About eight years ago, Dr. Brad Burt and his wife Katie went through a car wash and to say the least, he was less than satisfied.
It was not a great experience: The car wash soap was diluted, the service was bad, and the wash itself was poor.
In fact, Dr. Burt talked so much about that car wash trip that his wife had a challenge for him.
“After complaining about it, she finally said ‘Why don’t you build your own car wash and stop complaining?’” recalled Dr. Burt, a chiropractor with a practice in Walcott, Iowa.
And that’s just what happened. Today, the Burts co-own two car washes in the region. They opened Aqua-Tech Car Wash at 581 E. LeClaire Road, Eldridge, a few years ago. The couple lives in Eldridge.
A much larger Aqua-Tech — spanning more than 7,000 square feet with a $4 million price tag — opened this summer at 6280 N. Elmore Ave., Davenport.
Dr. Burt said he decided to get into the car wash business because he is a true car fan. “I am a car lover. I love car shows; it’s just a passion.”
But perhaps his biggest reason to get into the business is so other car lovers could avoid the bad car wash experience he had several years ago.
“They (the customers) are getting the car wash they deserve … We try hard not to leave a water spot on any mirror,” Dr. Burt added.
There has been a positive reaction from the many car wash customers Aqua-Tech has drawn in from across the Quad Cities region, he said.
Their new Aqua-Tech has the capacity to serve more than 1,000 vehicles a day, and the new location has been serving 10%-15% of its daily capacity. “So, we have a lot of room for growth,” he added.
Katie Burt said the family-owned car wash business has been a lot of fun for the couple. She hopes more people discover the new business now surrounded by near empty fields off North Elmore Avenue. “We’re just kind of lonely out there,” she added.
Once more people find the new car wash, they also will discover some of the “wow” factors, she said.
“You deserve to have a car wash impress you,” Aqua-Tech’s website says.
Among the unique features are:
- The Elmore location has an in-motion wash tunnel that escorts your vehicle through the wash on a moving floor, much like an airport terminal walkway.
- There are touch free, soft touch and the classic self-service easy bays that begin at $2.
- Other car wash features include: a shammy roller — a slow-rolling shammy that “will massage” the surface of the vehicle; rain shield sealant; and tri-form paint conditioner.
- A pet wash with options of shampoo, conditioner, blow dry and flea/tick treatment.
- Free-of-charge vehicle vacuum stations available to all customers even if they don’t use the car wash services.
Dr. Burt said his four employees help create that “wow” factor for the customers. In fact, he calls his Chief of Operations Marvin Gassmann his “secret weapon” because of Mr. Gassmann’s many years of experience.
But Aqua-Tech has even more “wow” factors — including five business suites available for rent in the new Davenport building. The suites, each about 1,200 square feet, were added to the second floor to comply with the city’s zoning rulings for the neighborhood, which call for a multi-use facility, Dr. Burt said.
He added that all or at least most of the suites could be occupied in the near future with three already spoken for and a fourth business tenant interested. Dr. Burt would not name the specific businesses but said they include a hair salon, home mortgage company and health care company.
Dr. Burt said he is proud that his new building will be home to several other businesses, and that Aqua-Tech offers the newest car wash technology for customers. But, ultimately, it is all about offering great customer service.
“We want to leave a legacy that our children can be proud of,” he added.
His Davenport Aqua-Tech is open 24 hours a day. The pet wash and in-motion tunnel portions of the business are staffed 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the moment, the Burts are not planning any car wash expansions.