Auto Spa Expands into Howland and Champion

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Auto Spa Ohio LLC, a touch-free car wash company that has operated in the Mahoning Valley for 20 years, plans to expand to two new locations.

Auto Spa recently acquired two Bud’s Automatic Car Wash sites at 8285 E. Market St. in Howland and 4285 Mahoning Ave. in Champion, said Auto Spa owner David Blashinsky.

“They really did a nice job over there,” he said of Bud’s, a locally owned company that began its touch-free car washes in the 1990s. Bud’s still has locations in Liberty Township and Niles.

Blashinsky said although the Mahoning Valley market has become more competitive with the entry of national chains, there’s still plenty of demand for Auto Spa’s touch-free wash service.  “It’s a special niche in the market,” he said. “It’s done very well for touch-free washing.”

Green Light Development LLC, an entity affiliated with Auto Spa, purchased the two locations for $1,050,000 on Feb. 1, according to records from the Mahoning Auditor’s office. The auditor’s data reflects just the sale of the buildings and land, not other assets.

Auto Spa currently operates 10 car washes in northeastern Ohio, nine of which are located in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, Blashinsky said. The addition of the Howland and Champion locations would make 11 in the Mahoning Valley. 

The company has two locations in Austintown, and one each in Boardman, Cortland, Cornersburg, Bazetta Township, Niles and Struthers.

Auto Spa also operates a touch-free wash operation in Chardon.

The car wash industry has become increasingly competitive across the Mahoning Valley in recent years. Coates Car Care, for example, opened a new multifaceted wash operation on South Avenue in Boardman after an estimated investment of $5 million.

Meanwhile, the region has attracted several national companies, including eight new Mod Wash operations to Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and another in nearby Mercer County in Pennsylvania. A ninth location is under development along U.S. Route 224 in Boardman, fronting the Meijer store.

Another national car wash and oil change franchise, Take 5, has opened locations in Salem and Austintown over the past two years. 

“For sure, the market is getting more competitive and saturated, especially with tunnel expresses,” Blashinsky said. “We’re just trying to specialize in what we do and do it well.”

Auto Spa’s last acquisition before Bud’s came in October 2022, when it purchased the Canfield location, Blashinsky said. “We’d rather acquire a site instead of building new locations,” he added.

As for the Howland and Champion sites, Blashinsky said the company would spend the next several months doing some modest updating and rebranding the locations, including upgrading its wash-club memberships. 

“It’s an opportunity for growth at the right time,” Blashinsky said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.