Biz Beat

What to expect as Prime Shine locations in Modesto, valley convert to Mister Car Wash

If you’ve been through a Central Valley car wash of late, you might have noticed some big changes. Namely, that all the Prime Shine locations are turning into Mister Car Wash sites instead.

Last December, Modesto-based Prime Shine Car Wash announced it had been sold to the national chain Mister Car Wash. Now, 10 months later, the rebranding changeover has begun.

The transition started the second week of October, said Mister Car Wash Director of Marketing Megan Everett, and is expected to last through the end of the year. Mister Car Wash, based out of Arizona, has 320 locations across 21 states.

It acquired all 19 Prime Shine locations which span a dozen Central Valley cities. They are: Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, Manteca, Lodi, Oakdale, Riverbank, Atwater, Patterson, Merced, Tracy and Los Banos.

The former Prime Shine sites are the first locations for Mister Car Wash in Northern California. It’s only other current locations in the state are in the Bakersfield area.

Everett said the Prime Shine acquisition is part of the company’s expansion into California.

“The Prime Shine had so many good things going for them — great locations, a good wash system. And they had a great team and amazing culture. That’s something we don’t find all the time,” she said.

Mister Car Wash has retained all of Prime Shine’s store employees, close to 200 in total, and hired on an additional 20 staff members. They have also retained a handful of its corporate employees, though the company’s former headquarters on 14th Street in downtown Modesto will be converted into a training center for staff instead.

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Customer service advisors Kenadee Stockton and Jocelyn Walle (right) help customers in vehicles at Mister Car Wash Friday afternoon October 25, 2019 on McHenry avenue in Modesto, Calif. Joan Barnett Lee jlee@modbee.com

Overall, Mister Car Wash has some 8,000 employees across the country.

So far five Prime Shines have been converted to Mister Car Washes. The rebranded sites are on upper and lower McHenry Avenue, Oakdale Road and Prescott Road in Modesto and 11th Street in Tracy.

Everett said customers should notice immediate changes, in addition to the new logo and rebranded items. In the car wash tunnel, some of the equipment has been changed out for proprietary cleaning and waxing systems. Other general equipment will be replaced as needed.

The tunnels now also have more colorful LED lighting, as well as special scents to create ambiance during the wash. So if you suddenly smell cinnamon, no, you’re not going crazy.

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A customer service advisor guides a vehicle at Mister Car Wash Friday afternoon October 25, 2019 on McHenry avenue in Modesto, Calif. Joan Barnett Lee jlee@modbee.com

The pricing structure has changed as well, though remains similar to the Prime Shine rates. Individual washes run from $8 to $18, and unlimited monthly passes run $19.99 to $29.99. The top tier membership, which includes all of the services, is $10 less than Prime Shine’s previous top tier. Monthly subscribers will need to place a branded RFID barcode on their front windows, which will be scanned automatically by sensors.

Everett said existing Prime Shine customers with monthly plans will be automatically rolled over into compatible Mister Car Wash plans. The company will also honor all prepaid Prime Shine wash vouchers indefinitely. Coupons will be honored through May 2020.

Two of Prime Shine’s signature services — the free interior vacuums and the free dash wipes — face different fates.

The free vacuums will remain, Everett said, and they plan to add additional vacuums to a few locations. But the complimentary dash wipes, previously handed out with each wash, are being phased out. How long they will continue to get given away depends on the remaining inventory at each store.

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Mister Car Wash is pictured Friday afternoon October 25, 2019 on McHenry avenue in Modesto, Calif. Joan Barnett Lee jlee@modbee.com

As rebranding continues, you’ll also see some construction at the locations as a second lane is added to all but one of the sites. Everett said the two lanes are meant to expedite the wash experience. Only the Oakdale Road site will remain single lane.

In addition, if there is space, a third lane will be added to four sites, which will be exclusively by the monthly wash club members. They are: Hatch Road in Ceres, lower McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Airport Way in Manteca and Patterson Road in Riverbank.

Everett said during lane work sites should stay largely open, only closing for perhaps a day or two to complete construction. The former Prime Shine website lists the closure dates online. That project should be completed by March.

“We get these are changes and it takes time (for people to adjust). It’s different, so we appreciate everyone being patient,” Everett said. “But we are excited to be part of the community and to bring our services to the area. We know that customers will be really happy once we finish everything.”

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Evan, left, and Norm Porges at Prime Shine car wash in Modesto, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

Prime Shine was founded in 1991 as a single car wash in the current north McHenry Avenue location by Modesto businessman Norm Porges. He took out a Small Business Administration loan to start his company, and with son Evan Porges they grew it to become the largest independently owned car wash operator in California.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs multiple times a week. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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