Cherry Blossom Express Car Wash is an express exterior car wash located in Macon, GA. Owner Grady Griffin and his sons Fain and Robert are relative newcomers to the automotive care industry but have quickly found success in their investment. In one year, Cherry Blossom Express has become an icon of the region for both their quality service and their unique and striking facility made to resemble a train station. “We definitely wanted to do something a little different,” said Owner and Operator Fain Griffin. “We’re actually underneath a railroad bridge that crosses the road right above us. It’s one of the spots in Macon that everybody knows about. That’s where the design of the building came in. A lot of people, especially millennials, don’t remember what train stations used to look like.”
For Cherry Blossom Express, the launch of their new business was exciting, but not without difficulty. While the Griffins had a long history of successful ventures, they quickly learned certain aspects of the car wash business presented unique challenges.
“Finding sites that make sense is really really hard right now. It was really really hard when we started looking around because [the car wash industry] is continuing to explode. People are jumping in from everywhere,” said Griffin. “And now, honestly, the fear we have is that it’s going to get oversaturated. People are going to keep jumping in and keep putting washes right on top of each other and it’s going to oversaturate the market.”
Other problems were equally difficult to account for — specifically, the issue of mid-tunnel collisions. While Griffin was well aware of the pileup problem, the issue of cost was only part of the equation. According to Griffin, “you may or may not be losing a lot of money out of it, but the headache that it causes is unreal because you’re trying to figure out, ‘well, who’s responsible; whose insurance company is gonna pick this up? Is an insurance company going to pick this up?’ It’s just a mess.”
To see success long-term, Cherry Blossom Express would need a definitive solution to clear these hurdles.
"I’ve had it a couple times where I see a car starting to jump and NoPileups shuts it down. Knowing that I may not have been able to react fast enough if something happens is great. It saves you a lot of money, but at the very least, it saves a whole lot of headache...”Fain GriffinOwner & Operator
Cherry Blossom Express discovered mid-tunnel collisions had the potential to do serious damage to their revenue and reputation and sought a method of preventing accidents without negatively impacting the customer experience. In addition, Cherry Blossom Express recognized the growing need to stand out in a saturating market. Any solution they chose needed to:
- Reliably prevent vehicle collisions throughout the entire tunnel length
- Offer additional value to customers as a differentiator versus local competitors
In July 2018, after learning of the service, Cherry Blossom Express installed NoPileups car wash enhancement service at their location in Macon, GA.
What is NoPileups?
NoPileups is a car wash enhancement service that uses advanced technology to detect and prevent accidents caused by hopped rollers, driver error, and other unexpected events inside an automated wash tunnel. NoPileups integrates into a car wash’s existing cameras and tunnel controller to quickly and reliability stop collisions and increase production. NoPileups’ dedicated service team analyzes every site to offer customers greater insight into operations and further reduce incidents.
The impact of NoPileups at Cherry Blossom Express was seen almost instantly. According to Griffin, NoPileups was successfully averting incidents traditional anti-collision could never otherwise prevent. “A lady put herself in reverse...and started literally going backwards through the tunnel. And NoPileups shut it down,” said Griffin. “She ended up a half an inch from hitting the car behind her, and if NoPileups hadn’t stopped the tunnel, that car would have still been going forward. There would have been a clear-cut collision, but thanks to the tunnel getting shut off, that gave us the half an inch that we needed to avoid anything.”
Just as important to Cherry Blossom Express was the cost savings. In just four months of using NoPileups, Griffin estimates the service saved Cherry Blossom Express $6000 in damages and insurance deductibles alone. “...[E]ven if it saves you one pileup a year, one pileup every five years, it’s worth it. It’ll make things safer and make operators, in the long run, more money,” said Griffin.
So too did NoPileups’ dedicated service team. “They’re easy to get in touch with if I ever have a question or need some sort of service. It’s very easy to get somebody on the phone. They’ll even call me if they notice there’s something offline or doesn’t look right; they’ll call me to try and get it figured out. Especially on the weekends," said Griffin. “...[M]ost of these other companies, on the weekends, it’s basically emergency only if you can get somebody. It makes it a bit more difficult because if I just had a minor thing I wanted worked out, I’d have to wait till Monday—and you really need them most on the weekends! It’s nice with NoPileups. Somebody picks up the phone every time no matter when.”
NoPileups’ influence on Cherry Blossom Express extended beyond simple collision prevention. According to Griffin, the reliability and always-on protection gave his employees confidence and peace-of-mind.
"...[E]ven if it saves you one pileup a year, one pileup every five years, it’s worth it. It’ll make things safer and make operators, in the long run, more money,”Fain GriffinOwner & Operator
After witnessing the success of NoPileups at Cherry Blossom Express, Griffin found the service functioned well as a selling point for the car wash. “Anytime something happens, we tell them, ‘we have this system in place.’ Sometimes people are intimidated by going through, and you can tell them that we’ve got this in place, that anywhere in that tunnel where something could go wrong, we’re gonna shut it down. We’re gonna be able to get you through safely every single time,” said Griffin.
For Griffin and everyone at Cherry Blossom Express, it’s difficult to imagine operating a car wash without NoPileups. “I sit here in the office. I’ve got the cameras up. I stare at them all the time, and I’ve had it a couple times where I see a car starting to jump and NoPileups shuts it down. Knowing that I may not have been able to react fast enough if something happens is great. It saves you a lot of money, but at the very least, it saves a whole lot of headache having to deal with all that.”
As Cherry Blossom Express looks to expand, Griffin says NoPileups already has a place in the tunnel. “I will definitely be installing NoPileups at the next location.”