Kwiki Car Wash serves community for 40 years

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

As anyone with a dirty car knows, the Kwiki Car Wash has been a part of the Versailles landscape for as long as one can remember. It was the desire of Melvin Meisberger to provide a service to the community when he first got the idea to open a car wash in Versailles in the fall of 1969.

During his commute to Indianapolis, Meisberger noticed that there was not a car wash between Versailles and Madison. He purchased three lots on the corner of US 50 and High Street as well as a Kwiki franchise to build a car wash offering both self-service and automatic washes.

“The early years were a terrible struggle financially to meet the mortgage payments,” Meisberger said. “I had two problems: most people had never used a car wash, as they were only in the big cities, and teaching people how to use a car wash.”

Meisberger also learned through a trade industry magazine that for financial success, car washes were not recommended for towns with a population of less than 2500 people. At that time Versailles had 1500.

The original structure had two bays, one self-service and the other automatic. After a few years, Meisberger removed the automatic portion of the car wash due to equipment failure and poor quality in the soap used to clean the cars. Meisberger replaced the automatic portion in 2000 because of the improvements he saw in the equipment and the soaps.

Prices have changed over the years. In the beginning the cost for an automatic car wash was 75 cents and self-serve wash was 25 cents, with three options: soap, wax and rinse.

Today, the automatic wash starts at $4 and the self-serve starts at $1.25 with the additional options of foam brush, engine cleaner and spot free rinse.

Meisberger noted that many car washes do not stay in business for more than 10 years due to the maintenance of the equipment. “It is so much work keeping the equipment running,” he said.

Kwiki Car Wash stayed the test of time because he sees it as a service to the community. “I never thought the business wouldn’t go,” Meisberger said.

In addition, the success of his business can be attributed to keeping up with new technology by reading the trade magazines and visiting car washes while on vacation.
Meisberger has plans to install new dryer units in the auto wash. “They will be the biggest that are made in the industry,” he said.

“I wish to thank the public for supporting Kwiki Car Wash all these years. I will continue to do my best to keep it running, as it has become like family to me.”

Kwiki Car Wash is offering a special for the month of August as a thank you to its many customers. Those using the automatic car wash will receive $1 off the cost. Kwiki Car Wash is located on the corner of US 50 and High Street across from the CVS Pharmacy.

Loyal customer Vern Roberts, Versailles, pictured right, has been coming to the Kwiki Car Wash twice a week for many years to keep his vehicles clean. Zach Walker, pictured left, also of Versailles, came along to help.