Derks Carwash combines washing with a bakery and supermarket

You do your groceries more often than you fill up your tank, argues Arnold Derks. The entrepreneur runs  Derks Carwash and a large supermarket with its own bakery in The Netherlands. He used to combine it all with a petrol station, but that is now closed. The car wash has a rollover and three washing bays.

A supermarket for daily shopping combines very well with a car wash. Even better than a petrol station. Arnold Derks of Derks Carwash in Overasselt is adamant about this. Recently, the company he runs together with his brother Arnold, moved from one side of the village to the other.

Relocation

Who enters Overasselt on the N846 sees on the right side of the road a small green Plus shop, with a petrol station behind it. The whole place looks deserted. A large and eye-catching sign shows the way; the supermarket here is closed, you have to go further in the village. A little further on, there is a brand new supermarket. Thanks to the use of wooden beams and pointed roofs, the whole place has an Austrian feel to it. The shop has a cosy terrace where fresh bread rolls are served. Wooden planters are placed at various points. The car park with 70 spaces, including charging points, is tidy and clean. It is a fresh place to be. Diagonally behind the shop is Car wash Derks: a car wash with an unmanned rollover and three washing bays.

Daily groceries

Whereas Derks combined a petrol station, car wash and supermarket at the old location, the new one has only a shop and car wash. The entrepreneur sees more in the combination of car wash and supermarket. Due to the increase in scale of the supermarket, Derks has moved from a local to a regional function, which justifies the relocation and expansion of the car wash, even though it no longer has a petrol station. “Customers do their shopping more often than they come to refuel,” is Derks’ logical explanation.

Choices

The filling station is now closed. The entrepreneur explains that filling station entrepreneurs are currently faced with various choices. Do you go along with the energy transition (and if so, in what way) or do you close your doors? Do you go for charging, hydrogen or other alternatives? Derks explains his decision to close: “It requires large investments and there is enough competition in the region. I decided to focus on the supermarket, bakery and car wash. Besides the energy transition, people are filling up less and less often, electric cars are loaded at the door. And a second car is becoming less and less common. But you will always need groceries.”

Washing figures

That this combination works well is shown by the wash figures of the car wash. At that small supermarket, 150 to 200 washes were performed in a week on WashTec’s machine. Derks sees this doubling. “The wash bays are also a hit,” he says. “They are new, modern and fully equipped. We are already seeing that we are well found, even without the promotion having started.”

“The car wash is actually a hobby,” says Derks, who himself drives a white, electric Peugeot 5008. He regularly grabs the best programme. “The location is unmanned. New construction requires a considerable investment. The core business is the technical aspect, not the staff.”

Adjustments

Derks uses a WashTec for washing, just like at the old location. The machine could last a while longer. However, the necessary modifications have been made, says Derks. The rollover now has a splash screen, the brushes have been replaced, and the machine is connected to a new order system. Customers pay either in the lunchroom or at the POS next to the machine. A laundry pass can also be purchased at the counter. The building in which the rollover is located is closed off with rolling doors, to reduce noise in the surrounding area. The chemistry is also from WashTec. “It is easy with the adjustments”, says Derks. “It just works well together.”

The new building of both supermarket and car wash went quickly. Once all the decisions had been made, the location was up and running within four months. “Getting power and water connected on time was more of a struggle than moving and refurbishing the machine,” laughs Derks.

Author: Marilon Tresfon

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