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Carwash celebrates 40 years

GALESBURG, Ill. — WaterWorks Car Wash has expanded to include 12 locations throughout Illinois and South Carolina.


GALESBURG, Ill. — Business partners Walter Smith and Jerry Harper opened a touchless carwash, known as JH Car Wash, in Galesburg 40 years ago this month, according to The Register-Mail.

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Now 40 years later, the carwash is named WaterWorks Car Wash, stated the article, and has expanded to include 12 locations throughout Illinois and South Carolina.

On Oct. 16, WaterWorks is dropping its prices to what services cost in 1975 to celebrate its 40 years in business, reported the article.

Free carwashes will also be given away on Facebook throughout October, added the article.

The business started in October 1975 when Smith was searching for a way to get out of the ice business, continued the article.

“He met a guy named Jerry Harper, who pitched him on investing in carwashes,” said David Stukel, Smith’s son-in-law and current owner of WaterWorks, in the article. “He was just looking to get out of the ice business, so it was good timing. He saw a business that had a lot of promise.”


After launching a successful first location, informed the article, Smith started to investigate ways to enhance the business and decided to start making his own soap and equipment.

“It was really his vision of being a vertically integrated company,” stated Stukel in the article. “Basically, everything we put on your car we’ve made or mixed, and we supply to ourselves.”

The business hired a chemist to develop the soap and built a 35,000-square-foot plant to manufacture the soap and equipment, reported the article, and WaterWorks also began to expand and build carwashes throughout the Midwest.


Smith’s daughter, Sheri Stukel, and her husband took over the business in 2012, noted the article, and WaterWorks still makes its own soap and equipment.

Read the entire article here.

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