Shop Name: Ecolube
Location: Chowchilla, California
Operators: Clay Haynes, Josh Ringeisen, and Jerry Volkmar
Shop size: 3 bays
Staff size: 7
Just Keep Swimming
After two years of dedicated sweat equity and one of the wettest California winters in decades, Ecolube opened its bay doors to the Chowchilla community on September 6, 2023. Business partners Clay Haynes, Josh Ringeisen, and Jerry Volkmar took a literal hands-on approach when they helped construct the shop and didn’t even let something like a flooded basement deter their goals.
“We pumped out a swimming pool of water out of our basement with shop vacs when we were building this place,” says Ringeisen.
Nevertheless, the partners persevered. The result? A 2,665 square foot drive-thru shop with a full basement and ample storage space. One of the three bays is 14 feet tall, which allows the shop to service tall vehicles such as motor homes and school buses.
Other intentional design components include modern equipment, LED lighting, and a fully concrete and steel structure built without any asphalt or wood. That goes for what’s around the building as well. The partners say the entire nearly half-acre large lot is concrete.
It’s All in the Details
Ecolube is well situated for exposure to consistent traffic. It’s near two major shopping centers, and a another Chowchilla business is right next door: a newer car wash facility.
Customers have commented not only on the convenience of the local lube shop, but also on its details. For example, some of the shop’s curb appeal employs the use of vintage wine barrels as repurposed planters. The clean and sturdy floor of the shop is something that also gets a lot of attention.
“We have a very, very nice floor—top and bottom, basement and upper,” Ringeisen says. “We get comments about that all the time.”
Other elements that aren’t as customer-facing were thoroughly thought through as well, such as waste oil disposal.
“We set up our waste oil where it would be pumped at ground level,” Ringeisen says. “That’s one of the things we’re kind of proud of.”
But the partners emphasize that they can’t take all the praise. They also take great pride in their team, describing the crew as an “outstanding group of people,” who have helped the start-up lube shop begin to make its mark on the community.