With VA and Small Business loans, John Yates, purchased the Gulf station on Washington Street in 1964. Over the years, he eventually owned and operated several Alexandria businesses. All five of his sons and his wife, Lena, spent time working in the various family businesses.
John also purchased the Mobil station at the corner of Braddock Road and Mt. Vernon Avenue. His youngest son, Jason, spent his whole life growing up at the service station. In fact, Jason has never worked anywhere else his whole life. Eventually, in 1986, Jason purchased the Braddock Road station from his parents and began the second generation.
As Jason began managing the station, he could see the potential for great growth in the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Following the words of his father, he worked hard and reinvested the money back into the business. In 1982, he added two additional bays to the existing two-bay shop and thereby doubled its capacity. It was during this time that Jason learned the valuable lesson that providing great customer service increased company growth through repeat customers. That would be the business formula that he would carry forward for many years with the development of other businesses.
From the time he was old enough to hold a squeegee, Jason, Jr. spent free time at the station with his parents. He loved being there and his love for cars remains today. From washing windows to running the cash register standing on a milk crate, he was always ready to pitch in!
Jason wanted to change the perception that all service stations were the same. He wanted to show that they could be clean and neat and add value to the neighborhood.
In 1997, Jason and Loren expanded the business and opened Yates Kingstowne Mobil. It was their first foray into the world of convenience stores and entering more than 3,000 items into inventory was new for everyone! It was rebranded as a Sunoco station in later years.
Three years after the opening of Yates Kingstowne Sunoco, Jason took over operation of the oil change bays. Jason and Jason, Jr. worked the entire summer and it was rebranded Yates Express Lube.
In 2012, during the middle of the development process for Yates Corner, Jason and Loren purchased Yates Kingstowne Car Wash & Convenience - a beautiful property consisting of BP gas pumps (now Shell), a large convenience store and a car wash. It was converted from a self serve drive through tunnel into a full service car wash offering various services including the Yates Signature Car Wash and complete auto detailing.
In 2005, looking out over the dilapidated site across from his service station, Jason had a vision of what Yates Corner could be. He envisioned a multi-use retail site with parking, something desperately needed in Alexandria, that would benefit the Rosemont and Del Ray neighborhoods. By 2010, concept drawings were completed and the approval process began through the City of Alexandria. Construction began in late 2012 and was completed in late 2013.
The Yates Corner development included the remediation and redevelopment of a former Brownfield site from a service station that had been abandoned over 30 years earlier.
The entire building is made from poured concrete and post tension slab construction resulting in superior strength and durability. In a vast undertaking, the entire project was completed in just over 12 months, from start to finish.
In December 2013, Yates Corner 7-Eleven opened, becoming the first Yates Corner business to open.
The second business to open was Yates Dry Cleaning. This was a new industry for the Yates and they learned from the ground up. Jason, Jr. attended and graduated from the Dry Cleaning Academy and was essential in the layout of the plant with his father.
Investing in the very best equipment in the industry and finding and hiring the best people who have a passion for this work and its customers has put Yates Dry Cleaning & Laundry Services on the map in the professional dry cleaning business in Alexandria.
In October 2015, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap opened its doors! The inspiration for Lena’s came from the Yates family matriarch and Jason’s mother, Lena. She knew the importance of giving her family love and stability through the comfort of food. Lena’s has been created to provide a gathering place where families and friends can escape their hectic daily routines, relax and feel like an honored guest in the Yates family home every time they walk in.
Lastly, in November 2018, Yates Service expanded their business once more by purchasing Automotive Service Garage and Old Town Auto Body (now Yates Collision Center) on Fayette St. The Yates family is proud to be able to provide their automotive customers not only auto repair and maintenance services, but complete auto body and painting services as well.
LIVING LEGENDS OF ALEXANDRIA
Living Legends of Alexandria honors individuals who have significantly impacted the quality of life in Alexandria. Jason and Loren Yates were extremely proud and honored to be included with these remarkable collection of individuals in 2019.
WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL'S 2017 FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS AWARD
We are proud to have been honored with the Washington Business Journal's 2017 Family-Owned Business Award. Below is the video that the Washington Business Journal compiled about Yates Service, Inc. for the awards banquet. Thank you so much to our customers for nominating us and for your ongoing loyalty and support.
BEST OF THE BEST AWARD
Best of the Best television, dedicated to finding out the truth about businesses, profiles Yates Automotive and awards it with the Best of the Best award.