionally, two innovative projects are slated to break ground this spring. These multi-story storage facilities will have a Great White express wash tunnel integrated into the ground floor of the building, internalizing the wash and providing room for vehicle stacking within the building.
StoreWest’s Great White Car and Truck Washes have poised themselves to become a force within the industry. Their passion to provide their customers with a superior service and experience is evident in their attention to detail, brand development and innovative wash design. Keep your eye on this brand as they lead the way to break Canada’s standard carwash mould.
Tania Moffat is a freelance writer, editor, publisher and photographer. She has worked in the publishing industry for the last 17 years on a wide variety of B2B and consumer publications, both in print and online. You can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org