It’s the question on the minds of many Ashburn-area car and truck owners — why are all the main car washes in the community still closed and when will they re-open? The answer is … complicated.
The Burn was the first media outlet to report the seismic changes coming to the car wash scene in Loudoun County and the wider Northern Virginia community. (See that story here.) We told you back in August how the regional brand Flagship Car Wash was making a major move to become the dominant player in the market.
Flagship started buying up smaller, neighborhood car washes with the intention of revamping them and reopening them under the Flagship brand.
The smaller neighborhood Flagship car washes would have an automated “tunnel” where the customer pays at automatic kiosk, moves through the car wash tunnel for the exterior wash, and then goes to a row of vacuums to clean the interior of the cars themselves. The teams of employees who did the interiors and buffed the exteriors were going away.
Meanwhile, Flagship also offers large “mega car” washes that offer full exterior and interior cleaning, plus lots of other services. One is currently under construction in Ashburn at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Russell Branch Parkway, across the street from the Trader Joe’s at One Loudoun.
The idea being that people could use the self-service neighborhood Flagship locations for quick spruce ups of their vehicles, and go to the big Flagship car wash for an occasional deeper cleaning.
As part of this plan, Flagship snapped up three Ashburn-area car washes. This includes the former Ashburn Car Wash at Junction Plaza, the Dr. Car Wash at Pipeline Plaza, and the Dulles 28 Auto Wash off Pacific Boulevard. All three locations were closed for a quick makeover into the Flagship vision — but that’s where the problems started.
The three car washes closed this summer but then have sat more or less idle ever since. The quick reopening didn’t happen.
The Burn spoke to Flagship owner Guy Paolozzi who said he is tearing his hair out over the situation. He ordered all the needed parts and equipment back in August, but shipments have ground to a halt. He can’t get the materials he needs to reopen the three closed car washes. “I understand what I’ve done to the community,” he said ruefully.
Paolozzi has learned a lesson. His company has actually purchased additional car washes in the region since this summer. But instead of closing them down, he’s continuing to operate them under the old name until he has all the equipment he needs in his warehouse.
Meanwhile, the mega location by One Loudoun continues to move forward. That project has been in the works far longer and he had placed orders for that equipment well before the supply chain slow downs started.
He expects this new main location in Ashburn to open by the end of December and he is planning on offering some free car washes to the community. He says he knows the closed locations have been a big inconvenience to Ashburn and he wants to do something as an apology of sorts. Details of the free washes are still being worked out.
Where is Teddy Roosevelt when you need him. This sounds like a trust that needs to be busted!
It’s a shambles. The thing that annoyed me most is that I had one of those monthly subscriptions at the Dr Wash location. They just closed down, (overnight), and then never did contact me. They have my address and contact information – why not send a letter of goodwill offering to pro-rate a new subscription or provide a month free or something for a loyal customer. There was no way they could re-open in September like their signs said. Craziness.
Disappointing that the full service will be at limited car washes. Also, what about the gift cards purchased at the original sites. Will they be honored?
I sent Flagship an email a couple of months ago asking if they would honor them. The answer was no.
Meanwhile, the closed Ashburn location is littered with trash in the parking lot and overflowing trash cans. You’d think Flagship’s owner would be a better neighbor to the very people he hopes to make consistent customers.
I’d drive to leebsurg full service before I’d ever think about going to these sunken ship locations. To host a monopoly on the Ashburn car washes and botch the roll out this bad is laughable at best.
It’s never good for the public to have fewer options of businesses that provide a service. I can’t think of even 1 instance where it benefited the public to have all services provided by only 1 company…..
I will not be giving Flagship any of my business when they finally reopen, he is not pulling his hair out for what he did to the community, he is only pulling his hair out over the money he is loosing due to the supply chain issue.
It is definitely a monopoly and we need a carwash anti-trust suit. Flagship bought out every car wash and now charges double the pricing.
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