Charitable acts can be seen in many places and many ways in the professional carwashing and detailing industry. Giving back is in this industry’s nature and it is interwoven throughout its member base. Many of these acts happen every day and go without notice or fanfare. Others, however, are considered a charity event where competition, schedules and profits get put aside for compassion.

And such was the case at an event this past summer where a diverse group of 182 carwash professionals from all over the U.S. and Canada, including 50 carwashes that were represented, gathered in Detroit to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The event, hosted by Motor City Wash Works, attracted attendees from the manufacturer’s partners in the industry: Auto Laundry News, Professional Carwashing & Detailing and the International Carwash Association (ICA). Additionally, 22 of the industry’s manufacturers supported and attended the charitable gathering, including: Ahearn Signs, Airlift Doors, Aqua Bio Technologies, Auto Data, Blendco Systems, Clean World Distribution, Diamond Shine, Dosatron, Eurovac, G&G LED, Gallop Brush Co., Hamilton, Hydra-Flex, Micrologic Associates,  PurClean, Simoniz USA, SoBrite Technologies, Stinger Chemical, Turtle Wax, Unitec, Velocity Waterworks and Vacutech.

“We had tremendous support from our partners and friends in the industry,” says Jim Utterback, who is Motor City Wash Works’ director of marketing and also plays an important role in organizing this special annual event.

From Open House to open heart charity event

This charity event continues to grow and evolve. What started out as a typical manufacturer Open House for customers in 2008 has grown into a truly noteworthy charity gathering where the entire industry is welcome and thousands have been raised for great causes.

“In 2013 we incorporated the charity event and partnered with the American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Foundation,” recalls Utterback. “Then, in 2014, we shifted to St. Jude and have been with them ever since. St. Jude is very efficient, 90 percent of the donations actually go to running the hospital and for research. It’s to help children, who are a universal beneficiary that everyone can relate to.”

This year, the two-day event featured a carwash tour, an opening reception, an Open House and BBQ at the host’s manufacturing facility, a charity auction at the Gem Theatre and a major league baseball game at Detroit’s famed Comerica Park.

The auction showcased some of the industry’s leading products and those in attendance did the bidding, all to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Last year we raised $20,000,” notes Utterback, “and this year we wanted to double that so we decided to bring other carwash manufacturers into the mix.”

And, with everyone pulling in the same direction for a great cause, this year’s auction featured a total of $600,000 in equipment and supplies. “We raised an incredible $60,000 donation for St. Jude this year,” proclaims Utterback.

In addition to carwash supplies, other popular items, such as a drone, headphones, golf balls and much more were raffled off. Hats were up for sale and even original artwork was graciously purchased by attendees. In fact, $23,500 in original artwork was purchased.

Finding cures. Saving children.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a not-for-profit organization and follows the motto: Finding cures. Saving children. If you are interested in learning more about this charity and its life-changing contributions to society, please visit www.stjude.org.

“I’m so excited and grateful,” wrote St. Jude’s Mike Hull in a letter to Motor City Wash Works. “You all did an amazing thing once again. You guys truly are helping children live.”

This event was an honor to attend and more people, especially from carwashes, should make it mandatory attendance each year. According to Utterback, not only can carwash owners and operators feel the good vibes of giving back, but there are cost saving reasons for attending as well.

“Other than supporting a great cause in St. Jude, [carwash owners and operators] can really get some screaming deals on equipment and supplies (some of the equipment was sold at 50 percent off),” he says. “The vendor community is very well represented at this event, but we really need to have more operators to really make the impact we want for St. Jude. How great would it be to have 300 operators attend this event?”

Well, I guess next year’s goal has already been set. Please plan to attend.