Cherry Is Shutting Down Its On-Demand Car Wash Service, Will Refund Pre-Paid Customers

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Cherry, a startup that has been described as “Uber for car washes,” is shutting down its service as of today, according to a statement from the company.

Cherry says that it plans to “pursue an exciting opportunity.” It also claims to be exploring “alternate options for the Cherry car wash business” (which allows web and smartphone users to order a car wash at their location). In the meantime, the company says that it will be refunding everyone who prepaid for a wash, and it will be working with Groupon and LivingSocial to do the same for customers who paid through the group-buying services.

CEO Travis VanderZanden told me that (understandably) he isn’t offering too many details about the company’s new direction, but he did clarify that it definitely won’t be a revamped version of the car wash business. As for why they’re announcing the news now, he said, “While running Cherry, we discovered another opportunity that the team and board decided we should very quickly pursue.”

The company has raised a total of $5.25 million from Shasta Ventures, Founders Fund, and others. Its statement is now live on the Cherry site. Here’s the full text:

To our loyal Cherry customers,

Thank you for your incredible support and patronage of Cherry! We set out with the ambition to be the best car wash on the planet and fundamentally change the way a consumer orders, experiences, and buys a car wash. Over the past year we’ve washed thousands of cars each month in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego. We have been gratified that the vast majority of our customers rate their Cherry car wash service with very high marks. People genuinely seemed to really like the Cherry concept. We’ve been moving quickly, testing new things and making improvements across our business. In all cases, the goal has been to provide the consumer with a convenient, quality car wash at a good value.

After over a year in market, we’ve decided to change courses a bit and pursue an exciting opportunity that emerged while running Cherry. As of December 23rd, we will cease car wash services while we explore alternative options for the Cherry car wash business.

Over the next 10 days, we will be directly providing refunds to all customers who have pre-paid for car washes with us, and working with our marketing partners, Groupon andLivingSocial, to issue refunds on any outstanding deal coupons.

We really appreciate your loyalty and your excitement about Cherry and we sincerely thank you for your business. If you have any thoughts or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at help@cherry.com.

-The Cherry Team