October 20, 2021

Sterling's iconic Octopus Car Wash falls victim to COVID-19

STERLING – Chalk up Octopus Car Wash as another victim of COVID-19.

The vintage brushless car wash at 407 E. Third St. announced on Facebook this morning that it has gone out of business.

It has been closed since mid-March because of the stay-at-home order, and the closure "put a hard financial strain on us," the post said.

"This is a sad time for all of us. We want to thank each and every one of our customers for all the love and support you have shown us over the years. We have had many great and faithful customers."

Tom Cheshier owned Octopus until his death on June 15, 2019. His family continued to operate the business.

Sterling native John Jurkens opened the car wash, with its signature green octopus sculpture, in 1965. He opened the first Octopus in 1953 in Rock Island. Jurkens eventually opened more Octopus locations nationwide, and later sold the Sterling location.