Lexington is seeing a boom in car washes
If your car is looking a tad dusty and covered with a fine patina of former bugs it’s your own fault.
Lexington is booming with new and soon-to-open car washes that will cater to every need, from extra-strong foam cleaner to passes that allow you to wash your car every day if you like.
Consider the short stretch of New Circle Road starting with the newly opened Shine car wash at North Park: A few blocks away, there’s the GooGoo car wash off North Limestone at New Circle, and just a few blocks beyond that, a Sami’s Car Wash near New Circle and Bryan Avenue.
Rainstorm is renovating the former Mr. Sparkle’s car wash at 2637 Richmond Road, but is open for business. The Mr. Sparkle off Southland Drive remains open, around the corner from longtime Lexington favorite Jeff’s Car Wash. Rainstorm also has a car wash operating in front of the Meijer store near Ruccio Way in south Lexington, and is building another near the Meijer off Sir Barton Way in Hamburg.
Rainstorm offers single washes and a monthly pass in which customers purchase a metal strip that is read by the car wash. The strip allows them unlimited washes during a month.
Rainstorm has eight locations in Illinois.
Anthony Vanderpool, a Rainstorm customer service representative for Lexington, said that Lexington’s weather — a dizzy mix of ice, salt, streaky pollen, rain and parching heat — makes it a good place for car washes.
“Lexington is a very densely populated area, and the majority of people do like to take care of their cars,” Vanderpool said. “Kentucky has a variety of weather to offer. ... Kentucky definitely does very well in terms of the car wash industry. There’s always going to be a need to have your car cleaned.”
Time to Shine, which has locations in Tennessee and South Carolina, also offers an unlimited monthly wash package.
While individual car washes vary in prices and services offered, a no-frills wash generally runs around $10, running up to as much as $30 with interior cleaning and exterior services including tire shine, upgraded washing foam and clear coat protectant.
Dean King, a regional manager of Time to Shine, said that the company’s location in Georgetown will open within the next two weeks. A Hamburg location is under construction in the area off Grey Lag near Walmart and Lowe’s. Another Time to Shine will open on Shakey Way off Leestown Road.
Why the car wash boom? The consultant website BrandonGaille.com says that in the last 15 years, there has been a 69 percent increase in car owners using car washes rather than using their own buckets and rags in the driveway.
The site says that there’s money in those car wash businesses, though: Annual revenue for car washes, including sale of gasoline for those that offer it, is $48 billion.
Although Time to Shine concentrates on the car’s exterior, mat-washing facilities are available, along with free microfiber towels.
“Lexington is kind of perfect for it,” King said of the car wash business. “It’s kind of set up in a wagon wheel kind of shape. Everybody wants a clean, dry shiny car.”