64-year-old Pronto car wash center to become Big Dan’s • St Pete Catalyst

The Pronto Car Wash and Quik Lube center that has served the community for over 60 years will now be taken over by a chain.

The center, built in 1958 at 220 34th St. N., will now bear the name Big Dan’s.

Family-owned Georgia-based Big Dan’s Car Wash operates more than 20 express car washes.

This week, Big Dan’s received special exemption approval to convert the 1.6-acre Pronto car wash, detailing center and express lube.

“We met with the owner who has operated it for over a decade and said he was ready to sell it,” said Jay Shadday, president of Big Dan’s Car Wash. St. Pete Catalyst.

“We are able to reuse the existing business and it is very well laid out. It was a very strategic acquisition. When we search for a site, we look at population and density, out of 34and Street, we felt that there was a population strong enough to support the center and the competition.

Pronto’s last day of activity will be April 12.

Shadday said Big Dan will demolish the oil change center and self-service car wash bay. The company will retain the period tunnel and signage.

“It’s a landmark in St. Pete. We want to try to keep the classic character. It will still look like a new building, but it won’t be a typical Big Dan location,” Shadday said.

1960s postcard image of the Pronto Car Wash.

The demolition of part of the structures will allow the new owners to reconfigure traffic flow and provide 27 empty spaces with free amenities. Demolition and renovations are expected to begin in late May or early June. The company expects the car wash to open in the fall and could hire between 20 and 30 employees.

Earlier this year, Big Dan’s also acquired Buddy’s Car Wash in Tampa and Pinellas Park.

The Florida market is a key part of Big Dan’s strategic growth plan and part of the brand’s $100 million Phase I expansion plan.

Shadday said Big Dan’s seeks opportunities to contribute to the communities in which it operates. For example, Big Dan’s works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia.

News of local Big Dan centers opening comes on the heels of the big car wash boom in the United States. Multiple economic forecasts show that the retail sector is growing rapidly due to multiple factors such as increased number of vehicle owners and the convenience and quality of car wash services.

Another car wash chain, Woodie’s Wash Shack, also has several car wash sites in progress for Tampa Bay, including a site in Palm Harbor that is currently occupied by an Italian restaurant.

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