Auto Laundry News - February 2013

Building it Big in Boise, Part II

By Christopher Crawford and John Diehl

Overall view of the site.

In the November 2012 issue of Auto Laundry News, we presented a general overview of a new prototype
flex-wash and quick lube project embarked upon by Boise-based Fast Eddy’s to complement its expanding gas
station/c-store chain. In doing so, owners Steve and Tracie Eddy have raised the bar higher and also expanded their product line. In this issue, we pay closer attention to the individual areas of the project, including the pay-gate shelter, car wash, vacuums, and quick lube.

PAY-GATE SHELTER

The attractive and colorful pay gate shelter is the icon of the facility. It sits right on the building setback line (25 feet) off Overland Road. At over 30 feet in height and some 50 feet in width, its appearance is unique and distinctive. Clearly visible for over a half mile in all directions, as well as the nearby interstate highway, it acts as a giant billboard for potential customers with large signage on both major facades. There are three stacking lanes with a capacity for approximately 20 cars. The owner selected POS equipment by DRB. Employees man the POS terminals to assist customers to speed up the process and to upsell featured services. A warming room was included in the design for the employees’ comfort.

CAR WASH

The entrance to the wash tunnel features a loading porch under a 40-foot high tower with glass doors on both sides that can be opened in summertime and closed in winter to protect again the cold and often strong winds common to Idaho. Overall tunnel length is 146’ 4” with a 134’ 6” long conveyor. Tunnel width is 19’ 4” increasing to 22’ at the entrance, exit, and middle (where the windows are located). The drain trench is a new custom-designed self-cleaning type specifically designed by Car-Wash-Architect.com for the project. The owners decided to equip the facility with top-of-the-line fully electric wash equipment manufactured by MacNeil. Installation was by MacNeil’s local rep BUDDCO Distributors out of Salt Lake City. Extrutech plastic wall-liner panels were utilized to full-height on walls and entirely cover the ceiling, giving the completed tunnel a very clean and bright finished appearance. All lights installed in the tunnel are highly efficient LED fixtures.

Overall view of the site.

A large equipment room is located adjacent to the tunnel. Since electric wash equipment was utilized, the room’s overall size could be reduced to a size smaller than would have been required for an equivalent hydraulic system. One of the Vacutech vacuum units was installed in the center of the space supplying the rear two rows of the internal vacuum drops. This unit is to be utilized only on weekends and other busy days. Space and plumbing for water reclaim equipment was provided but the equipment was not installed. However, three underground reclaim tanks and their associated plumbing system were installed. (Boise has sufficient water resources at present and the city is installing a ‘grey-water’ line throughout the city. This will be connected to the site in the near future.)

Tunnel entry.

View from the tunnel, through the lobby, into the detail/after-care center.

View from the tunnel, through the lobby, into the detail/after-care center.

Fast lube center.

Free Vacuums.

Due to the very cold weather during the long winters in Idaho, all after-care services are performed inside the building in the very spacious full-service and detailing bay. This large space has a total area of more than 5,000 square feet with four drive-thru lanes able to comfortably accommodate up to 16 cars at a time. In the farthest lane a Broadway Shiner machine was also installed. All of the eight entry/exit doors of the space are 12 feet tall and of insulated glass, allowing full view from the street of the activity within. The space is lit up at night. Each designated space for vehicles has two vacuum drops and airlines hanging from the ceiling. Instead of paint, the floor was finished in attractive porcelain tile that continues halfway up the walls. To keep employees comfortable, spot heaters are installed at each space. A low block wall was placed between two of the lanes for half of the length of the room to allow boat washing and detailing in the summer.

Once customers park their vehicles, they can proceed into the large and comfortable customer lobby accessed via a door inside the full-service and detailing bay. With an area of more than 800 square feet, the spacious over-sized lobby is fully tiled, accommodates restrooms and a refreshment center, and is furnished with padded, oversized chairs, tables, and multiple large TV monitors. Huge windows face both the wash tunnel and the full-service and detailing bay allowing unimpeded visual access across the entire length and breadth of the car wash. Free high-speed wireless Internet connection is provided along with a built-in granite computer counter facing all of the action in the full-service and detailing bay. There are also two custom-made water guns for kids to spray down the cars as they pass by in the tunnel.

On the other side of the full-service and detailing bay at the middle and rear of the building is the car wash/lube service-support section. The primary Vacutech vacuum unit that serves the car wash and quick lube is installed in a small room here. Next to it a corridor connects the car wash to the quick lube part of the building. Due to the size of the staff, a good-sized employee break room was included in the design along with employee restrooms. Its large size also allows it to be utilized for meetings and training purposes. Behind it is a towel cleaning room equipped with several large extractor and dryer units and racks for towel and detail-chemical storage. In the far rear of the building is a two-story storage room.

QUICK LUBE

The upscale quick lube features three over-sized oil change bays and a full-size basement below. Again, instead of paint, the floor of the bays was finished with porcelain tile that continues halfway up the walls. The poured-concrete deck over steel decking under the floor was increased to 50-ton capacity to handle the largest RVs on the road (this is double the capacity required to handle normal-sized vehicles). The entry and exit doors of the two outer bays were increased to 14 feet in height to accommodate even the tallest RVs. Each of the three bays has two vacuum drops hanging from the ceiling above. To keep employees comfortable, spot heaters are installed at key locations. A heavy-duty small elevator is built into one corner of the bays to allow heavy equipment and supplies to be lifted from the lube basement below.

During the service, customers exit their vehicles and relax in the fully-tiled lube lobby. It features high ceilings, large TV monitor, a restroom, and numerous large windows to see all of the activity in the oil change bays and full-service and detailing area of the car wash, as well as outside. A cashier area adjoins the lobby with an enclosed office for the lube manager behind it. There is stacking capacity for 12 vehicles at the entry, and for three at the exit. All oil change equipment was purchased and installed by Devon.

FREE VACUUMS

At the rear of the site are 22 free-vacuum spaces designed to allow access only for vehicles directly exiting the wash tunnel. All of the spaces have the curved Vacutech arch stanchion systems installed on 12-foot-wide parking spaces angled at a 60-degree angle to allow easy access and one-way traffic. The stanchions were all custom-painted in the owners’ signature pumpkin orange color. Two Vacutech vacuum units service the spaces, 11 per side, each in its own enclosed structure (to protect them from the cold windy winters) that matches and complements the main building perfectly. These structures also have built-in vending machines for car care products.

PROJECT COMPLETION

The Russell Corporation was selected to do the construction. They were able to complete the project in a tight six-month timeframe, even with unseasonable rainy weather that delayed construction at key phases of the project. The owners led efforts to design unique signage to complement the buildings, and to brand and highlight the featured services. The owners also selected all of the interior finishes.

The completed facility finally opened its doors in early January of last year. Impressive to behold, it has proved to be very appealing to customers, new and old alike, with substantial street presence, excellent traffic flow, great organization of spaces, and a unique, attractive, and colorful facade. This new addition to Fast Eddy’s rapidly growing chain brings a level of service and comfort to local residents that they have never experienced before. The owners plan to open several more of these large flex washes and lubes in the Boise metropolitan area.

Christopher Crawford and John Diehl are with Car-Wash-Architect.com. They will be writing additional articles in upcoming issues concerning designing and constructing new car washes, as well as renovating existing ones. You can visit their website for more information about the services they offer, or call them at (561) 212-3364.


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