Featured profile: Gleaux Car Wash

Featured profile: Gleaux Car Wash

Creating a glowing reputation.

Sponsored by National Carwash Solutions

In Tyler, Texas, an up-and-coming carwash chain brightly stands out among the competition. Gleaux Car Wash, with its retro-feeling orange and white logo standing proudly on S. Broadway Ave., has a marquee out front of the express carwash site that reads, “We pronounce it glow.” And, the whimsical and upbeat atmosphere the Gleaux team created when it opened its first carwash location in the fall of 2019 doesn’t stop at the sign out front. The same energy trickles down to every smiling face that helps customers along their wash journeys at Gleaux Car Wash.

With an aspiration of creating a community reputation of unparalleled customer experience that provides “Good. Clean. Fun!,” as the company’s motto states, the masterminds behind Gleaux Car Wash created a special wash experience for their East Texas community. 

Human experience

Like many modern carwashes, Gleaux Car Wash’s leadership team understands that the carwash business has just as much to do with customer service as it has to do with washing vehicles. The workplace is lighthearted — as revealed by the company’s official titles. For instance, Dawson Barksdale is Gleaux Car Wash’s Chief of Shine; David Grasch, a 15-year industry veteran, is the company’s Duke of Clean. 

Barksdale and Grasch, the leaders of Gleaux, have created a unique business, especially from a human resources perspective. 

“I think the thing we do most different is the way we hire staff,” reveals Barksdale when asked what sets Gleaux Car Wash apart from other carwash chains. Gleaux’s Chief of Shine and Duke of Clean know that hiring the right people for their customers — and keeping their employees happy — is ultimately one of the most important aspects of running a successful carwash. 

Barksdale explains, “The teams that we have … the people that we hire … the way that we treat them … we want them to have a great experience as well. They represent us to the public. Our mission is to create the best human experience in the industry.” 

It is safe to say Gleaux Car Wash is on its way to creating an unmatched human experience in carwashing, especially when it comes to team members. In fact, Gleaux leadership requested that star team members get a shoutout in this article. Barksdale notes employees Nyc, Sarah and Andrew for being especially integral to the carwash chain’s success. 

While, of course, a carwash likely won’t be successful without investments in leading equipment, chemicals and technologies, there is one other area where the Gleaux team excels and is passionate about.

The carwash’s customer service attendees, or guest service coordinators as the company labels them, may stick out the most to Gleaux Car Wash’s customers. Guests, which is how the Gleaux team refers to customers, most likely don’t know — or even care for that matter — how the mechanics of a carwash operate. As long as guests’ vehicles are properly clean, dry and shiny at the end of the wash, Barksdale believes a fantastic employee interaction is the most important factor of repeat visits and guest loyalty. 

“We want people to have that great experience through our team,” says Barksdale. “If we put out a good product and create a great experience in between for the guests coming through, then they will have a better experience and [we will] hopefully build some loyalty through it.” 

For loyal customers, Gleaux offers a membership program, or the VIP Club as noted on gleauxcarwash.com. Guests interested in the VIP Club can choose between the Clean, Shine, Polish or Gleaux packages, which have a monthly cost of $14, $24, $44 and $54 respectably. All washes come with an undercarriage blast and typical cleaner application, but the higher level packages come with such services as rain defender, tire glaze and what Gleaux refers to as the “Secret Gleaux Sauce,” which is a “proprietary chemical we use to make your car extra shiny,” according to Gleaux Car Wash’s website. 

Gleaux Car Wash also partners with other local businesses in the Tyler community to provide discounts at participating businesses. Among Gleaux’s business partners are coffee shops, spas and restaurants, which all offer special discounts to VIP members.  

A glowing wash

While Gleaux Car Wash takes pride in its team members and customer experience, by no means does it cut corners when designing and developing the wash’s tunnels. According to Barksdale, the carwash chain invests in all the modern, leading technology this industry offers. 

