By Alvin Tsang
Longtime business Tops Car Wash has a new owner and a new slogan: “Keeping your ride looking new.”
Tops’ new owner Vik Dilawri, who also owns car dealership Ottawa Honda, was pleased with the handover.
“The number of customers has been pretty consistent,” Dilawri said. “It’s a small sample size only a month in, so it’s hard to judge, but we’re very happy.”
The official date of the handover was Sept.13.
The previous owner Keith Henry and his father before him had operated the business for 50 years. Before Henry’s final day at the business, he posted a goodbye message on Tops Car Wash’s official website that still remains there a month later.
“Thank you for your business. After 50 years of owning Tops Car Wash, the Henry family has entrusted the business to our longtime friends and neighbours, the Dilawri family. You will continue to see the same familiar faces continuing the Tops tradition, and I know you will be in good hands with Tops’ new caretakers. Thank you for 50 wonderful years. With best wishes, the Henry family,” the statement reads.
Dilawri kept the same management staff. All 17 staff who were employed by the Henry family stayed on with Dilawri.
“We’re not planning to change anything other than hopefully bring more business to Tops Car Wash,” Dilawri said.
The car wash brings in customers from its immediate area of Richmond Road and also from the Westboro and Britannia neighbourhoods.
“We have the best deal in town,” Dilawri said. “Not only is it a car wash, you’re getting the hand dry as well. When the car comes out of the tunnel, we have people who will hand dry your car.”
Tops Car Wash offers a monthly membership pass, offering express car wash and towel dry services or an unlimited package.
“A gas station car wash doesn’t do half the job we do, and we’re less money,” he said.
Dilawri’s Ottawa Honda business is right next door to Tops Car Wash.
“We’re right next door, and the car wash business is a great fit for us,” he said. “Not only for us, but for the customers of Ottawa Honda and for the customers of Tops Car Wash as well. The decision to buy only made sense.”
The car wash business can be a highly seasonal business. On rainy days, business is slower and consists mainly of full-detail work, such as interior cleans, vacuums and shampoos. When the weather is nice out, it tends to be a busy spot in the area.
Dilawri added that the business was slightly impacted with the ongoing LRT construction across the street and with some of the COVID-19 restrictions not lifted fully yet.
“But that’s not a big deal,” Dilawri said. “We’ve had a decent fall, all things considered.”