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Car wash celebrates 25 years in Valencia

Family-owned business was built from the ground up

Posted: September 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Jeff Paul, owner of a family-owned and operated chain of car washes, celebrates 25 years of business at the Valencia Car Wash on Creekside Road.

Creekside Road in Santa Clarita wasn’t even connected to McBean Parkway when Valencia Car Wash first opened, said its owner Jeff Paul.

Having built the business from the ground up by buying the land and constructing the buildings in the complex, the family-owned and operated Valencia Car Wash first opened for business 25 years ago.

“When we first opened we were the only car wash in the area,” Paul said. “It was an immediate success. And even though there’s lots of competition now, our business is still strong.”

The car wash business was started by Paul’s father-in-law decades ago. Charles Sockett, a former Marine who fought in WW II at Iwo Jima and in the Korean War, passed away in 2003. Paul took over full ownership at that time.

Valencia Car Wash has not only survived as a full-service car wash, but has grown over the past 25 years by having a flexible business model, Paul said. Also, the loans are paid down quite a bit, giving the business financial flexibility, Paul said. It was also the first car wash to do oil changes for its customers, he said.

“As time changed during the recession of 2008, more people gravitated toward less expensive, quicker washes,” Paul said.

So he began offering less expensive express car wash options and early bird specials in additional to the standard car washes to accommodate every kind of customer, he said.

Usually a car wash is paid for with disposable income, much like dry cleaning, but the fact that during the recession people actually washed their cars more often — they just didn’t spend as much and that’s where the express car wash kept customers coming in, he said.

“Our business has sustained very nicely during the recession,” Paul said. “It actually grew during the recession. The express car wash kept us afloat and grew the business.”

The family owns other car washes as well, including one at the Westfield Fashion Square mall in Sherman Oaks and one in Canyon Country that they bought a year ago, Paul said. This year, they completely remodeled the Valencia Car Wash.

“We’re in expansion mode,” he said.

As for the Valencia complex, Sockett built the shop for Big John’s tires a year after Valencia Car Wash opened.
And family members of both owners have been in their respective trades for generations.

“We’re third generation now in the car wash business, and it’s the second generation for Big John’s in the tire business,” Paul said.




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