Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Grand Opening of Ace Car Wash – March 1956

Back in the 1950s, when a new local business was launched, the owners inevitably took out either a full-page or half-page Grand Opening ad in the Journal. It was a festive occasion, with plenty of prizes to win if you stopped by, and local radio remote broadcasts that added to the festivities. The ads also included the names of the bank, contractors and suppliers involved, along with congratulatory messages.

And that’s what’s going on in the above ad for Ace Car Wash, which ran in the Lorain Journal on March 14, 1957 – 60 years ago today. The ad also reveals the people behind the business: owners T. Dulio and T. Burke, as well as the manager, Phil Soto.

Ace Car Wash had previously been located on the other side of the street at 1376 Colorado. (That stretch of Colorado is a real car wash haven, considering that Robo-Wash was located just a little down the street at 922 Colorado.)

Anyway, Ace Car Wash became the car wash for George May Ford around 1967. Then the car wash went vacant around 1970 before being revived as Mitey Kleen Car Wash. It was briefly Ace Car Wash again a year later before going vacant for the last time.

Its car wash days over, the property became Ohio Auto Body in the mid-1970s.

Today, the building sits on Colorado Avenue, waiting for its next useful period.

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UPDATE (March 16, 2017)
I received a nice email from Todd Burke a few days ago. Todd lives in Nashville, TN but grew up in Lorain in the 60's – with a family connection to the car wash.
Todd wrote, “My family owned Ace Car Wash and I worked there as a kid around 1970.
“My uncle was Tom Dulio and my father was Todd Burke.”
I asked Todd if his uncle was related to well-known local musician and band leader Jimmy Dulio.
“My uncle and Jimmy were brothers. My uncle also worked at the coal and ore docks and my father was a newscaster at WEOL.”
I also asked Todd about the building, with its two smaller bays and one large one. Were there always three bays, and did the building require a lot of modification to be used as an auto body shop?
“The third bay was added later to make room for detailing work such as waxing, buffing and steam cleaning engines,” wrote Todd. “For the body shop, I don't think there was a lot of retrofitting. They just used the available space to make up what they needed.”
Todd remembers how the car wash was a busy place in its heyday.
“I can remember on Saturday's the line would wrap around the building and down to the A&P,” noted Todd. “Sunny cold days were the busiest. Back then, McDonalds was right across the street – handy for lunch!”

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