Tower Car Wash Opens…But With Objections

The tower that is more than 200 feet and 20 miles short of being the UT Tower is open for business — but it may not be able to stay quite as it is.

Tower Express Car Wash opened earlier this month in Cedar Park after attracting plenty of attention during its construction.

Its pinnacle is a 60-foot tower that bears the distinctive look of you-know-what, complete with faux columns, windows, and clock.

Alums first noticed the resemblance in October, and the car wash opened early this month.

Some said the UT copycatting was tacky; the University says it wasn’t authorized and must be modified.

Which sparked a whole new round of discussion in the local paper. By taking action with a small-business owner, was UT playing Goliath to car wash owner Bob Tesch’s David?

Craig Westemeier, UT’s assistant athletic director for trademark licensing, says a university — like a company — can’t let its brand be used without any affiliation.

“We can’t let everybody just use these marks,” Westemeier says. “It really devalues what we’re trying to do as a university. If they become so pervasively used, they don’t maintain their authenticity or integrity or their unique nature in being connected with the University.”

UT maintains a list of its trademarks, and the Tower is among them. Tesch, Westemeier says, never reached out to UT officials before construction to make sure it was permissible. 

Now the responsibility, he says, lies with the car wash to change the design so it looks less like the official Tower.

Tesch, for his part, is lying low for now. “There’s been so much written, there’s been so much exposure, that I’m just not comfortable making any statements now other than what I already have,” he says.

After the issues are “taken care of,” he says, he may speak again.

Photo by Larry Treuter.



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