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Mike's Carwash to split in two

Succession plan developed to help companies grow

The Mike’s Carwash dynasty is about to be split.

The Mike’s Carwash owners, brothers Bill Dahm and Mike Dahm, on Friday announced reorganization plans that will split the business their father started in 1948 into two independent companies. The change is expected to be completed in early October. Mike’s has about 750 employees with its 41 locations.

“Over the last couple of years, as Mike and I talked about the future of Mike’s Carwash, we began to realize the potential for growth and continuing the business well beyond our lifetimes. We came to the conclusion that our families long-term opportunities increased if we reorganized into two separate companies,” Mike’s Carwash CEO Bill Dahm said.

Under the plan, Bill Dahm will operate 26 carwashes in central Indiana including the metro Indianapolis area, Lafayette, Kokomo, Terre Haute, Anderson and Columbus, while Mike Dahm will operate 15 carwashes in Cincinnati, Dayton, Evansville, Fort Wayne and Mishawaka. The two brothers have worked together for 27 years. They said in a statement that they collaborated on the vision for the future.

Bill Dahm’s central Indiana locations will operate under the same branded look, with a new name: Crew Carwash.

“Mike’s Carwash has always been recognized for our team of outstanding young men and women who serve our customers every day. The name Crew Carwash was chosen to acknowledge the key to our success, our people,” Bill Dahm said.

Mike Dahm’s 15 locations will keep the name, Mike’s, with a new branded look.

The carwash in June closed one of its most visible Fort Wayne locations, at Coldwater Road and Coliseum Boulevard, after failing to come to terms for a new lease with Glenbrook Square’s owner. Jared the Galleria of Jewelry plans to build a retail store at the site.

Family patriarch Joe Dahm founded the company in Fort Wayne with his brother Ed Dahm, opening “Mike’s Minit Man,” Indiana’s first automated carwash. At the time, just 18 automated carwashes operated in the United States. Mike’s said it has maintained state-of-the art carwashing technology and friendly customer service. But the business is also widely known for the stuffed animals that greet customers at the wash entrance.

Bill Dahm said the reorganization decision was not “taken lightly.”

“We’ve spent many months in discussions with each other and consultants who specialize in family business succession planning. This is a friendly reorganization that will lead to more growth for both of the new companies,” he said.

“Succession planning is very important,” Vice President Mike Dahm said. “By making these plans now when the company is financially strong and when there is no urgency or outside forces dictating action, we can make wise and well thought out decisions for the future.”

Bill Dahm’s company, Crew Carwash, will remain headquartered in Indianapolis; Mike Dahm’s company will have headquarters in Cincinnati, in addition to the Fort Wayne office. All existing Mike’s Carwash book tickets and coupons will always be accepted at Crew Carwash and Mike’s Carwash, the company said.