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Revamped Lemont car wash to include pet washing stalls

Express Car Wash owner Bill Klump has always been that guy who has to have an immaculately clean interior and exterior vehicle.

“I was always that guy that cleaned his car,” Klump said. “My wife and I met at 16 and started dating at 19 and I would never pick her up without my car being cleaned. I was a car person and still am. I always knew I would have a car wash.”

Klump is now nearing the end of a multi-million dollar renovation to his Lemont Express Car Wash to provide “faster, better, cheaper” services when the new wash opens in mid-December.

“Instead of retooling, it needed to be remodeled,” Klump said. “Faster, better, cheaper is the way we have it. It’s not (going to be) the full-blown, full-service wash where you get out and it takes 20 minutes to wash and then tip the guy.”

The remodeled car wash building or conveyor is more than double its previous size, Klump said.

A basic wash will cost customers $3 compared to the former $6 fee. Washes can cost up to $15 for all the “bells and whistles,” Klump added.

“We have automatic pay so customers don’t interact with anyone, there is no human element to it,” Klump said. “We will have staff there but customers wanted faster, better, cheaper. It’s not the old way of standing around and (your) car being toweled off.”

Customers can get through the car wash conveyor in three minutes for $3, Klump added.

The car wash will also have 14 free vacuum stalls and two pet washing stations. The pet washing areas are heated and indoors, equipped with a ramp and tub. Cost of the pet washing area is still to be determined at this point.

The Express Car Wash was built in 1986. Klump bought it in 1999 and completely gutted and re-equipped the wash that year. For 13 years he ran the wash without any remodeling.

However, that streak ended when on July 28 demolition began on the Express Car Wash.

Klump’s Lemont car wash will be the second in his chain of five car washes that has been transitioned to the new model. He said his car wash in Brookfield was remodeled two years ago and the Lemont car wash will follow suit.

“That was my first one (in Brookfield) and now we know the formula, this is number two,” Klump said. “I will have staff and technicians there to make sure everything is perfect. We have a lot of support staff to make sure everyone’s experience is great.”

Klump said the goal of remodeling was to become a destination in Lemont and bring people to town with his promise of a faster, better, cheaper car wash.

“I become a destination,” Klump said. “There is no one like me anywhere near here.”

Klump had hoped to re-open the car wash earlier, but Hurricane Sandy affected delivery times for equipment.

“The first or second week in December we will open up for free and give back to the community who has been so patient and waiting for re-opening,” he said.

Express Car Wash

Where: 1174 State St.

Date to open: Mid-December

Offering: Car washes, pet cleaning stalls and free vacuums

Cost: $3 for basic wash and up to $15 for higher-end washes

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