Parking Czar has responded twice to my comments on Central parking. First here. I went back to him privately as follows:
He built a parking empire. They must have done something right, particularly in the beginning. No one said that they did a good job parking cars. It all relates to their city managers. Good ones do a good job, bad ones don’t. I think this may be true for all operators, not just Central.
And then he responded privately:
You asked for people to respond and now I feel you have taken this as a personal hit. Mr. Carell needs to stop blaming everyone around him for his stocks problems and start looking inside. He did in fact build an empire, but he did not know how to manage the growth. Mr. Carell is a very smart person, He has some very smart and intelligent people working for the company, but unfortunately, I continue to see more and more situations where city managers and higher ups fail the most basic item needed in the parking industry…. Customer Service and keeping it fresh………
So I asked him if we could bring it public and he agreed. My response to him:
We had a governor once in California who said "less is more." His position (Jerry Brown, that is) was that the larger things get, the less chance there is of doing a good job. A good friend who happened to work for Central once told me that there are only so many good people in parking, and as your company grows, their ability to affect the outcome of a parking facility grows less and less.
Monroe Carrel has all the right things in place — training programs, management training, educational requirements, extremely complex hiring practices. He also has had, up to 911, an aggressive policy of buyouts and "take aways". He told me once in an interview that his company could, on balance, "take away" locations from his competition on a regular basis.
Central’s losses in numbers of locations in the past three years (from a high of what over 4500 to around 3400 now, that’s 25%) may mean that they are having difficulty "keeping" rather than "taking away." Unfortunately, in the end, the thing that matters is the bottom line.