Story courtesy of convenience store trade publication CSP
Sonny Fazio, founder of Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory, has died. He was 86.
“Sonny’s has lost a great man,” the Tamarac, Fla.-based company said in a statement announcing his passing.
“Entering the car wash industry in 1949, Sonny Fazio discovered his passion and spent each day of his career pushing himself, and inspiring everyone he encountered, to do more–to be more–to try harder. We are saddened at the loss of our founder, grateful for the lessons he imparted and glad that he is once again able to be with his beloved wife Gloria. Mr. Sonny inspired all of us to become someone better and his legacy will live on in everything we do. His energy, enthusiasm, and love so freely given will be deeply missed,” the statement said.
In 2011, the Western Carwash Association (WCA) honored Fazio with its Lifetime Achievement award, created to recognize and honor the achievements of an individual or manufacturer that has made an invaluable and measurable impact on the past, present and future of the car wash industry.
Getting his start in the car wash business as an owner/operator of a full-service car wash in 1949, Fazio’s extensive career in the industry turned to the supply side of the business in 1978 when he founded Sonny’s Enterprises.
“If you had told me 62 years ago, when I opened my first full-serve car wash, that I would be receiving an award like this I’d have told you you were crazy” said Fazio in accepting the award.
“I never meant to manufacture car wash equipment or sell replacement parts, let alone become the largest in the world,” he said. “My sons took over the car washes in the 1970s when I retired. To keep busy, I started selling replacement parts and cutting synthetic chamois. Today, under the direction of my son Paul, the company is dedicated to using technology and training to help our clients succeed with products proudly designed and built in the U.S.A. I am deeply humbled to be receiving this award. Having served in the United States Navy as a young man, I am especially honored that the ceremony was on a retired Navy vessel. This industry has given me much more than I have given to it, and for that, I thank you.”
With full tunnel systems in every state, and equipment in countries worldwide, Sonny’s is the parent to four distinct operations to support conveyorized car wash operators; AutoPilot CarWash Control Systems, CarWash College, Sonny’s Car Wash Parts Division and Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory, a leading manufacturer of conveyorized car wash equipment, parts and supplies.
The company said that in lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At Sonny’s request, a private memorial service and funeral will be held for immediate family members only.