Car detailing specialty chain opening first Indiana store

Detail Garage, a Los Angeles-based chain of auto detailing supply stores, is set to open its first Indiana location in Plainfield this week.

The specialty store, which has its grand opening on Friday, will occupy a long-vacant 3,216-square-foot space in the Plainfield Crossing shopping center at 2439 E. Main St.

Local franchisee Jerry Cary of Avon said he’s targeting both hobbyists and professional detailers as customers, and he believes the market can support at least one additional store. He’s already scouting sites on both the north and south sides of the metro area for a second site that he hopes to have open in the third quarter of next year.

Detail Garage isn’t a place that actually does detailing. Rather, it sells the cleaning products, sprays, waxes, buffing pads and other products for people who want to do their own detailing.

“It’s everything to clean your car, including the tools to do so, from top to bottom,” Cary said.

If you wonder how a store can exist to serve such a niche, you may not know how many products exist for the dedicated detailer.

A proper detailing job, Cary said, typically involves washing a car multiple times, preparing its surface by removing embedded contaminants, polishing it, applying a protective coating, then waxing it. Beyond that, a detailer can use a host of specialty products to clean and condition everything from floor mats to leather upholstery to metal parts and plastic trim.

And if a detailer wants to take the car beyond just clean to showroom condition, the process gets even more involved. “You can get as complicated as you want,” Cary said.

The store will also offer do-it-yourself classes ranging from a “detailing basics” class that will cost around $100 to a five-day master training program that costs more than $1,000 and is aimed at people who want to start their own detailing business.

Detail Garage is the retail arm of California-based Chemical Guys, which makes car detailing products. The first Detail Garage opened in California in 2016, and the chain now has more than 60 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The Plainfield store is one of eight opening this fall, along with others in Texas, California, Virginia and Georgia.

Cary, who works as a financial adviser in his day job, describes himself as “kind of a car nut” for whom detailing is a personal hobby. After a nephew introduced him to Chemical Guys products, Cary decided to become a franchisee. He liked the brand’s products and its focus on customer education, and he thought the concept would do well in the Indianapolis market with its strong car culture.

“People that know this brand, they know this brand—and they’re very, very loyal fans,” Cary said.

Commercial real estate market analyst Brandon Frankel, who works for Washington, D.C.-based CoStar Group, said Detail Garage’s competition will likely come from the supply warehouses where professional detailers buy their supplies.

“While there are many auto detailers in Indianapolis, the presence of a store like Detail Garage is not necessarily a direct competitor with what currently exists,” Frankel wrote in an email. “The auto detailers in Indianapolis typically don’t have a store component where they sell detailing supplies.”

At least two other car detailing products companies have a presence here. Tacoma, Washington-based Griot’s Garage makes its products in Plainfield. Griot’s sells at chain automotive stores like Auto Zone and O’Reilly Auto Parts.  Impact Automotive Reconditioning Products, another supplier of auto detailing products, has a facility in Speedway.

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