Presque Isle’s only tunnel car wash will open later this year

5 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Presque Isle’s only tunnel express car wash is expected to open by the end of 2023 or at the beginning of 2024, depending on the construction schedule and the weather.

Daigle Oil Co. announced its purchase of the former Burger King building on Main Street in December, and in late April, the Presque Isle Planning Board approved Daigle’s plans to build a car wash.

Daigle Oil Co. is employee-owned and headquartered in Fort Kent and operates five Gentle Bear car washes throughout northern and central Maine, including Aroostook’s major towns and cities of Fort Kent, Caribou, Madawaska and Houlton, plus a conveyor one in Bangor. The new facility will be the company’s first express conveyor car wash in Aroostook and will have two lanes.

The company plans to update the one in Bangor around the same time that the Presque Isle facility opens.

Gentle Bear locations are made up of touchless single bay, or wand car washes, along with their  conveyor-style car wash depending on the location. The express conveyor car wash pulls multiple cars through while they are in neutral. The number of cars at a time will be determined by the chain speed of the conveyor belt, according to Sonya Dechene LeBoeuf, brand manager for Daigle Oil.

“There are a lot of dirty vehicles in Aroostook County. There are a lot of dirty vehicles right in Presque Isle, and we look forward to cleaning them up,” said Sonya Dechene LeBoeuf, brand manager for Daigle Oil.

Daigle Oil chose Presque Isle because it is the biggest city north of Bangor and the company is already operating two businesses in the Presque Isle community, including DOC’s Place Citgo at 782 North Main St., LeBoeuf said.

Buck Construction of Mapleton began work in June, but has been challenged to obtain the necessary materials to build the car wash and that the rainy weather has delayed progress, said Dawson Daigle, manager of Gentle Bear for Daigle Oil Co. The city’s utility district and private contractors are taking care of the power, sewer and water for the new building.

Daigle Oil declined to say how much it will cost to build the new car wash and did not know how many people it would employ to operate it.

Bradley’s used to have an operating tunnel conveyor car wash but now has a touchless automated car wash. The business could not get parts for its 20-year-old car conveyor computer.