The wash’s tunnels are filled with leading carwash equipment manufactured by National Carwash Solutions (NCS), innovative pay stations, and LEDs supplied and installed from multiple carwash industry lighting brands. Simply put, Gleaux Car Wash locations are home to impressive carwashing technology. NCS specifically has helped Gleaux successfully grow the brand from a single site to now three locations, with two sites opening in 2022 and an additional five sites currently in active negotiations. “I think everything we use at this point is NCS-branded [equipment],” Barksdale says. 

As expected with a company name like “Gleaux,”lighting has always been important to the carwash chain’s Chief of Shine and Duke of Clean. If there is a part of the building or any equipment that can feasibly have lights on it, the Gleaux team, in collaboration with industry partners, wants lights on it. 

“We want it to glow,” Barksdale insists. “We want you to be able to see us from outer space.” 

Considering Gleaux Car Wash is open after the sun goes down — one location even operates until 8 p.m. — having spectacular lighting is a good way to catch potential customers’ eyes from the road. 

With bright LEDs that illuminate the multiple rows of self-serve vacuum stations, large letters that spell out “CAR WASH” in dazzling, vivid lights on the side of the tunnel and purple, blue, pink and green lights flashing in the tunnel, these carwash sites absolutely glow at night. 

An aura of kindness and success

As previously stated, carwash owners and operators are in a unique business position where they can directly impact their communities every day they are in operation by providing outstanding customer service. And while this is important to Gleaux team members, their work goes beyond just helping guests at the carwash. Gleaux wants to be part of the greater community, and all of humankind, in a way that is beneficial and makes an impact. 

“We want to give everybody a good chance to be successful,” notes Barksdale. “So, anything we can do to help support them, we want to do it.” Gleaux supports its community in several notable ways. From hosting fundraisers and pet adoptions to implementing environmentally friendly carwash initiatives, such as water reclaim, leadership is ensuring that Gleaux Car Wash is a good, altruistic staple in the Tyler community. 

When the first Gleaux Car Wash location opened in October 2019, leadership, like the rest of the world, had no idea their business was about to be turned upside down by a global pandemic. Once COVID-19 hit and the dust finally began to settle, Gleaux decided to use its platform in the community to help Tyler’s smallest members — dogs looking for families.

Barksdale fondly reflects on the event Gleaux hosted in partnership with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of East Texas, where they facilitated awareness for the amount of dogs that were going unadopted throughout the pandemic. The SPCA was overflowing with available dogs to adopt and Gleaux aimed to help, which fits especially well with the S. Broadway Ave. location that also has a pet wash for guest use. 

Besides helping local dogs find loving homes, Gleaux also is passionate about helping the next generation. It often sponsors local youth sports teams and schools, and has a special relationship with the Mentoring Alliance, which provides after-school care and tutoring to at-risk youth. Barksdale says, “We work closely with them and do a lot of activities and community involvement for the kids.” 

Barksdale also explains that organizing fundraisers is easy with help from its industry partners. For example, working with its point-of-sale system provider, Gleaux can simply add a button on the touch screen so guests can flag that they came to get the carwash in support of the fundraiser. As a result, the team can easily see the amount of people supporting the cause and take off whatever predetermined percentage they pledged to donate from sales during the charity event. 

In recent years, the carwash industry has gained more express exterior sites, focused on speed and low labor. While the express carwash model has the tempting potential to become one that requires no human interaction, many owners of fast-growing chains, such as Gleaux’s Barksdale, know that drivers still want that human connection found at a full-serve carwash. 

“[The guest experience] continues to give a better reputation to this industry and that’s something I’m proud of,” concludes Barksdale.

Gleaux Car Wash is a glowing example of maintaining the human experience aspect of carwashing, while consistently delivering quality wash results. 

National Carwash Solutions is your premier partner for full-service fluids and systems to the vehicle care industry, serving car wash operators for more than 45 years, and washing millions of vehicles every year. We’re proud to offer an end-to-end customer service and support network, including service, parts, and environmentally friendly cleaning fluids. NCS operates an industry-leading family of brands including MacNeil, Ryko, NCS Chemistry by CSI, Vacutech, Carolina Pride, Mondo, and NCS Vehicle Care. Our capabilities allow us to scale with you, making us an ideal partner for your car wash business.

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