Operator Spotlight: U Wash Auto Systems

U Wash Auto Systems has been a mainstay in the Nashville region since Tex Hibler started the first wash in 1986. Upon his passing, Tex left the multi-location business to his children. A.O. and Alice Hibler Yokosuk ran and maintained the washes along with Alice’s husband, John Yokosuk, and eventually their son Michael. Little Finn, Michael’s son, will be the 4th generation to one day run the U Wash group of washes if he wishes, a legacy that is still going strong. These washes are local favorites, standing the test of time and providing reliable self-serve and touch-free options sought after by locals and passers by alike.

A U-Wash Family Legacy

While the original founders have all since passed away, John and Michael learned the “ins and outs” of running and maintaining the car washes from Alice and A.O working along side them through the years. John worked at and retired from a career outside the wash. Meanwhile, his beautiful wife Alice dedicated her time to maintaining and growing the business, basically running 5 locations on her own. When A.O. passed away in 2017, John and Alice carried on to keep each location plugging away. And, after Alice passed, shares were passed to Michael. Now things are slowly transitioning to the next generation as John is stepping away to long deserved retirement from the responsibilities of U-Wash.

Young Michael has been ready for his dad to pass the baton. He grew up watching his parents and grandparents run the biz, and before he chose this as his path as well, he earned a PhD in chemistry! His education along with hands-on training prepared him to take the reins. One of the main reasons the family loves the business? “You can be totally flexible and do things you want to do,” John says, and Michael agrees, saying “My son, I’ve been able to be there every step of the way, the flexibility has been great.”

Self-Serve Going Strong

According to John, their 3 locations are very busy and the self-serve bays are still going strong, despite the trend towards automated options. While they offer Touch-less at 2 of the locations, they have no intentions to move away from self-serve options. They still offer coins and bills as payment options, keeping that as a popular pay method for their local demographic. They offer swipe in the automated bays with intentions to add more credit pay capability in the future. Though Nashville is growing fast, U-Wash is keeping its home-grown persona. They have no plans to expand or open new locations currently. Instead, Michael wants to continue to maintain and add small updates and upgrades to their bays, vacs and vending, including installation of dryers to bays.

What advice would John give to anyone looking to break into the car wash industry? “First and foremost, buy your land. Don’t lease, this is your investment,” he stated. “It’s hard work. Expect long hours, late nights, and calls at any hour is something breaks, but having a business like this trades you certain freedoms and flexibility for family. I never missed a game or event, but I did have late nights doing repairs after I was where I had to be.”

U-Wash and Kleen-Rite

U-Wash has been a Kleen-Rite customer from day one back in the 80’s! From vending and vac equipment to guns, pumps and brush heads, John and Michael place large, frequent orders with us. They’re sure to take advantage of their rewards points. “We have tons of points to use on free shipping. The sales guys do a great job, and they’re always helpful when I call to place my orders,” said John. “You guys have offered great and consistent customer service from day one, we don’t need to go anywhere else for our parts and supplies!”

We want to thank John, Michael and the rest of the family and crew of U-Wash Auto Systems for talking with Drew and appearing in the 2024 Kleen-Rite Calendar. We wish them all the best as they continue make clean cars in and around Nashville for years to come!