Joe Mapes has an accomplished history in the car wash industry, and he and his family are long-time Kleen-Rite customers. They operate eight Joan’s Spot Free Car Wash locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. Kleen-Rite has worked closely with the Mapes family for many years, and it’s an excellent example of how building relationships with customers ends up being successful for both parties. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a supplier is to see prosperous customers expand and improve their businesses. Recently, the Mapes family acquired a car wash property that they’ve been leasing and operating for decades in Irving, Texas. Now that they own the property, they’ve given it a cosmetic remodel that has it looking and feeling like a brand-new car wash!
Progress During the Leasing Years
The Mapes began leasing this car wash property in Irving in 1984 when it was already twenty years old. They upgraded the facility when they began leasing, and have made many improvements over time. The equipment room was only eight feet wide originally, so they had to enlarge it to allow for new equipment in the future. They began offering services like foam brush, presoak, and spot-free rinse. They added token acceptance and, later, credit card acceptance with CryptoPay. An in-bay automatic they call the “Mr. Wizard’s Auto Wash” was added to the facility. Coleman-Hanna manufactured the equipment, but the Mapes came up with the name and the artwork associated with the wash system. It’s one of the major highlights of this location and also offered at another one of their locations.
As it stands, the wash has four self-serve bays and the “Mr. Wizard’s Auto Wash” in-bay automatic. They have plans to replace one of the self-serve bays with another automatic, likely within a year’s time.
Time for a Fresh Look
In January 2019, the Mapes got the opportunity to buy the car wash property. This opened up the possibility of doing a cosmetic overhaul. Joe described their hesitation to do so before, explaining, “We only did a few visual upgrades because we were unsure of the future leasing or buying ability with the property.” Any previous upgrades were more on the equipment and performance end of the wash rather than the visual appeal.
In addition to becoming owners of the property, there were major changes to the surrounding area that gave the Mapes more reason to revamp the car wash. Extensive roadwork was done near the wash, and the property is now neighbored by a four-lane interstate and a three-lane expressway. These important roads vastly increased traffic, as they lead to the airport and Las Colinas, an important business area. The roadwork also turned the car wash into a corner property.
Although the roadwork “took away 20% of square footage in frontage property,” they were confident that they could remodel using the footprint that they had without much trouble. They worked with the city of Irving and were able to extend the building structure to the rear of the property. They were grandfathered in on some zoning issues, which helped move the remodel project along.
“It wouldn’t be possible, financially, to build a new car wash from scratch on this property. Just wouldn’t work,” Said Joe. Fortunately, their particular situation allowed them to keep their car wash in place, and even make significant improvements with much less fear of throwing away money.
Another important note is that the car wash borders a QuickStop on one side and a Jack-In-The-Box restaurant on the rear side. This also greatly increases traffic flowing past the car wash and garners more customers.
Joe put it succinctly when describing their decision to give the car wash a cosmetic makeover, saying, “The situation dictated it.” With the purchase of the property complete and the area thriving, the Mapes no longer had to hold back from making a serious investment to take their property to the next level.
What Was Done in the Remodel?
The Mapes threw in some fun additions to draw eyes to their car wash. At the corner of the property, they placed a “barn-find” 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck with a bright red paint job. Its permanently secured at an interesting, eye-catching angle in the middle of a landscaping bed surrounded by impressive stonework. On another section of the property, they placed a reconditioned 1949 Ford tractor that has a sleek red and gray paint job and a truck bed trailer hooked on the back.
When the Mapes say they upgraded the visual appeal at this car wash, they aren’t kidding! The entire outside of the building has been improved with the installation of new brick, gorgeous stonework, a brilliant yellow facade over the automatic bay area, and a new metal roof. They also added an attractive new dumpster enclosure with a new storage area adjacent to it.
While the rebuild was primarily cosmetic, it also included equipment like new vacuums and a dog wash. Also, everything in the self-serve bays, like coin boxes, booms, and signage, is new.
They’re operating at full strength with newfound confidence because of their fresh appearance. The cosmetic upgrade is almost complete. The only task left is to add some beautiful landscaping and planters around the property.
Reaping the Benefits and Anticipating Future Success
Joe told us that revenue from their self-serve bays has increased by about 50% since the remodel. Also, about 30% of people are now choosing the top package in their automatic wash. Regarding his location in Texas, Joe mentioned that Kleen-Rite’s Grand Prairie distribution center allows them to stock much less parts inventory on their own properties, opting instead to get it from Kleen-Rite when they’re in desperate need of a replacement component. We’re always happy to see our customers grow their empires and position themselves for long-term success that benefits them, their community, and Kleen-Rite. We wish all the best to the Mapes family and look forward to seeing what future holds for their “new” car wash!