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Pull Up a Chair with Qual Chem

Pull Up a Chair with Qual Chem

March 15, 2024

4 minute Read

At the Qual Chem family table, innovation comes naturally and car washing is the favorite topic.

In this fast-paced world where Zoom is the new conference room and face-to-face interactions are usually happening in front of a computer, sitting down for a meal at the Qual Chem family table is quite the experience — one that CEO Claudia Moldovan Crea loves to share with as many people as possible. Everyone’s favorite topic is car washes and the conversations can be quite electric as ideas and opinions are shared as easily as the wine and coffee cake. They might even include some barking — valued input from the Qual Chem four-legged mascots, Bart and Brisco. 

“I grew up in a home where it was always the more the merrier,” Moldovan Crea said, and this culture of inclusivity and warmth has always extended to the business, where customers and employees are considered part of the Qual Chem family. 

Lately, the importance of innovation and environmental responsibility in the car wash industry has been front and center at these family gatherings. It's a topic that Moldovan Crea prioritizes at Qual Chem, as does her father, Joseph Moldovan, who founded the business. 

A Legacy of Environmental Responsibility

Qual Chem's dedication to environmentally responsible practices can be traced back to its inception. Moldovan, a chemist by trade, started his car wash career at a chemical OEM, where he witnessed the widespread use of hazardous chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid. Once he owned his own car washes, his concern for the safety of both employees and customers drove him to embark on a mission to reformulate car wash products. Moldovan aimed to create products that were not only effective but also safe for people and the environment. 13 Champion QualChem group vt

This commitment to safety and environmental responsibility prompted the founding of Qual Chem. “It goes back to the very beginning, of my dad being in the industry and feeling very strongly about formulating in such a way that it’s going to be the cleanest possible formula for the people that are around these products as well as for the environment,” Moldovan Crea said.

Initially, the company primarily served its own car wash operations, striving to develop cleaner and safer chemistry. Over time, Qual Chem expanded into a global company, providing eco-friendly car wash chemicals to customers worldwide.

Going Beyond Standards

Qual Chem's dedication to green chemistry goes beyond meeting minimum requirements. The company previously obtained U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification for several products, signifying their commitment to environmentally friendly formulations. While they have chosen not to renew these certifications due to concerns about intellectual property, their products still adhere to the same high standards as well as their raw materials are EPA certified. “We continue to do everything we can to use the cleanest possible raw materials,” Moldovan Crea said.

Furthermore, Qual Chem’s global presence, particularly in countries like Germany, where the European Union has stringent environmental regulations, necessitates compliance with elevated standards. Moldovan Crea said, “The EU has a much more stringent standard for clean chemistry. We comply by those standards globally, going above and beyond the standards present in the United States.” 

Innovative for a Purpose

Qual Chem's approach to innovation is customer-centric. Unlike many companies that innovate for the purpose of driving sales, Qual Chem’s innovations are driven by the needs of car wash operators. They don’t create new products just to increase sales; instead, their innovations are born out of a genuine desire to improve car wash operations and customer experiences. Moldovan Crea said, “We don't believe in creating new products just for the sake of being able to sell our customers one more product so we can add more sales to our bottom line. We create products out of a need and that’s where most of our products were born.”

Even when Qual Chem enters product segments where others have already ventured, they aim to enhance existing offerings. Rather than merely replicating what others are doing, they strive to make those products better. “It’s always been about service to the customer. We always try to go the next step and do better or make an improvement to what's out there,” Moldovan Crea said.

The Future of Car Washing

Looking ahead, Moldovan Crea predicts an intriguing future for the car wash industry. “If you add up the top five largest operators, the biggest consolidators, in our industry, it still makes up less than 10% of the total car wash market,” Moldovan Crea said. While there has been consolidation in recent years, she said a significant portion of car washes remain family-owned or independently operated. 

Furthermore, new operators from diverse industries bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the car wash sector. Their unique experiences and innovations have the potential to drive the industry forward, introducing new advancements and efficiencies. “I hope that more people from outside of this industry decide to come in. I think that’s where we’re going to get a lot of great new ideas — from them bringing in ideas and experiences from other industries and applying them here. New advancements will come into this industry as a result of that,” Moldovan Crea said.

As Qual Chem approaches its 20th anniversary, innovation combined with cutting edge technology and green chemistry will remain priorities. But it is the people — the family and the home — that will always remain the top priority. “The people make everything happen and make Qual Chem what it is,” Moldovan Crea said.

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