New Schilling’s owner hopes to carry forward legacy in Dowagiac

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — The new owner of a longtime Dowagiac business aims to carry on the legacy of its late founder.

Oliver Fiala is the new owner of Schilling’s Auto Wash, which reopened its doors last week at 107 N. Front St., Dowagiac for the first time since October 2023. The business is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“It’s been great,” he said. “We had a great first week. People have given us positive feedback and seem to be excited that we’re back open and we’re excited to serve them.”

Fiala, a Cassopolis native and military veteran, has taken over the business founded in 1969 by family friend William Schilling, who operated car wash locations in Dowagiac, Niles and South Bend for 54 years before his passing in October 2023 at the age of 81. 

“I’ve known him since I was a child,” Fiala said. “Unfortunately with his passing the opportunity presented itself and I was able to take advantage of it. He owned a respected business in the community and I hope to continue that.”

When he’s not running the business, Fiali is servicing the community both as a Michigan State Police trooper and as the Assistant Fire Chief for the Central Cass Fire Department. Fiala looks forward to engaging with the Dowagiac community in this new capacity.

“I’m just focusing on growing and getting better,” Fiala said. “I’m a first time business owner and so it’s been a unique experience for me. This is not what I usually do so I’m just looking forward to servicing the community the best I can.”