Meet Emerson Riley, the third-generation owner of Riley’s Wayne Car Wash, located at 249 N. Washington St. in Tiffin. Founded in 1952 by Emerson’s grandfather, Wayne C. Riley, Riley’s Car Wash is the second oldest family-owned car wash still operating in the United States!
Emerson says Wayne got the idea for the car wash from a comic strip. He salvaged parts for his car wash in Michigan, and opened up shop behind the building that is now Hunan King, which at the time, was owned by his father-in-law. They moved their current location in 1962. They started out doing “tub washes” and put in the automated system in 1977. During a drought in the 1980’s, a well was dug to serve the car wash.
Tiffin-native Emerson has been working at the family shop since he was 11 years old. “I never really wanted to leave Tiffin,” he said. “It’s quiet and I get to do my own thing. I never wanted a big city life.”
Of the family business he says, “It’s like home. I feel weird when I’m not here.”
You can stop by and see Emerson for a full detail, full-service car wash or outer car wash Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday is Ladies Day and Thursday is Retirees’ Day.