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El Paso family-owned Lube 'n Go sold to California company with expansion plans

Vic Kolenc
El Paso Times

Lube ‘n Go, El Paso’s largest automotive oil-change company, has been sold to Oil Changers, a California company, for an undisclosed amount.

The 45-year-old, family-owned business was looking for a capital infusion so it could grow and Oil Changers was a good fit because both companies have a “people-first culture,” said Mark Bochnowski, Lube ‘n Go co-owner, who, along with its other employees, will remain with the new company.

For 25 years, he helped his father, the recently retired John Bochnowski, operate the business along with several other family members. Mark Bochnowski’s grandfather, Larry Bartlett, founded the business in 1976.

Oil Changers, a 35-year-old company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, had 57 locations in California and Hawaii before the acquisition of Lube ‘n Go’s 14 locations. That includes one under construction at Joe Battle Boulevard and Pellicano Drive in far East El Paso.

The sale closed Oct. 14.

John Bochnowski, left, and his son, Mark Bochnowski, co-owners of the El Paso Lube 'n Go oil-change garage chain outside one of their locations in 2021. The chain was sold Oct. 14, 2021 to California-based Oil Changers.

“We’re looking to expand in the entire Southwest” and in West and Central Texas, and "the Lube ‘n Go family will help us do that,” Eric Frankenberger, Oil Changers president and chief executive officer, said in an email.

Bochnowski and Frankenberger have known each other for more than 20 years, and that relationship led to the sale, they said.

Lube ‘n Go signs are to remain in place for a year or more, and no major operational changes are planned, they said. Customer paperwork and banners inside its locations contain the Oil Changers name and logo.

"We feel like they have a great reputation in the market. We don't want to tarnish that " by immediately changing signage, Frankenberger said. "We'll co-brand for now."

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Lube ‘n Go’s 90 employees will remain, including its five administrative staff, four of whom are Bochnowski family members.

Mark Bochnowski, who was president of Lube ‘n Go, is now vice president of development for Oil Changers and will help add locations in El Paso and other markets, he said.

Lube 'n Go has 14 El Paso area locations, including this one at 10440 Montwood Drive, near Yarbrough Drive, in East El Paso.

Frankenberger said Oil Changers acquired 40 oil change locations over the last two years, and “we almost always leave the previous management teams in place."

“Our goal is to get to about 150 locations in the next three years,” including three to five additional locations in El Paso, Frankenberger said.

Oil Changers is owned by Greenbrier Equity Group, a Connecticut investment firm, and other investors, Frankenberger said.

Customer sales are good at both companies, Bochnowski and Frankenberger said. But neither company publicly releases sales numbers.

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The El Paso oil-change market has become more competitive recently as Lube X-press, another El Paso company, has been rapidly expanding. It has seven locations, including two coming soon, according to the Lube X-press website. It has one location in Northeast El Paso, and the rest in East El Paso and Socorro.

The growth of electric cars in decades to come may eventually alter the oil-change business to doing more automotive services other than oil changes because electric cars don’t use motor oil, Frankenberger noted.

“There will be changes, and we will adapt to that,” Frankenberger said.

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; on Twitter.