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What's In Your Wash

October 11, 2010
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Business: Elliot Auto Spa

Type: Touchless conveyor, full-serve tunnel

Owner: Pat Drury

Location: Middletown, Ohio

Hours of operation: Mon.–Sat., 9-6 Sun., 10-4

Lot size: 1.2 acres

Year opened: December 1989

Payment options: Cash, check, credit/debit cards

Equipment: Dura Trans XD Belanger conveyor, 110 feet

Staff: 28 to 35 people, some of whom have been with the company for up to 10 years. Most of the employees are either high school or community college students.

Annual volume: 48,900+ vehicles per year

Pricing: From $6 for express exterior to $19.95 for deluxe wash including tires dressing. Several packages in between.

When you walk in: To visit the carwash today, you would be greeted by a welcome sign with a logo, “Making the world a cleaner place…one car at a time.” Music of the 60s is played, car related logos are plastered all over the walls, and nostalgic prints of the community’s popular spots in the 60s an 70s are displayed.

Also of note: Elliot Auto Spa is the only full-service carwash for many miles. “My late husband, Carl, used to wash his own car because the only other one around used brushes and he didn’t want them to ruin his car,” said Pat Drury. Carl retired in 1989 after 30 years of service at a local steel mill and the couple decided to open a carwash to give themselves a change of pace. He passed away after 11 years in the carwash business and Pat has remarried and continues as owner/operator with new husband, Jim. Jim has a full time job during the day and comes into the carwash about 3 p.m. each day and works it until closing and every weekend.

Words of advice: “Being located in such a small community, you have to be close to one another and learn to help each other,” said Pat. “A customer is the most important person in our business. They are not dependent on us, we are dependent on them; they are not an interruption of our work, they are the purpose of it; our service is not a favor, they favor us by letting us serve them; we want them to bring us their needs, it our privilege to handle them.”