Shop Look: Mountain Lakes Auto Wash and Express Lube of Hewitt, New Jersey

July 1, 2023
This thoughtfully designed shop emulates a cabin vibe in a quick lube setting.

Shop name: Mountain Lakes Autowash and Express Lube

Location: Hewitt, New Jersey

Operator: Peter Esposito

Shop size: 4 bays and a car wash

Staff size: 4

True to its Name

Situated in a landscape that has a mountain on one side and an 11-mile-wide lake on the other, this shop’s name is as clever as it is practical.

“I named it Mountain Lakes, and we fit right into the theme of the area (and) the beauty of the area,” Owner Peter Esposito says. “Between the mountain and the lake, the log cabin facade inside and out really plays into all of that.”

The shop opened in 2004 after Esposito bought the 2.8-acre plot of land it sits on. The entirety of Mountain Lakes may take up 8,650-square feet of space, but it embodies the vibe of a cozy cabin.

“I built it, so I love everything about it,” Esposito says. “It was completely personalized and customized to me.”

Cabin Fever-less

The exterior gives the appearance of being built by stacks of logs and stone. This theme carries into the interior as well. The lobby features a gas fireplace, coffee bar, television and even a fishpond with a waterfall. The car wash tunnel can be seen from the lobby area through a 110-foot glass wall.

“People like to sit in the lobby, in the corridors, and just watch the cars go through with the soaps and the colors and the equipment,” Esposito says.

Esposito promotes a welcoming environment that includes thoughtful outdoor landscaping, permitting friendly dogs into the shop, and giving quick lube customers a choice in how their vehicle is serviced.

“The customer has the option to stay in the vehicle or come out, go into the lounge (and) grab a cup of coffee, tea (or) hot chocolate, relax and watch TV,” Esposito says. “Or they can stay in their car if they’re more comfortable doing that.”

Problem Solver

Esposito’s work at Mountain Lakes led him to an invention called Eco-Plug. It’s an oil drain plug that’s both magnetic and threadless, and the idea came from an experience with a quick lube customer.

“Eco-Plug was born in my Quaker State express oil change due to an event that occurred 13 years ago with a customer’s car where the drain plug fell out,” Esposito says.

Esposito says human error can happen in this industry, and his invention helps prevent a compromised situation for a customer. Esposito describes it as inexpensive, permanent and a problem solver. It’s available at retailers like Wal-Mart, Auto Zone, and Amazon and through distributors including Highline Warren, Service Champ, Filpac and B&S Products.