TAMPA BAY – Around Tampa Bay, a car wash war is brewing.  Perhaps you’ve noticed them: Scores of new tunnels rising along crowded thoroughfares, often right across the street from, surprise, another car wash.

For example:

Take 5, of oil change fame, has eight car washes so far across Odessa, Brooksville, Port Richey, Ellenton, Spring Hill and Lehigh Acres.  Big Dan’s Car Wash, a Georgia-based chain launched in 2020, has 20 locations either open, under contract or under construction in this region alone.  Locally-owned Woodie’s Wash Shack hopes to expand its Tampa Bay empire to 50 car washes by 2025. Or as they put it, creating “a corridor of dominance.”

In a move that reflects a nationwide trend, companies are hoping to saturate Florida — and especially Tampa Bay — with as many car wash locations as possible. They know in order to get consumers to fork over anywhere from $20 to $50 for a monthly subscription, it needs to be convenient for them.

“There’s been a lot of private equity capital that’s been poured into the car wash industry,” said Jay Shadday, president of Big Dan’s. “The biggest reason is the subscription. I would say 99% of the car washes that you’re seeing built in Florida, and really across the country, are focused on that.”