Halo Car Wash Launches Location Expansion in ‘Under-Served’ Canadian Markets [Interview]

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Halo Car Wash has a simple motto: Clean Feels Good.

And the express car wash company is on an expansion path to grow the business throughout Ontario.

“We’re primarily focused on expanding our model in target markets throughout Ontario, although we do have our sights set on Quebec and the Maritimes as well ,” said Greg Pedersen, President of the venture.

The concept began in early 2018. Pedersen used to be in the tire distribution business. He was approached with an opportunity to start up a new car wash business – the express exterior car wash model. 

Halo Car Wash (Image: Michelle Valbergh)

“Initially I wasn’t all that excited about car washing so we decided to visit a few of the more well-known express exterior car washes throughout the United States. The Express Exterior car wash model developed across the US over the past 20 years, essentially replacing the touchless car wash market ,” said Pedersen.

“Visiting some of the more well-known car wash operators throughout the US was a real eye opener for me; they really know how to take care of their customers and provide a first class wash experience. That is something you really don’t see here. We saw an opportunity to do something similar in Canada, which is a market that’s currently extremely under-serviced in the car wash business. That’s essentially how Halo Car Wash started.”

The company acquired some land in Stratford, Ontario and opened its first site in May 2019. Then it opened its second site in December 2019 in Keswick, Ontario and its most recent site in Orleans, near on the east end of Ottawa, in September 2020.

Pedersen said the company will be opening a location in London in February and then Woodstock and Stittsville by early next summer and Waterloo by late Fall.

Image: Halo Car Wash

Pedersen said the Halo Car Wash sites are typically 1.0 to 1.5 acres, but he said the company could fit into a site of 0.6 acres depending on the site dynamic. 

“We also have more sites in the early stages of development, scheduled beyond 2023.  

“One of my primary goals right now is to continue to explore expansion opportunities throughout Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Up to now, we’ve been developing our own properties however, but we’re certainly open to leasing opportunities. We’re looking at both leasing and buying opportunities.”

Halo Car Wash (Image: Michelle Valbergh)

When asked how many sites the company could expand to, Pedersen replied: “We’re hoping to add by 3-5 locations each year however finding the right properties hasn’t been easy. That said, we’re really proud of the sites we have so far.”

The express exterior car wash model, he said, includes the cleaning of the outside of the vehicle while providing customers with the tools to do the inside of a vehicle.

The sites have the ability to wash up to 200 cars per hour. 

“We offer all of our customers complimentary use of our self-serve vacuum stations and custom mat washers. Each site has anywhere from 14-19 vacuum stations and multiple mat washers. This is fairly unique to the car wash industry in Canada,” said Pedersen. “The  vast majority of our customer base are unlimited wash members; they drive most of the traffic to our sites. Membership offer our customers unlimited access to all our wash facilities, including our wash tunnel, vacuum stations and custom mat washers.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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