Benny's files zoning application for seventh area car wash

Benny's files zoning application for seventh area car wash

Benny's Carwash is making plans for a new Benny's Express on Siegen Lane just north of Perkins Road and across from Winn Dixie. The company filed an application earlier this month with the Planning Commission for a zoning change to allow the facility, which will be the seventh Benny's—and fifth Express—location in the local market.

Benny's has not yet closed on the property, which it has under contract, and Justin Alford, whose family has owned Benny's since 1951, says it is still early to discuss plans for the new site.

"We have a little ways to go before this is a done deal," he says. "But this is an area we have been looking at for a long, long time and we would like to be there."

Benny's closest location to Siegen Lane is its full-service facility on Essen Lane. The Benny's zoning request comes as a Central-based competitor, Geaux Clean, is moving forward with plans to open its third car wash in the market on the north end of Siegen near Champs Collision Center. While that might suggest plenty of demand in the local market for car wash outlets, Alford says the business is both expensive and risky.

"It costs about $3 million to build out a location," he says. "Then after a few years, you have to reinvest in the facilities and upgrade the equipment."

Benny's has spent more than $2 million upgrading its existing locations in the last two years. What's more, Alford says, national statistics suggest 96% of customers wash their cars just 1.5 times per year.
"That means you need to pull from a very wide area to make it work," he says.

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