Shiny hubcaps and inside detailing are not the only priorities Mike and Karen Aiello have at their new business, The Car Wash on Old Salem Road. The couple said they want to be active participants in the community.
This is the second business venture for the Aiellos. They owned and operated LETService, a company providing metering products and service to electrical utilities. When they sold that company last year, Mike said they wanted to go in a different direction.
"The key to this is that we will be fine with whatever we charge to be able to do this. The thrill for my wife and I is to give back to the community," Aiello said.
"We've been really, really successful with what we've done before. Now, it's time to have some fun and give back to the community."
The Car Wash offers opportunities for schools, churches and other nonprofits to hold fundraisers and collect donations.
As part of the fund-raising program, an organization can receive 500 car wash cards, good for a Sparkle level wash, to sell. The organization receives a portion of the revenue.
The fundraising cards act as one-time gift cards. The Sparkle wash retails for $17. That means a community organization would receive $8.50 for every card sold, a 50/50 split.
"We think it can be a great opportunity where an organization can raise $4,000 to $5,000 if they sell all 500 cards," Aiello said.
As part of the donation program, Aiello explained his business can create donation cards with the non-profit's name on it which can be distributed to the public. Each card has a bar code on it which is activated every time a patron gets a car wash.
At the end of each month, the donation card usage is tallied and each organization will receive $1 for each time that card was presented at a car wash.
Aiello said the donation card program can be adjusted to last anywhere from a month to a year.
Located behind the Wells Fargo bank branch at Old Salem Road and Ga. Highway 138, The Car Wash is in the old Regal Car Wash and was refurbished with new technology.
The Car Wash opened its doors at the end July and offers everything a car wash should. It is a full-service car wash with four different levels of wash starting at $8.
All washes include a soft towel wash and hand towel dry. Other services include interior detailing, tire shine and undercarriage wash, among others listed on its website, www.thenewcarwash.com.
The Car Wash also offers packages for unlimited car washes and a VIP Club where a free wash is provided on birthdays and every 11th wash is free.
The business is truly a family operation. Brian Barnett, Karen Aiello's brother, is the general manager.
All are Heritage High School graduates. Mike Aiello graduated from Heritage in 1982 and played on the baseball team that went to the state finals.
Aiello said they plan to do special events at the business. They held a beach day recently where the staff dressed up in beach clothes and offered beach-themed promotions. A music festival and car show are in the works.
"We're doing some creative things just to get people aware of our location, but also to have it more than getting your car washed, to have it as a fun place to go and socialize," he said.
Aiello sees potential in the business and views community service as part of the business plan. He said car washes are typically a very localized business and with brand awareness and proper marketing the Aiellos believe they can leverage that to generate revenue.
Aiello said it's basically about taking care of people.
"We're not the lowest price, but what we do is offer a lot for the price that we charge," he said.
"In doing that and based on our previous experience, business is all about customer service. If you provide a good, quality service or product in a timely manner, you're going to retain your customers."