NORMAL — A Texas developer is betting big on Jiffy Lube in the Twin Cities.
Stonebriar Auto Services, a Frisco-based company looking to open 150 franchise locations nationwide, plans to put three of them in Bloomington-Normal, starting with a north Normal store in 2020.
"When you look at a map of places with no Jiffy Lube, Central Illinois is kind of a hole," said Steve Isom, executive vice president at Stonebriar. "We see a lot of growth and development in Bloomington-Normal, a lot of upside for future growth, and we wanted to be part of that."
The first location, on Bradford Lane in Constitution Trail Centre, is expected to cost about $2 million and employ between eight to 10 people, most full time.
The Normal City Council will consider on Monday approving plans for that building.
The three stores — the other two are coming "in the near future" — could employ a total of 30, said Isom.
"We think it's a good location right in front of Schnucks and right off the highway," he said of the shopping center next to Interstate 55. "We're looking at how we could strategically spread those through the Bloomington-Normal market. ... We like going where there's already a strong retail development."
Isom said the stores won't be "your old concept of Jiffy Lube," offering not only quick oil changes — a couple of bays still will be dedicated to that — but brakes, alignments, tires and other more complicated auto services.
"There's things we'll be doing a little different and better than the competition," said Isom, including not only high-quality, fast service but personal touches like high-end coffee and bottled water in the waiting room.
Other Bloomington-Normal auto service businesses include Big Ray's, Grease Monkey, Pennzoil and Speed Lube.
Jiffy Lube is part of a wave of development at Constitution Trail Centre over the last few years. Other ongoing projects include The Park at Constitution Trail Centre, a multiple-building apartment complex to open this fall next to the AMC Classic 14, and Home2 Suites, an extended-stay hotel to open in 2020.
Recent projects include a new OSF Medical Group building and Sky Zone trampoline park on Bradford Lane, as well as Jumping Jax Family Fun Center and Pet Supplies Plus in existing buildings at the center.
Stonebriar also plans to open Jiffy Lube locations in Morton and Peoria.
In other business, the council will hear a presentation from Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne and board member Julie Hile, a Normal appointee.
Thorne said he hopes to dispel misinformation about the Bloomington-Normal bus system following controversial board decisions to end the Olive route July 1 and hike fares over four years, starting in October. Critics have said those decisions will hurt low-income and disabled riders who depend on buses.
Council member Karyn Smith is pushing to overturn the bus system's budget, which starts July 1, to prevent those changes and start deliberations about a new budget between Connect Transit, the city of Bloomington and the town. But no such vote can be taken after it was not put on the council agenda.
The Normal City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday on the fourth floor at Uptown Station.