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CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. here is adding automatic car washes to the its growing network of fuel centers.
The program is a partnership with Columbus-based developer Skilken Co. The alliance was sparked when the supermarket chain had difficulty finding a partner in the car wash business, according to local press reports, Skilken's successful 60-year track record of building stores for Kroger prompted it to step in and start its own car wash business.
The first Ken's Car Wash-named for SKilken president Ken Gold, opened in November at the Westfield Shopping Center in Delaware, Ohio, followed by one in Mansfield a month later.
A third Ken's Car Wash is scheduled to open in August at the Buckeye Grove Shopping Center in Grove City. Eight more car washes are on tap for the coming months, five in Central Ohio and three in Kroger's Delta Division, which includes Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Dale Hollandsworth, Kroger's director of integrated communication, was quoted as saying that the grocer wanted to add car washes to its fuel centers as an extra service for customers.
Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc. is already immersed in the car wash business via WetGo car wash stations, located adjacent to roughly 25 of its GetGo convenience and fuel centers.