If you've driven along Central Entrance in the last several months, you've likely seen a construction project across the road from Radco at 321 East Central Entrance. More recently, the building has taken shape, exhibiting round garage doors on either end and lots of red, black, and chrome all over the exterior.

We've actually gotten a lot of questions here at the station about what this project is, so I did a little digging.

It turns out a car wash chain called Tommy's Express is building on the site, with plans of opening their first Twin Ports location. The Holland, Michigan-based company has locations in the Twin Cities area, Rochester, and Wausau, along with spots in a number of other states.

The car wash chain's website explains that they have 62 active locations and 51 more opening soon. Beside the Duluth location coming soon, the company is also building in Eau Claire and Mounds View.

While there isn't much more information on the company's website about when they might be open, the project certainly appears to be in the later phases, which suggests to me certainly sometime later this year.

The Duluth location already has a Facebook page, which has a number of posts teasing the opening of the car wash and offering information about what they're all about. The page appears to have been created back in November of 2020 and has been pretty active for a store that isn't open yet.

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So, what is Tommy's Express Car Wash? Looking through their website and Facebook page, here are some things I gathered:

  • It is not a touchless wash, but they boast having very soft brushes as part of their washing system.
  • They offer free vacuums and mat washers as part of their car wash experience.
  • They also offer a tire shine as part of washes, adding a protective coating to "keep tires shiny and looking their best".
  • They welcome duallys/larger pickup trucks, as well as smaller vehicles. The height restriction is 84 inches (7 feet). Width isn't as big of a concern, apparently.
  • They seem to emphasize membership-based car washes. They call their membership the "Tommy Club", which utilizes a smartphone app-based account which allows for a frictionless experience for members.
  • Non-members are still allowed to utilize the car wash, but they emphasize benefits to membership.
  • Non-members can still use the company's mobile app to pay per wash, without a recurring fee.
  • One of the key membership benefits their site identifies is the ability to simply pull up and have their sensors/cameras identify your vehicle by license plate, automatically selecting the designated wash you've picked for your vehicle and utilizing that account for automatic payment.
  • Membership comes with multiple washy type tiers, with the option for family plans and multiple vehicles.
  • They also tout faster service for members, as they don't have to wait in the payment line.
  • Members can use their membership at any Tommy's location.

Their website says that monthly memberships cost anywhere from $19.99 per month and go up to $34.99 per month, depending on the level of wash you want. Each membership comes with unlimited washes each month of your subscription. They don't list the pay-per-wash prices, though I would imagine they are competitive with the prices at other car washes in the area.

We'll keep an eye on things to see when they plan to open, but from the looks of the project, it can't be too far off.

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