John Borek, owner and operator of Jurassic Car Wash, is a self-described “weird guy.” But in the city of Austin, where the unofficial but loved slogan is “Keep Austin Weird,” he and his wash fit in perfectly. “Weird” seems a bit harsh, though. “Unique” is probably a more accurate way to describe both John and his dinosaur-themed car wash.
Located on the south side of Austin, Jurassic features awesome realistic dinosaur statues and animatronic dinosaurs, including a T-rex that spits water on your windshield before you enter the in-bay automatic! You can even pay a few quarters and watch a quick show of more moving dinosaurs directly behind the car wash.
Our Visit to Jurassic Car Wash
We visited Jurassic Car Wash on a hot summer day, and it was bustling with activity, with no shortage of customers enjoying the fun car wash as well as a food truck that was stationed on the property.
Even while we visited, John spent a lot of time fixing and servicing equipment, working so hard he was sweating through his shirt – but still doing it all with a smile. His right-hand man, Martin, was on site working too. Donning a large straw hat to protect himself from the sun, he hustled between the bays to keep everything moving and take care of anything John didn’t have time to handle. John was nice enough to take a break and talk with us a little bit about Jurassic.
How Jurassic Car Wash Began
John owned his own body shop, but sold it after about thirty years in business. After selling, he eventually “needed something to do” with his time. Already a real estate investor, John was always on the lookout for a good opportunity. About six years ago, he heard about plans for some new apartment complex builds. He realized that investing in the nearby car wash would be smart, even if only for the property value. As it turns out, John quickly became a fully-committed car wash operator, remarking, “One thing led to another, and I just kind of kept tinkering with stuff, and now we’ve increased sales about 900%, basically.”
Taking Jurassic to the Next Level
An important step in Jurassic becoming what it is now came from a somewhat unpleasant situation with John’s neighborhood association. Even before owning a car wash, John always had oddities like flying saucers, dinosaurs, and Halloween characters. He had two dinosaurs out for Halloween one year, but liked them so much that he left them up well past the holiday. The neighborhood association “didn’t like that,” and pressured him to get rid of them, so he moved them to the car wash.
It seemed right, so John embraced the concept. He bought some static dinosaurs, which worked perfectly for people to pose with in pictures. A few more animatronic dinosaurs were added and the old Solar Car Wash name was replaced.
“It’s something extra, kinda cool to do…. kinda fun,” John says. “I called it Jurassic Car Wash and the rest is history. The kids like the dinosaur theme, and it’s just something different.”Aside from the dinosaurs, there are also great details like big dinosaur prints leading in and out of the wash, and a really neat “Jurassic Pet Wash” station. To top it off, the vending machines, signage, and trash cans all feature bright, colorful Jurassic branding to tie it all together.
The previous owner bought supplies from Kleen-Rite, and that’s how John was introduced to us. We were pleased to hear that John had kind words to say about Kleen-Rite:
“We really like Kleen-Rite. You have decent prices and don’t gouge people – you’re fair. I like the fact that they opened up a Texas location years back. I’ve been real happy with Kleen-Rite.”
Keeping it Fun at Jurassic
Adding new elements to the customer experience is still exciting for John. He told us about a future update with a dinosaur that comes alive during the rinse process in one of the in-bay automatic bays, featuring opening and closing eyes, a wagging tail, and even a shrieking sound. Hard work combined with a genuine passion for creating a fun, quirky experience will make Jurassic a hit in Austin for years to come.
There’s no question about it, the car wash world has a lot of unique characters, and Kleen-Rite is always happy to get to know one better! Thanks for the visit, John! Check out more pictures from Jurassic Car Wash below!