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f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Plaza Car Wash

Posted Monday, April 7, 2014, at 12:00 AM

Plaza Car Wash opened in 1963 as a hand-operated car wash on the corner of William and Christine Streets in Cape Girardeau. This picture was made by G.D. Fronabarger soon after its grand opening.

Vernon "Pee Wee" Rhodes established the company which soon expanded into an auto clean-up and detailing service for local automobile dealerships.

Plaza Car Wash also sold tires to the auto dealers and later purchased a retreading operation. The purchase allowed Plaza Car Wash to begin a tire wholesale route so retreads could be sold outside the local area and to retail customers.

By 1967, the company was selling tires in addition to the retreads. The business continued to grow and soon had three wholesale trucks operating, a full-time car wash and a retreading shop that worked through the night.

A tire changer was purchased and mounted on the sidewalk outside the car wash. All tire changes were performed along the street using a jack. Local regulations prohibited this practice and caused Plaza Car Wash to develop into Plaza Tire Service.

--from Locally-Owned Businesses, Oct. 28, 2001, Southeast Missourian

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  • LOCAL REGULATIONS, WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? a GO-GETTER TRYING TO MAKE A DOLLAR AND EVEN THEN CAPE WAS TRYING TO RUN A BUSINESS OUT OF TOWN. KNOWING PEEWEE I BET HE HAD A FEW WORD FOR THE POWERS TO BE.

    -- Posted by Bussy on Mon, Apr 7, 2014, at 6:35 PM