Twelve years ago, Nancy Luciani operated a precast concrete business. Interested in expanding her business opportunities, she explored possible options for a plot of available land next to her existing company. Luciani considered opening up a car wash. Her property, located along a bustling stretch of road in Scranton, PA, had great visibility and plenty of potential customers.
The idea blossomed into a perfect fit. Luciani had never owned a car wash, but had some familiarity with the industry and was already comfortable running a company. She set to work conducting feasibility studies and visiting other car washes in the tri-state area.
“I developed a business plan and a layout of the facility,” Luciani said. “We built it in 2006, and we opened in January of 2007.”
Luciani built and named the wash in memory of her late father, Johnny Luciani.
Today, Johnny’s Car Wash has become so popular that it serves as Luciani’s primary business. The site can see over 400 cars on busy days, and often reaches 8,000 over the course of a month. Constructed of gleaming chrome and translucent green glass, the wash shines like a little Emerald City, twinkling at drivers as they come around a corner.
“I saw (a glass car wash) in another state,” Luciani said. “The one thing that impressed me about glass was that, as a woman, it felt clean, safe, and bright. It felt like a great experience. I felt good, as opposed to going through a car wash that was enclosed and could look dingy if the operators don’t stay on top of it.
“Although the glass is high maintenance, it’s well worth it. It’s part of our brand. In our area, we’re known as the all-glass green car wash.”
Luciani takes the “green” aspect of her business seriously. Once it became known for its coloring throughout the area, Johnny’s began advertising as “The Green Car Wash…Literally!” The business is constructed with an environmentally green approach in mind, and utilizes a reclaimed water system to cut down on the use of public water and sewer lines.
Johnny’s Car Wash consists of three self serve bays, a friction automatic, and a touchless automatic. Each self serve bay is outfitted with a handheld air dryer, and all bays accept credit card payment. Luciani is looking forward to adding contactless payment acceptance, such as Apple Pay, as well.
“When we opened in 2007, we found that maybe 20% of the population had an iPhone or Android. Now, it’s over 90%. Here we are, 12 years later, and people are much more patient waiting in a line that’s out to the road, because they can multitask on their device. So, that has gotten better for us in the industry – people will wait, but they still like the convenience of the tap-and-pay,” she said. “You need convenience for the customer. This is a society now that can sit on their couch and order food to be brought to them all the time, and shop from home. When they do go out, they want immediate satisfaction.
“That’s why I’m thinking the tap-and-pay is very good. Especially the younger generations (who) don’t want to have to interact – I think they like coming to this kind of environment where they don’t have to interact with an attendant. They go into the wash, they do the thing, and then they’re gone!”
The property also features seven vacuums, a detailing area, and multiple vending machines.
“Our automatics are our mainstay,” Luciani said. “But our vacuum and vending areas are constantly busy, too, even (on) bad weather days. And on rainy days, we have people who (still) come through the automatic.”
Luciani notes that, despite the popularity of her automatic bays, there’s still a strong market for self serve.
“There will always be a place for all three: tunnel, in-bay automatic, and self serve. We find that some people with the most high-end cars are the most particular about preserving what they consider an asset, not something that’s depreciable,” she said. “No matter what state you go to, they’re in the self serve doing their own car. We still, nonetheless, get high-end Maseratis through our automatic bays. And Lamborghinis!”
Johnny’s car wash is open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year.
“We’re never down. If we are, it’s a very short period of time. People love the experience… clean, bright, safe,” Luciani said. “We have 24 cameras on site, all over the place, and people like knowing that.”
Luciani only closes for one day of parking lot repairs each year, and then it’s back to business. She is assisted by a small part-time staff who handles maintenance and groundskeeping. Thanks to their dedication, Scranton-area drivers are always able to access their favorite wash at any time of day – or night!
Check out Johnny’s Car Wash online at http://johnnysbestcarwash.com/, or stop by and visit then in Scranton!
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