“Well, it’s time to give your car a bubble bath at a place that’s sure to make you laugh…”
The place? Smilin’ Billie’s, the new self-service carwash in Kingsport, TN. Located across the street from Allstate Rhoten Agency and Medication Management Center, the wash is a convenient walk across the street for business owners Dr. Billie J. Minton and Rikki Rhoten.
Dr. Minton practices pharmacology and owns Medication Management Center. Rhoten owns and operates the Allstate office adjacent to Dr. Minton’s practice.
It’s all in the family
When the six-bay wash made its debut a week prior to Thanksgiving 2006, Minton decided to make it a family affair. Her niece, Stephanie Minton, and nephew, Chad Barret, do maintenance and cleaning for the carwash, while her mother Evelyn serves as public relations specialist.
When she couldn’t find any more family, Minton turned to co-workers Lisa Moody and Leslie Manis, employees of Medication Management Center, to contribute to daily operations at the wash.
The carwash includes two automatic touch-free bays with tire cleaning, undercarriage wash, triple foam wax and spot-free rinse. The two automatic bays accept credit or debit cards, cash, coins or tokens.
The wash offers a pricing structure of $4, $5, $6 and - the most popular - $7 wash. “People love the spot-free rinse and it does a great job,” said Minton.
The facility also includes four self-serve bays for customers who want to wash their own vehicles. The self-serve bays start at 50-cents.
Building a name
Minton and Rhoten spent two years of research in real estate and the carwash industry before deciding on a location and equipment for the new business.
Rhoten and friend Doug Davidson, who stars on the television show Young and the Restless, both chose Smilin’ Billie’s as the name of the new carwash.
Minton wrote lyrics for Smilin’ Billie’s carwash song, which were recorded, produced and copyrighted.
Smilin’ Billie’s will feature detailing services in the future and steps are already being taken to turn the carwash into a chain.
Four miles away, a new wash is currently being planned at Fort Henry Drive. All future carwashes will follow the structure of the original Smilin’ Billie’s.