North Vancouver’s Oasis has run dry
Vancouver has recently lost an iconic car wash. After more than 50 years, the Oasis car wash has closed. “The high cost of property taxes, insurance, materials and especially labor make it impossible to stay afloat”, manager Steven Daniels posted on the company website.
In an interview with North Shore News, Cyndy Daniels, the company’s bookkeeper and wife of Steve Daniels, said Oasis has been inundated with phone calls and emails since word got out, with many people expressing how much they’ll be missed.
“If it wasn’t for the customers, we wouldn’t have gone as long as we did,” she said. “It’s really sad we couldn’t keep it going. But it’s just not profitable anymore.”
The Oasis Car Wash was founded in 1952 by Elgin Arnold. He established his first bucket-and-hose car wash business that year. Together with his wife Helen they established themselves in the community as successful entrepreneurs.
10 years later, Oasis expanded to the North Shore, opening a West Vancouver location at Park Royal. The North Vancouver location, with its tropical themed sign, giant palm tree and fountains facing Third Street, opened in 1967. It was the last surviving Oasis car wash.
Elgin Arnold died in 2011. Helen lived to be almost 100 but died in 2019 – the same year the original Kingsway location of Oasis closed.
In an update to the company’s website posted on Sept. 29, longtime manager Steve Daniels made the sad announcement that the Arnold family’s vision could no longer carry on. Daniels cited numerous cost pressures on small businesses. The post added thanks to the employees who’d kept the business going over the years.
In their best days, Oasis washed 1,000 to 1,200 cars a day. Since the pandemic, these numbers have dropped considerably. Often they were lucky if they’d see 120.
“I think it’s the economy too since COVID,” she said. “People don’t want to spend their money to get the car washed.… It’s sad and there’s so many businesses right now that are shutting down because of the same issues.”
Not all is lost, we read on North Shore News. The famous neon “swinging girl” sign in Burnaby was purchased by the city in 2010 and has since then been refurbished.