Shop Look: Lube Express of Chico, Calif.

June 1, 2020

Here's a ground-up build for this California operator, who designed the shop to accommodate nearly any vehicle.

SHOP STATS: Lube Express   Location: Chico, Calif.  Operator: Charles Ganzer  Average Car Count: 55  Staff Size: 9  Shop Size: 3 bays Average Ticket: $86  

Plus-Sized Pit

Co-owner Charles Ganzer say that the Express Lube building was a ground-up construction, completed in 2009. He took over in 2016.

Even during a tough economic period, the owners invested a lot into the building. Those investments have stood the test of time for this attractive three-bay quick lube.

“I really like the openness of the building,” says Ganzer, who runs the day-to-day operations. “It’s glass doors front and back. You can see in and out all the time. It’s very visible from the road due to our landscaping.”

An extra-large middle bay door helps provide space up top, but there’s a lot going on beneath ground level.

“We have a full basement,” he says. “The entire width of the shop.”

While that allows ample room for inventory and space for techs, the basement has also been prepared for emergency containment in case of a big spill.

“We put waterproofing in the concrete downstairs, so it acts as a secondary containment,” Ganzer says.

Inventory Matters

Lube Express focuses on preventative maintenance services only, which means the shop moves through inventory at a good rate. Ganzer says the shop carries around $40,000 of inventory in a month.

That means oil—and a good variety, at that. There are bulk tanks in the basement. He keeps pit packs above ground for specialty oils and even has mid-sized containers for others.

“We do have Rhino tanks set up upstairs, which is a new addition to our facility,” he says. “It gives us the ability to carry a nice little package, easy to do. No pumps or anything; it’s a gravity fed system.”


Lube Express customers can either wait in a customer area or in their vehicles during service. It’s about 50-50, Ganzer says. Either way, he says the building is set up well for a brightly lit, inviting atmosphere. 

“It’s aesthetically pleasing,” he says. “It’s a brick building with a stucco front covered porch area. It’s an inviting shop.”

That’s part of the reason the shop has a more than 70-percent customer return rate and a consistent car count.