Sam Meineke opened his three-bay muffler shop in 1972 with a single product line, and through time, he and his successors have expanded the business into a complete automotive car-care center. Today, nearly 900 franchise owners operate their locations around the globe, still standing on the firm foundation of Sam's ideal of nursing vehicles back to health at fair prices. Meineke Car Care Centers’ mechanics perform an array of services, keeping rides running in showroom condition with tune-ups, 23-point inspections, tire rotations, and deep-tissue windshield massages.
Since Bob Sumerel opened his first retail tire store in 1968, he has always tried to put the customer first, next to all the gold-medal winners and Neil Armstrong. His store's 20-plus current locations offer an entire slate of auto services, from tire rotations and sales to oil changes. On the site's Why Bob Sumerel page, customers and employees discuss the benefits of the company, and the My Garage feature tracks car histories such as oil changes and service reminders. Every Bob Sumerel also operates under the Fixed Forever guarantee, promising that parts will work forever—up until the sun balloons to a red giant and swallows the earth with its unfathomably hot plasma—with warranties to cover any unforeseen problems.
Underwater World Scuba Center offers scuba-diving courses that take students from the shallows of a heated indoor swimming pool at its dive shop to the depths of the ocean in faraway places such as Fiji and the Cayman Islands. Open-water certification classes cover breathing techniques and safety regulations for beginners, whereas advanced certification courses give pupils enough skills to explore the depths as a master diver or marine-life photographer. The center's trainers also provide guidance to customers who are purchasing equipment, service and repair gear, and organize scuba trips to exotic locations.
Though commonplace today, the concept of getting something to eat or drink while fueling up at a gas station was an odd idea 34 years ago. The first ampm, originally an add-on to Arco gas stations, opened in Southern California in 1978, and since then, the hybrid gas station-snack emporium has spread to more than 1,000 locations in nine states. From hot food prepared onsite to 24 flavors of soda and windshield-wiper fluid, ampm refuels people and cars alike with tasty snacks. Some locations also maintain car washes to send rides off with a dazzling shine.
When Mike's Carwash first opened in 1948, it was one of only 18 carwash businesses in the United States. Today, the family-owned establishment keeps the 65-year-old tradition of gussying up automobiles alive at 42 locations throughout the Midwest. At each location, accommodating staffers stand by to assist customers during the cleaning process. Decked out in cartoon neckties, the cheerful team ushers cars into computer-controlled washers that eschew traditional gear-operated brushes and baseball bats in favor of controlled sprays and soft cloths. After the mixture of eight signature soaps de-grimes surfaces, 200-miles-per-hour gusts of hot air dry vehicles instantly. Mike's also offers specialty coats to give car exteriors and tires additional shine.
Trained technicians at QuikStop Oilube's 13 tristate locations complete automotive services from speedy lubes to tire rotations with an ethos of friendliness and dedication established in 1987. Products keep engines smoothly churning and piston cylinders from attracting feral whack-a-moles. Each location offers full Saturday hours with select centers open on Sundays to ensure convenient service for any schedule. While-you-wait service rests on a trademark 10-minute oil change, complete with a fresh filter and a high-octane lollipop for well-behaved cars.