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What's driving the growing number of car washes in northwest Ohio?

Car washes have expanded throughout the area lately. It's been a popular service for some, but others are taking action in hopes of stalling the industry's spread.

TOLEDO, Ohio — It has been the buzz around town. An adjacent car wash wants to buy Uncle John's Pancake House to level the restaurant and build an area for car vacuums.

The potential uprooting of an iconic Toledo restaurant of nearly 60 years has many questioning: Why there are so many new car washes in the area? 

The city of Perrysburg put a pause on car washes for two years because leaders said it's getting to be a bit much. 

Alex Salzmann has worked at Tommy's Express Car Wash off Monroe Street for almost half a year and supports the business, but he said he can also see why cities want to impose moratoriums.

"If it gets approved, then by all means they will do it. But if you're asking my opinion, no, I don't think we need any more car washes," Salzmann said. "I think we could put way more valuable businesses than with the amount of car washes they have."

He is still surprised by the trend of more and more people wanting to get their shine on. He thinks it's due in part to their membership plans, which cost $30 a month compared to $16 per wash, according to Salzmann.

"I didn't think car washes were this busy. I didn't," he said. "We will have days where we are just getting slammed for four hours, five hours nonstop."

Toledo officials have noticed an uptick in the number of car washes looking to open in the city, Toledo Plan Commission Associate Planner Dana Reising said.

"The Plan Commission has noticed an increase in the number of car wash inquiries," she said. "Additionally, four new builds for car washes have been submitted and approved in the past year."

The area's car washes aren't all the big-name places with colorful lights, big machines and a quick clean. Other places in downtown Toledo like Sayless Car Detail, formerly D's Car Wash & Detailing, provide a more traditional no-frills wash.

Armond Lindsey is the head detailer and said people have their preferences but what sets themselves apart from those others is that personal touch.

"We do it by hand," Lindsey said. "What we do is delicately wash the car, wax the car by hand, pretty fast. It doesn't take long. We want the vehicle looking great."

WTOL 11 reached out to city officials in Bowling Green and Sylvania to see what the future may look like for car washes and whether or not they plan on a moratorium like Perrysburg's.

 The city of Bowling Green's planning commission said it isn't planning on adding more or issuing a moratorium right now. The same goes for Sylvania according to their service director, Kevin Miller.

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