Car wash chain suffers closures; workers laid off

Car wash chain suffers closures; workers laid off »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — "The car wash is closed?" asked a customer visiting the 34th Street location of Sparkling Image Car Wash on Wednesday.

That seemed to be the question of the day, as many cars continued to roll into the driveway of the empty business.

"Yes, the car wash and the deli are closed," responded Jackie Chase, a co-partner of neighboring business, Winner Circle Barber Shop.

A Sparkling Image Car Wash manager told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that they have closed three locations, including the one on 34th Street.

"Just the way businesses have performed over the last three years, we continue to try to do everything possible, but in order for it to move forward, these were just changes that had to be made and had to be made in this time line," said Pete Nani, the regional manager for Sparkling Image Car Wash.

Employees were reportedly notified Monday about the company changes. Sparkling Image said 40-50 people were laid off. Nani also added that the closures at 920 34th St., 1701 Stine Road and 7301 White Lane will help keep the remaining five stores in Bakersfield open.

The new developments are not only affecting customers who show up to the closed locations and have to detour, but Chase, the co-owner of Winner Circle Barber Shop, said it's affecting her business, too.

The barber shop is located in the same building as the former 34th Street location of Sparkling Image Car Wash, but it's in the back of the building.

"You know a lot of our clients came here to get their car washed or eat lunch, so now that that's gone, that clientele has left, and we don't know how much in the next few weeks, how many clients we may lose," Chase said.

The 34th Street Deli, which was famous for it's burgers, is also relocating with the car wash. Nani said customers can still enjoy a burger and a car wash at it's 24th and H streets location.

That leaves the 35-year-old Winner Circle Barber Shop on it's own. Chase told Eyewitness News that she wishes Sparkling Image would have given her and her other co-partners more notice about the closure. She said they were hit with the news on Tuesday night, and now they are forced to find a new location in the next two weeks.

Nani said they are in communication with Winner Circle.

"We're absolutely trying to work with them, we're actually trying to put a shop here at our Rosedale location, which may help them out," said Nani.

The Sparkling Image manager said they do believe there is a silver lining. They said the future is bright, not only for Winners Circle Barber Shop, but for their own employees at Sparkling Image too.

"The idea here is to consolidate, grow these businesses, and be able to continue to hire those people back," Nani said.