October 2013

Meet Me at Island Car Wash

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr.

That doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Meet me at the car wash. Have you ever said that? Meet me at the coffee shop, sure. Meet me at the bar, if you and your friends are inclined to imbibe. But meet me at the car wash? What’s up with that?

Ask Bob Devinney, “our wonderful, wonderful manager,” according to Kelly Ogden, who is responsible for marketing and advertising duties at Island Car Wash (with locations on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton), and he’ll tell you what’s up with that. “Our customers like coming in and socializing,” Devinney said. “They’ll say, ‘we’re getting the car washed so meet us there,’ and they’ll hang around and talk even after the car is done.”

It’s true. While the industry trends toward more automated quick service business models, the folks at Island Car Wash took a traditionally mundane agenda item for most folks—getting the car washed—and turned it into a more pleasant way to pass the time. As long as you have to be there, you might as well enjoy yourself. Sit down and relax in the air conditioned lounge, grab a cup of coffee or a snack, watch some TV, get some work done using free Wi-Fi service, or just chat with friends and acquaintances. Some folks even bring their dogs in to visit with Precious, Island Car Wash’s four-legged “public relations director.”

Meanwhile, your chariot gets the royal treatment, first under the vacuuming and pre-wash canopy where friendly attendants greet you and get right down to business with no wayward French fry left behind. Then it’s into the tunnel for one of five wash options, ranging from a basic exterior wash and towel dry to The Works, a package comprising interior and trunk vacuum, towel dry, rims and tires cleaned and dressed, windows cleaned, triple foam polish, double bond, dash and console wipe down, and a Simoniz hot wax and shine. Island Car Wash tunnels bathe your vehicle in Neo-Tex foam, formulated to prevent water retention so dirt and debris are not transferred to the car’s body. Next, it’s out of the tunnel and on to the interior cleaning and final finish canopy for the same level of service and attention to detail as in pre-wash at the front end.

Island Car Wash offers special hand washing and detailing services at both locations in case you’re one of those folks who really, really loves your car, and the Bluffton shop adds a four-bay Quik Lube Center for oil changes, tire sales and rotation, wheel balancing, and wiper blade and filter replacement.

“We are very community oriented,” Ogden said. “We donate a lot to charity fundraisers, silent auctions and other events. We sponsor the Hilton Head Half Marathon every year and we’re big Booster Club supporters for Hilton Head Island High School.” On top of that, Island Car Wash recently launched a new fundraising initiative through which non-profit organizations can raise money with car wash coupon sales. The program is an effective alternative to community car wash fundraisers in that it eliminates the burdens associated with organizing such an event. Just sell the tickets and leave the washing to the pros at Island Car Wash.

In other new happenings, Island Car Wash has embraced the online space to offer customers more convenience and opportunities to save on car washes. For example, you can now pre-purchase wash packages at the company’s website, www.IslandCarWash.com. Just click “Buy Online,” select your wash package, print a certificate and present it when you arrive. Or you can purchase gift cards in denominations from $10 to $150. The newly-launched Island Car Wash Social Circle utilizes Facebook to connect with customers and let them “get on the inside” for access to exclusive deals and promotions. Click the “Join our Social Circle” banner on the website and you’re in. You’ll even get a $5 discount on your next wash just for joining.

You might think it sounds like an awful lot of fuss over a car wash, but then maybe it just never occurred to you to associate great friendly service and a memorable experience with this particular product. “You should see all the little notes people leave saying thank you and what great service we received from assistant manager Jackie and the rest of the crew,” Ogden said. “We train our team to make you feel like you’re the most important person in the place,” Devinney added.

So, how’s your car looking today? A little dusty? Maybe it’s a good time to say, “Meet me at Island Car Wash.” And don’t forget, on Wednesdays the Gold Wash and Works Wash are $6 off.

Island Car Wash is located at 1008-B William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island (843)785-8944 or 1008 Fording Island Road in Bluffton (843) 815-2440. Visit online at islandcarwash.com, or on Facebook at islandcarwash. Follow on twitter at IslandCarWash.

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