Sometimes in our industry, a carwash business is more than just getting customers’ cars cleaned and turning a profit; sometimes, it is an important part of a family’s journey.

Our industry is filled with feel-good stories, and The Passage Car Wash is yet another inspirational story of success.

The hands-on approach

Determined to provide a steady livelihood for his eldest son Nicholas, Ian “Tay” Landry purchased The Passage Car Wash in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, in 2013. “Nic has severe learning disabilities which limit his employment prospects,” explains Landry. “When this business came up for sale, I decided I would purchase it for him to operate. Nic runs the business, and I act as a mentor for him.”

The carwash may be little in size, but the quality of its services are grand. Currently, no traditional carwash equipment technology is involved in the wash process, says Landry. “Nic washes vehicles outside using a pressure washer and hog brush, and [details vehicles] in a portable garage next to our small building,” adds Landry.

Mentored by his father, and by utilizing the good, old-fashioned tools called love and care, Nic performs a vast array of services by hand with a keen attention to detail. Customers can add on options, such as a spray wax, rim cleaning and undercoat overspray removal, to a basic wash; and The Passage Car Wash also offers full interior and exterior detailing services, hand waxing, scratch removal, weather stripping and cleaning, paint sealant, rim polishing and headlight restoration, which are available by appointment, notes Landry.

In addition to the vast services offered, Nic can wash a wide range of vehicles, from motorcycles, cars and trucks to RVs, mobile homes, semitrailers and even lawn mowers. The Passage Car Wash will also clean other forms of recreational transportation, such as boats and bicycles, which includes a promotion for a free wash of a children’s bike with the purchase of any carwash.

However, the plethora of services and ability to wash vehicles of all sizes are not the only reasons The Passage Car Wash is so successful. The hardworking father-son duo strive to provide excellent customer service for every person who frequents their quaint operation.

“We are extremely focused on customer satisfaction,” asserts Landry. “We have very loyal repeat customers who will only utilize our services to wash and/or detail their vehicles. The personal service and interaction greatly contributes to the loyalty of the customers.”

Along with quality service performed with a smile, Nic and his father help boost customer satisfaction by offering a variety of special discounts and promotions.

“We have numerous special offers, [including] 10 percent off all services for seniors every Wednesday; specials on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; and free wash and spray wax for all veterans, current [military] personnel as well as current and retired police, fire and EHS personnel. We also offer a ‘Buy 8 Get 10’ prepaid wash card,” states Landry, adding that they will even pick up customers’ vehicles for detailing appointments and then return them when the jobs are completed.

The Passage Car Wash

Nic washing a customer’s car; photo courtesy of The Passage Car Wash

The desire for growth

Nic, backed by the support of his biggest fan, has steered the carwash down a successful path fueled by immense passion and an exceptional work ethic. However, Landry has a vision for The Passage Car Wash that is beyond the means of its current residence.

“Currently Nic is the only employee, but our hope is to move the business a few blocks onto land I am trying to purchase and build a much larger building,” says Landry.

A facility featuring two detailing bays and two wash areas would be built on the new property, according to Landry’s business plan. This expansion would also allow the currently seasonal carwash to extend its services year-round.

“Everything is in place except the funding. [We are] still working on that,” states Landry. “Once we move, we will start to offer additional services such as window tinting [and stereo installation].”

Moreover, Landry, who is a clinical social worker and works with people who have developmental disabilities, cognitive delay and chronic mental illnesses, plans to hire more employees with developmental disabilities — primarily autism — including his second eldest son, Chris.

Landry explains in his business plan that people with disabilities, particularly those with developmental disabilities such as autism, often have trouble finding employment.

“I will work with community organizations that work with and support people with autism in order to find the candidates [who] are interested in this type of work and have the best chances of being successful in employment positions,” says Landry.

And, as Steve Siberman says in “The Forgotten History of Autism,” which Landry quotes within his business plan, “We are still trying to catch up to Hans Asperger who believed that the cure for the most disabling aspects of autism is to be found in understanding teachers, accommodating employers, supportive communities and parents who have faith in their children’s potential.”

Landry’s unmeasurable faith and love for his children and his determination to create employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, who might otherwise not have the opportunity, is what makes him such an inspirational mentor and business owner, alongside his son Nic.

The Passage Car Wash is a truly remarkable venture; one that combines compassion with carwashing to provide extraordinary services to its customers.