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877-627-5844 US | 866-658-9274 Canada

Mark VII Equipment Inc.


5981 Tennyson St

Arvada, Colorado 80003 USA

+1 800.525.8248 toll free

+1 303.423.4910 direct

+1 303.430.0139 fax



623 S Service Rd Unit 1

Grimsby, ON L3M 4E8 Canada

866.658.9274 toll free

289.235.8325 direct

289.235.7950 fax

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Jake Downey remembers

Carwashes Were a Family Affair

Jake Downey can’t really remember life without a carwash in it. The Northeast regional service leader for Mark VII, Jake and his six siblings grew up in the business—literally.

“Our father opened his first carwash in Portland, Maine in 1969,” Jake recalls. “Dad, Mom and all seven of us worked in the carwash. We grew up in the carwash. You start out mowing the lawns, wiping and vacuuming cars, and pumping gas. They put us on the payroll almost immediately to teach us the value of a dollar. It was a real family business, and it was a lot of fun.”

That was all part of his parents’ master plan. The Downey family originally lived in Boston, where Jake’s father, Francis, built a successful career with Getty Oil. Then, in the mid 60s, Francis and his wife, Brenda, decided to move to Maine. “My folks liked having the family close by and working together,” Jake says. “That’s one of the reasons he started the business. To this day, we all live within 10 minutes of each other.”

The family opened a second carwash in 1971. As family members grew up and married, there was a need for more jobs, so a third carwash opened in 1980. Then in 1993, they became a Mark VII distributor, covering six New England states. That got Jake started with Mark VII, and he never left.

“I started installing and servicing the Mark VII systems we were selling in 1995,” he says. “The family sold the carwashes in 2007, and I just slid into working for Mark VII directly, because that’s what I had been doing for years. It worked out very well for me.”

Total commitment

If family was number one with Francis, the carwashes came in a close second. He was heavily involved in the industry, serving on the boards of both the International and the New England carwash associations, and as president of the New England association. Francis passed away in February, 2017, and was posthumously inducted into the Northeast Regional Carwash Association Hall of Fame later that year.

“He would travel all over the country visiting carwashes and getting ideas, which he would bring back to us to implement in our carwashes,” Jake recalls.

Enjoy learning about the Downey family carwash experience? Read more stories here.