BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. — When customers walk into the new Russell Speeder's Car Wash and detailing center at 527 N. Bedford Road in Bedford Hills this spring, manager Mike Shullman believes they will like what they see.
Set to open May 1, Russell Speeder's will replace current occupant Splash Car Wash, which is moving to the former Carvel site at 570 N. Bedford Road. The new Bedford Hills location is one of two new Speeder's properties under the charge of general manager Shullman of New Canaan, Conn. The other is Villa Avenue in Fairfield, Conn.
The property at 527 N. Bedford Road has been in his family since the 1960s, when his grandfather ran its first car wash at the location and where he worked as a boy, said Shullman, who grew up in Somers. Now, Russells Speeder's, his family's company, owns and operates 18 locations with outlets in Connecticut, New York, Nebraska and Florida.
To promote this new addition to Bedford Hills, first presented to the Planning Board in June 2011, Russell Speeder's is holding a sweepstakes to give five people free car washes for two years.
Shullman will oversee the hiring and renovating for six months. While providing full car wash and detailing services, the company will redo the building's facade, replace all the car wash equipment, refurbish the interior waiting room and build an outdoor café-like waiting area, among other projects, he said.
“I did my first renovation back in 1987 and I’ve probably done upwards of 20,” said Shullman, who has also built several car wash facilities from the ground up.
The idea to open in Bedford Hills came two years ago, Shullman said. Splash’s lease had just ended, and the two circumstances "came together at the same time," he said.
Splash is moving to the old Carvel site, a decision that prompted neighbors on Valerio Court to raise complaints with the Bedford Planning Board about potential traffic, safety and noise issues. Splash’s much-debated plan will come before the board for final site plan approval Tuesday.
Shullman will manage building renovations and oversee employee training in high level customer service skills. This is a value, he said, that sets Russell Speeder's apart.
“I think the biggest difference is our people,” he said. “We have an extensive hiring process. If somebody shows up, it doesn’t matter whether they're vacuuming or cleaning windows or detailing cars, the management is looking for people interested in a long-term job, not a short-term paycheck."