After more than 30 years in the carwash business, Mike Black is ringing in the new decade with a little bit of old and a little bit of new.
“My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this month,” said Black. “We met when she was a carwash customer.”
Black is vice president of licensing for Valet Car Wash, and he recently oversaw the renovation and rebranding of the Mobil service station and carwash at the corner of Edinburgh and Woodlawn Roads.
“We were a Global Gas Bar and we went under renovations,” said Black. “We have new tanks, all new undergrounds and rebranded as a Mobil.”
They officially reopened Friday, Dec 20 after a few weather-related delays.
“The weather really put us behind,” said Black. “It was supposed to be a four-week project and it ended up being almost three months because of that cold spell at the end of November.”
Black was born in Hamilton in 1959 and moved with his family to Preston in 1973.
“I grew up in the car business,” he said. “My dad was general manager of Chrysler Canada so I grew up with a love affair for cars. We built our first car wash in 1991 in Cambridge. It was the largest car wash in Canada at the time. It is 20,000 square feet and still operates today.”
Valet Car Wash Inc has grown to 10 locations and has become the largest independent carwash chain in Ontario.
“We continue to grow and we are focused on licensing our name to operators,” said Black. “This is a corporate-owned store but it may become a licensed site.”
The goal of the renovations and rebranding was to create a one-stop service centre.
“We wanted to give consumers a wide choice of fuels,” he said. “We have 87, 89, 91 and 93 octane for those who really like the high-performance fuel, plus diesel.”
They also have propane.
“We fill barbecue tanks and we have auto propane,” said Black. “We are one of the few that still do auto propane.”
They provide Valvolene Express Care Quick Lube services and of course car washes.
“We have exterior car wash, a tunnel car wash so we can wash a lot of cars per hour,” said Black. “The wait period is much less.”
Going with Mobil had other benefits.
“As you know, gas is very competitive and with the Mobil brand we are able to offer PC points, which has been a big plus for consumers,” said Black. “It is very popular with women because of the benefits of shopping. Most men have it on their phone and their wives make sure when they go for gas that they are collecting the points.”