Client Name: Renee Costa
Business Name: Lady Rich Express Car Wash
Business Website:  Coming soon!
Industry: Car Wash
Location: Lebanon, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Andrea O'Brien & Stewart Gates

Lady Rich client story

Renee Costa has always wanted to own her own high-tech car wash business. On May 19, 2023, after she closed on the purchase of a previously owned car wash - soon to be Lady Rich Express Car Wash - her dream came true. “When I closed, I went there by myself stood on the land, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can't believe I'm a business owner’.” She looks forward to opening Lady Rich Express Car Wash in Lebanon, NH in September.

The name, “Lady Rich” came from Renee’s nieces who gave her the nickname. On many visits over the year, the girls had observed their aunt rolling up, seemingly every time she came over, in a new ride, be it a Corvette, Camaro, Jeep; anything new. The Lady Rich name stuck and Renee chose to give it to her car wash.

Renee has loved nice, clean cars for as long as she can remember. She says, “I love cars and I love the carwash. I just think it’s a fun place to be.”

But, before she started her own business, Renee went to college and earned her master’s in business administration. Her full-time work since then has been working with doctors who conduct scientific research. She’s worked for highly respected institutions such as Harvard School of Public Health, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and currently, Boston Children’s Hospital, just to name a few. 

It was when she accepted the offer at Dartmouth that her dream to own a car wash practically became a necessity. She had just moved to Lebanon from Massachusetts and when she went to wash her car, there were no car washes to be found. She thought, “now I know why I’m here. I’m going to open a car wash.”

Renee eventually found an existing car wash that was no longer in full operation and decided she wanted to purchase it. So, she got to work on writing a business plan and needed some help. “I never owned a business.  I always knew I wanted to own a business, but I never knew where to start,” says Renee. That’s when she contacted NH SBDC. She initially worked with Business Advisor Dr. Stewart Gates, but once she found a car wash to purchase, she worked with Business Advisor Andrea O'Brien. Andrea coached her through writing the business plan and has provided her needed encouragement throughout the process.

lady rich rendering

“Andrea inspired me,” says Renee. “There were times I wanted to say ‘to heck with this,’ but Andrea would say ‘Oh come on…let’s go.’ When Renee would come upon challenges with things like attaining financing, Andrea was there to provide her ideas for other avenues she could take to get there. “She kept pushing me to keep going after it, and I did,” says Renee.

And “going after it” is exactly what Renee is doing.  She has a big vision for Lady Rich Express Car Wash.

In a three-phase plan, Lady Rich will eventually be comprised of three buildings. In phase one / building one (first to open) will be an express touch car wash. Phase two / building two will have two touchless car washes, two self-serve, and one dog wash. Finally, phase three / building three will house an apartment and a Lady Rich merchandise store. She is also considering ice cream. And, with employees in bow ties and Renee on site to interact with her patrons of what she calls her “car ministry,” this is sure to be a car wash unlike any other. “I want this to be the happy place of Lebanon,” says Renee.

And, once the car wash is up and running, Renee looks forward to starting Lady Rich Rides with a small fleet of Cadillacs to provide folks rides to places like church, to get their car repaired, and such. Ultimately, Renee’s goal is to build two successful businesses that will allow her to support scientific research and give back to her community.

A big vision requires big support and that’s what NH SBDC has provided to Renee. “The support of the SBDC was very instrumental in me getting my car wash,” reflects Renee. In addition to helping Renee with her business plan, Andrea also connected Renee to valuable banking resources, including Ryan Johnson with BDC Capital.  Ryan was able to provide Renee with a critical piece of her financing. 

Renee closes by saying,

“Andrea O'Brien and Dr. Gates have been exceptional. They were instrumental in the development of my business plan, giving excellent business advice, and always available when I needed them.”