Business As Usual: Anniston 'auto spa' looks to replicate success in J’ville
by Paige Rentz
prentz@annistonstar.com
Jul 23, 2012 | 4530 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Creston Davis scrubs a car before sending it through the automatic wash at Xtreme Auto Spa in Lenlock. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Creston Davis scrubs a car before sending it through the automatic wash at Xtreme Auto Spa in Lenlock. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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JACKSONVILLE — An already busy commercial corner in Jacksonville is getting a new neighbor.

Gary Wigington, owner of Xtreme Auto Spa in Lenlock, is taking his business to Jacksonville with a planned Gamecock Auto Spa on Pelham Road South, near the corner of Greenleaf Street Southwest.

The lure of Jacksonville for Wigington was the proximity to his current location and the ever-growing commercial area at his proposed location at the vacant lot between the Huddle House and CVS on Pelham Road South.

“It being around other retail and eating places is kind of an ideal situation for a business like that,” he said. “It is the major, major consideration I guess you could say.”

During the past decade, the corner of Greenleaf Street and Pelham Road has grown from the site of a historic home to a booming business district. In 2002, the Greenleaf House — the mansion home of the former Union Yarn Mill owner William Greenleaf — was torn down and four acres of the estate was rezoned for commercial use. Development there began in earnest in 2004, when the subdivision of the property into parcels was approved and the establishment of the CVS, Captain D’s restaurant and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts was authorized, according to city planning officials.

The Huddle House followed two years later and Hampton Inn, located behind the row of businesses, opened its doors in 2009.

Ryan Arnold, a shift manager at CVS, said Wednesday he could see how opening a new business next door could help draw new customers, with the amount of vehicle traffic that already exists on service roads around his store and others. He said he didn’t expect the effect to be reciprocal, not seeing how a car wash would send customers to CVS unless they already needed a prescription filled.

The Planning Commission approved plans for the new auto spa at its Tuesday meeting, with the condition that Wigington address city concerns over Fire Department access to the proposed building.

City Planner Lynn Causey said Tuesday that a gate blocking the driveway at the rear of the building could impede apparatus responding to fire emergencies there. She suggested Wigington run the plans by Fire Chief Wade Buckner to make sure he had no concerns over access.

Once complete, the auto spa will include a 30-by-70-foot block building that houses an equipment room and car wash tunnel.

“The building will be very similar to the one here in Lenlock,” said Wigington. The site will also include a vending area for towels, air fresheners, and vinyl and glass cleaners, as well as 13 vacuuming stations available to anyone who purchases a car wash.

Wigington said his business will only use organic, biodegradable detergents and other products and will use a water reclamation system to avoid consuming fresh drinking water for cleaning vehicles. Wigington said the average car wash uses between 80 and 90 gallons of water.

If all goes according to plan, Wigington said, groundbreaking at the site should take place in early September.

Star staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.
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