Right near the corner of 34th Street and Ella Boulevard, a lone ranger continues to plug along, letting its history (long forgotten and recent) tell the story as it changes with the times.
The story of Dr. Gleem Car Wash and Lube Center began in 1968 from the roots of Houston legend Bud Adams, and continues to this day as the last original station from the legend’s Phillips 66 distributorship. In 1968, Adams used the distributorship to build eight express car washes all around the Houston area. Originally simply an express car wash where the driver was the employee, Dr. Gleem has adapted with the times.
Dubbed “Scrub-A-Dub” from 1968 until Dr. Gleem bought the property at 3103 Ella Blvd. in 1981, the shop has morphed from simply an express wash into a multi-faceted facility.
“Our biggest change kind of came gradually,” Kevin Jenkins said of the place’s transformation from a simple express wash and gas pump to a full-service station which has adapted over the years to bring in services such as detailing, we started changing oil, doing state inspections.
“Normally [going to the car wash] was boring — nobody wants to go wash their car, because it’s like an errand or checking something off your to-do list,” he said. But no more.
From there, Dr. Gleem has brought in a hair stylist, a smoothie bar (which is now a café), an expanded lobby and more over the years in attempts to transform a typically mundane chore into a legitimate one-stop shop and experience for all the errand needs of a constantly-evolving neighborhood.
“We just wanted to make it unique, because this is a unique area,” Jenkins said. “Now we’ve tried to make it into a place where you can knock a couple things off at once — there’s no dead time.”