A new automatic car wash that can clean a claimed 80 cars per hour is the latest construction project to reach completion at the site of a former Winn-Dixie on Lockwood Ridge Road and State Road 70.
Coastal Carwash opened to 375 drivers looking to clean their dirty vehicles Thursday. It was the first of four days of free washes planned to draw customers to the new business.
The opening comes about six months after construction started on the 4,330-square-foot facility at 4630 53rd Ave. E. Its owners, father and son Tom and Thomas Klein of Punta Gorda, put three years of site selection and consideration into opening Coastal Carwash. It is the first location the business has opened.
"We researched it and researched it," said Thomas Klein, who is managing the day-to-day operation at Coastal Carwash.
The Kleins purchased the 1.25-acre property in August 2015 for $1.03 million. They picked the Manatee County site for its high traffic count and access to major driving routes.
Coastal Carwash's neighbors include a new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and a new Wawa convenience store. It is part of an overall 26-acre development project at a site formerly known as West Lake Plaza. It is also in the midst of a rush of new development nearby. Across State Road 70, a new Aldi grocery store is nearing completion. On the west side of Lockwood Ridge, a new commercial building is going up in a shopping plaza anchored by a Publix store.
The car wash, built with a long queue area and automated entry, is designed to quickly clean long lines of cars. Its 130-foot tunnel pulls vehicles through the wash cycle on a
conveyor-belt system and delivers up to nine optional services that include washing, soapy foam, waxes and drying. Klein said the longest wait for a wash at Coastal Carwash is about 8 minutes.
Single washes cost between $5 and $18, while unlimited wash memberships are priced between $24.99 and $39.99 monthly.
Coastal Carwash also features 20 vacuum stations drivers may use after finishing their washes.
The first day of wash traffic was already near the level of business the Kleins hope to do.
"It's picking up," Klein said. "We hope to be doing 400 cars on average."
At startup, Coastal Express has seven employees. The company will add other locations in the near future. Klein said he and his father have purchased two more pieces of property elsewhere in the state to build new car washes.
The free washes at Coastal Carwash will be offered through Sunday. It is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Car wash staff can be reached at 941-752-5999.
Status Update, by business reporter Matt M. Johnson, is a regular look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County. Follow Johnson on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.