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    QuikTrip Car Washes Get a Challenge

    A competing car wash company is entering the Wichita car wash market with $3 products.

    WICHITA, Kan. -- Car wash operator SourceONE Car Wash Co., headquartered in Fort Smith, Ark., is expanding to the local area and is building the first of five automated tunnel washes here, which will compete with other local wash operators, including c-store chain QuikTrip, the Wichita Eagle reported.

    The first wash, called Legends, is slated to open in October and will duplicate the service of its Wichita competitors at half the cost, company co-founder Sabrina Corbin told the paper.

    "We know you have very hard winters, and we know you have messy roads," Corbin added. "We like to think of us as the Starbucks of our industry. You can pull in, it's very convenient. We'll wash your car for $3, give you a free vacuum and get you out of here in five minutes."

    The $3 wash consists of a body wash, undercarriage wash and dry, and customers can add on other services, such as rust inhibitors or a 14-blower dry, that can drive the price up to $10.

    The first location will be followed by four other car washes in the next 18 months, according to Corbin. The company operates 18 express tunnel car washes in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

    QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told the Eagle the added competition wouldn't change QuikTrip's entrance into the automated tunnel wash market.

    "In fact, we welcome them to Wichita," Thornbrugh said. "We focus on what we do, and we're convinced that the model we have is a quality car wash at a competitive price."

    In October 2006, CSNews Online reported the company chose Wichita, Kan., as a second region to test its upscale car wash concept with two conveyor-style washes at existing stores.

    Both locations sport brushless car wash systems and have a conveyor-style upscale car wash manned by QuikTrip employees. Also included are free vacuum services and free air for tires.

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