Fast Eddie’s – a Maine car wash business with a location on Pleasant Street in Brunswick – sold for an undisclosed price earlier this month to a Connecticut-based holding company.
Brunswick’s Fast Eddie’s opened in September 2019 and is the second location. The original Fast Eddie’s opened in Augusta in January 2016.
Ed Goff, the former owner, declined to specify the sale price and the name of the business, but said the buyer told him the Fast Eddie name would stay with its current 20 employees. He said the company plans to add more locations. Attempts to contact Jim Waterman, a spokesperson for the company, were unsuccessful on Monday.
The total value of the parcels appraised for the Brunswick location is approximately $1.17 million, according to city records. The Augusta location is valued at $761,600.
Goff, who owned both locations, said the reason for the sale was twofold — incoming competition and a booming real estate market. “We got a price that was hard to say no to,” he said.
Prior to the sale, plans for new locations in Bangor and Brewer fell through due to competition, Goff said.
A site he was considering in Bangor failed after it was outbid by a private equity group that was also looking to build a car wash, Goff said. Then, a few days later, Goff pulled out of a second proposed location in Brewer after learning another car wash was being built just down the road.
“That’s when we decided maybe we were on the wrong side, things were getting pretty aggressive and we were seeing a lot, hearing a lot of rumors about other washes and maybe we should- we consider selling both of our locations,” Goff said.
The industry is apparently growing in Maine, Goff said, a trend he says will continue in part fueled by membership services and chain car washes. His business has seen continued growth, he added, with last year being his best ever.
In the Midcoast, Casco Bay Car Wash in Freeport opened in May 2021, according to the company’s social media page.
In the fall, the City of Topsham approved plans for a new car wash submitted by a Texas-based group for a site off Topsham Fair Mall Road. This will be the city’s second car wash, called Shammy’s Carwash.
According to one of the company’s directors, Jon Young, the Topsham location is one of about 10 proposed sites in Maine and 20 throughout New England. Young said the focus isn’t on express car washes in the area, like the one at Fast Eddie’s, which uses more modern washing technology than some of New England’s older businesses. Shammy’s will be membership-based, meaning subscribers will be able to visit all sites.
“New England is actually a really good car wash environment unlike some other parts of the United States, it’s really a need in New England with the weather and the environment there,” said Young.
Nationally, there were 16,976 car washes in 2019, an increase of 6.8% from 2015, according to a June 2021 report from the United States Census Bureau. The same report states that in 2017, “Maine car wash employees were the most ‘productive,’ generating $94,234 in sales per employee, compared to $60,099 for the nation.”
Car wash sales in North America currently total about $15 billion, according to the International Carwash Association. The organization also reports that the percentage of U.S. drivers who most often wash their vehicle at a car wash has increased from around 48% in 1995 to around 77% in 2019.
Goff, a Norridgewock resident, started in the car wash business after buying Butler’s Car Wash in Skowhegan from his stepfather in 2009. He sold Butler’s in 2019. Goff said he was a little sad to to part ways with his business, but also excited to see him grow in the years to come. The name Fast Eddie’s comes from Goff’s grandfather, who bore this nickname.
“The next steps for me, I’m not really sure,” Goff said. “I work a bit part-time with our car wash broker, and we’ll wait and see what the future holds, I guess.”