Are Quality Car Wash and Tommy’s Express the same?

Quality Car Wash and Tommy's Express

To answer that question, we’ll need to start back in 1969.

Sonny and Jun Essenburg started Quality Car Wash * in 1969 in Holland, Michigan.  

Car washes in the 70s and 80s were a side function of auto body repair shops, often operating in dark, cinder-block style buildings that weren’t very friendly to the public.  

And they were often unreliable, closed for repairs almost more often than they were open. 

But the Essenburgs were unique.  

They were passionate about keeping their wash open, even if it meant creating their own parts and doing their own maintenance. 

Quality Car Wash expands across West Michigan

Sonny and Jun continuously improved their wash, working tirelessly to increase the number of cars they could wash in a day.  

Their ingenuity and vision propelled Quality Car Wash to expand in the area, opening new washes across the region. Jun’s son Tom Essenburg was also instrumental in the wash expansion, inheriting the family’s passion for the car wash business. 

Their efforts did not go unnoticed.  

In the 90s, West Michigan became a destination for out-of-town visitors wanting to learn from the Essenburgs. Many were impressed by their innovative equipment, processing speed, and vision for the industry.  

Innovation continues to drive change

The spirit of innovation that started with Sonny and Jun carried throughout the family. In 2001, Tom Essenburg launched the first version of the Tommy Car Wash Systems equipment line.  

He designed the distinctive round arches that are a key part of the tunnel today and envisioned a more retail experience for car washes – something bright, open, and friendly. 

Ideas began to percolate about offering our integrated systems and proven operational excellence as a franchise. A more distinct name was needed to grow globally as a car wash brand.  

In 2016, the Tommy’s Express Car Wash franchise launched. The iconic Tommy Tunnel equipment package became available to both Tommy’s Express franchise partners and private brands across the U.S. and internationally. 

Tommy’s Express and Quality Car Wash today

Today, Ryan Essenburg, Tom’s son, is chief innovation officer and president of Tommy’s Express. Mandi Brower, Tom’s daughter, runs Quality Car Wash. Both Tommy’s Express and Quality Car Wash are supported by Tommy Car Wash Systems.  

Tommy’s Express is rapidly expanding across the U.S. and internationally. Because of its deep roots in West Michigan, Quality Car Wash remains a staple in communities across the region.  

Today, the two companies exist in synergy. For over 50 years, our family of brands has been developing car wash equipment and processes to make Tommy’s Express who we are today. Members can wash anywhere, anytime nationwide at over 120 Tommy’s Express and the Michigan Quality Car Wash locations. 

Decades of experience in the industry help propel our franchises to success. Our corporately owned stores give us the daily operations involvement alongside our partners, allowing us to learn and grow together.  

We consider it a privilege to work in an industry that serves communities.  

And we can’t wait to see what’s to come in the next 50 years. 

*2667 28th St. Quality Car Wash not included.