Ground Breaking - January 2013
Garden Street Car Wash is open again after being closed on-and-off for about three years. The new owners, Shawn Martin and Forrest DeMaria, plan to preserve the hand wash history of the business with 11 employees that wash vehicles before they go through the tunnel.
The location has been hand washing cars since 1951, and the new owners did not try to change that. Martin noted that he wanted the wash to be known for the best customer service in town, and he wanted customers to have a better experience at this carwash than anywhere else. Martin and Forrest “put a lot of blood sweat and tears” into the renovation.
The carwash has two bays, one for washing and the other for detailing. Hours run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Pickup and delivery are also available downtown.
The newly-opened Station Auto Wash Exterior Express offers a high quality carwash in eight minutes or less. This new exterior express location is an extension of the full-service Station Auto Wash in Leesburg, VA.
According to Tom Magazzine and Ryan Magazzine, owners of the family business, the concept in building the new location was to establish a “hub” and “spoke” for Station Auto Wash customers. The goal was to get customers in and out quickly for frequent exterior cleaning between full-service cleanings.
The original Station Auto Wash location in Leesburg has over 2.5 acres and 14,000 square feet in two buildings to handle both interior and exterior cleaning plus detailing efficiently.
Michael Shullman, owner of the newly opened Russell Speeder’s Car Wash, renovated a 3,737-square-foot building that previously housed The Villa Ave. Car Wash. To celebrate his achievement, Shullman offered free washes for the first three days of operation.
Russell Speeder’s was first started by Shullman’s grandfather Herman in 1963. The company is based in Norwalk, CT, and has locations in Norwalk, Stamford, Milford, Shelton and now Fairfield. It also has smaller venues in the Midwest and Florida.
Shullman jumped at the opportunity to establish another location in Fairfield when the Villa Ave. Carwash, which was in operation for more than 50 years, suddenly closed in the spring.
Streams of cars poured in during the opening weekend to take advantage of the free offer. Shullman stated that the response was strong all three days.
NORTH PLATTE, NE
A muffler and tire center here added a new express wash tunnel. The 125-foot tunnel is the only express wash in the area, and it includes top brushes, wrap-arounds, wheel cleaning, tire dressing and a drying system.
Owner Gary Jones wanted to expand services at the location by adding the Super Suds carwash. Jones saw a huge opportunity in this market for an express carwash, and he wanted to provide a safe, effective and fast wash experience for customers. Being new to the carwash business, Jones also selected equipment that was reliable and easy to operate.
SOUTH HOLLAND, IL
The village board here voted unanimously to provide a $175,000 tax incentive that would bring a carwash and possibly a restaurant and retailer to the area. The potential owners will apply for $175,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) eligible funds. Money needed for demolition of the old buildings, landscaping and carwash construction are all TIF eligible expenditures.
In a TIF district, taxes generated from the development are used to make further improvements in the district. The carwash’s developer noted that the TIF agreement would expedite building the wash and also attract other developers to the property.
The carwash will take up about an acre of the 3.3-acre property that used to be a car dealership. A restaurant and a retail outlet are potential suitors for the other two acres.
SANTA CLARITA, CA
Owner/builder Ryan Kuhns has settled a 25-year ground lease on a 2.2-acre piece of property that will house a new carwash called Dapper Dan’s. The three-year process took so much time because of economic hardship the land’s owner, NAI Capital, was experiencing as a result of the 2008 recession.
Construction on the wash will soon begin, and the site sees around 53,000 cars per day. City planners wanted to be careful about what was built on the site, but they ultimately decided that a business that would generate jobs would be best.
There were several other proposed plans that were all pulled during early stages of planning. These included a fast-food restaurant and a Mini Cooper dealership.
Kuhns wants to incorporate certain architectural motifs that will be unique to the wash. These include a 35-foot tower with shutters and an overall “Tommy Bahama” feel. The wash will feature $500,000 worth of state-of-the-art equipment and a 150-foot conveyor. Washes will start at $5, and there will be commercial-grade vacuums on-site.
Lulu’s Carwash will add a new location here after final approval from the city’s planning director. The plan did not have to go before the city council since the lot’s concept plan from 2006 stated that future approvals could come from the planning director.
The area is zoned “planned commercial,” and a carwash is considered vehicle sales and service in the city’s zoning ordinance. Co-owner Carlos Marban was excited to receive the quick approval.
Customers asked for a Lulu’s in this area, and the owners like this location since it is near a shopping center. The new wash will be approximately 4,000 square feet in size, and it will include 21 free vacuums.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
An Auckland Transport car park here is adding services to better compete with commercial operators. Dry cleaning pickup and drop-off, carwashing and valet services will be introduced at a downtown car park.
An Auckland Transport spokesman said the additions would make money rather than cost the organization anything. Under a commercial arrangement, the space will be leased to a private operator. In November, the contract still had to be formally signed.
The carwash and valet operation will take up eight parking spaces near the car park’s entrance. Customer feedback and service performance will be evaluated before the services are expanded to other locations.
An entrepreneur here installed a dog wash in the self-serve stall of a friend’s carwash. Tracy Davis owns a local fitness franchise, and he was inspired to open the pet wash when he discovered a similar business model in Las Vegas. The cost for the service is $7 for 10 minutes, and it is open 24/7.
The pet wash includes a sprayer with heated water, two soap options and two conditioners. After a final rinse, owners can apply a deodorizer. As every customer leaves, he or she can push a button to apply a disinfectant rinse to the tub. Davis and a helper will visit the pet wash daily to clean up the space as well.
Davis noted that most people don’t want to wash large dogs at home. It can be a hassle, especially if a dog owner wants to keep a bathroom clean.
RARITAN TOWNSHIP, NJ
The roof trusses have been installed for the rebuilding of a Shammy Shine carwash that was destroyed by a fire here in September. Even so, the roof was not the only part of the carwash that needed replacing. All of the automatic carwash equipment was destroyed during the fire as well.
Craig Stem, president of family business, said the new equipment would be quite different than what the wash used before. One example was the new state of the art dryer. The low-energy and low-noise dryer was made by a company in Colorado, and it is a high-end unit.
While waiting for the rebuild, the location was still offering hand carwashes and oil changes. The wash was also selling gift cards that are good for other automatic Shammy Shine locations.
Previously, using the automatic wash, the location could process a car in 10 or 15 minutes, according to Stem. Now, hand washing, it takes the employees about 35 minutes complete a wash. Hand washing, the location can only do about 40 percent of the business it could before the fire.
Gene and Jean Anderson owned and operated Bonanza Car Wash here for 25 years, but they recently sold the wash to another couple. Dan and Bev Reinholdt took possession of the carwash last fall. Dan is co-owner of Top Notch Auto Repair and Bev works in a store bakery.
Bonanza’s hours of operation and prices will stay the same. Joe Daniel will serve as manager of the wash and be on-site Monday through Friday. Two high school students will work at the wash on the weekends.