Shop Look: Gwatzilla Wash 'N' Lube

Sept. 19, 2022

It’s tough to look at the branding of Gwatzilla Wash ‘N’ Lube and not get a feelling of fun.

SHOP STATS: Gwatzilla Wash 'N' Lube   Location:  Jacksonville, Ark.  Average Car Count: 45  Staff Size: 6 lube techs; 6 on wash side  Number of Bays: 2 quick lanes, third bay for repair 

Big Branding

It’s tough to look at the branding of Gwatzilla Wash ‘N’ Lube and not get a feelling of fun. The name, the bright green facade, and the cartoon depiction of company founder Harold Gwatney all give that impression.

Gwatzilla started in 2015 as Gwatney, a local dealership owner, wanted a separate quick lube business to serve all makes and models. After seeing some steady numbers with wash and lube services, the shop added some mechanical repair services, which has been a nice addition, according to General Manager Shea Perkins.

“Customers ask, ‘Can you guys do it?’ And for the longest time we said no,” Perkins says. “So within the last year, we started doing full service repairs on bay three.”

The conversion included the addition of a two-post lift. Perkins said they weren’t sure if it would fit through the bay doors until it was delivered.

“We were just hoping and praying that it was going to fit,” Perkins says.

About That Sign

The name Gwatzilla is derived from a nickname for Gwatney, who passed away in January. The original sign depicted a Godzilla-like creature to align with that nickname.

That didn’t last long, Perkins says. Attorneys for the intellectual property around Godzilla sent a cease-and-desist letter that said you can ditch the name or ditch the Godzilla sign. The company chose the latter.

But if you look closely at the sign, you can still see the dinosaur’s outline.

“Now, when you look at the gwatzilla logo and it’s Mr. Gwatney shifting a monster truck, the outside template is still Godzilla,” Perkins says. “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”

Space At a Premium

One logistical challenge for the location is the frontage space. There is a sliver of driveway in front of the building, where cars exit the bays and enter from the roadway. It can cause some backup, but repeat customers are quick learners.

“The layout, we make due with,” Perkins says. “It can be kind of troublesome for the traffic flow, but customers can learn how to navigate through the parking lot.”

The conversion of the third bay for repairs actually helped the car flow a bit on the back of the building, where cars line up in the queue. It makes the choice easier for drivers—just to to the shorter line.

“I liked being forced down to two bays,” Perkins says. “It’s kind of like being in front of the vending machine. When you have too many options, it can be frustrating to figure out which way to go.”

Courtesy of Glenn Ables
River Underwood Photography
Photo 90925830 | Auto Mechanic Team © Vadimgozhda |