Dwayne Blackwell, owner of One Way car wash, washes a customer's car at his shop Friday afternoon.
Dwayne Blackwell, owner of One Way car wash, washes a customer's car at his shop Friday afternoon.

Area car washes keep bugs off cars, smiles on faces

Published 12:02am Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dwayne Blackwell has seen a lot of things during his 21 years of cleaning the interiors of his customers’ vehicles at One Way car wash on East Franklin Street in Natchez.

Some of those things he’d like to forget.

“I found dog poop one time,” Blackwell said. “It was terrible.”

Sonny King wipes down the navigation screen of customer's Cadillac Escalade while working at Jackson Detail Shop earlier this month. King has been working at Jackson Detail for four months.
Sonny King wipes down the navigation screen of customer’s Cadillac Escalade while working at Jackson Detail Shop earlier this month. King has been working at Jackson Detail for four months.

As revolting as that discovery might have been, Blackwell said he knew he still had work to do.

“With the help of some gloves, a face mask and a long shower as soon as I got home, I was able to clean that car,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said there is a special relationship between a car-owner and his vehicle that he has noticed over the years.

“Your car really is an extension of you and how you carry yourself,” Blackwell said.

“And usually, if you have a clean car you have a clean house.”

For the half dozen or so hand car washing businesses around town, most days aren’t that bad.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy.

Marcus Jackson, owner of Jackson Detail Shop on East Franklin Street in Natchez, said he cleans the interiors and exteriors of an average of 10 cars a day when they are open for business.

“A lot of people are making big payments on their cars,” Jackson said. “And they just want to keep it clean.”

Brenda Tuesno, center, talks with Herman Beamer, owner of the Old Standard car wash in Natchez, while workers clean a customer's car on Friday afternoon.
Brenda Tuesno, center, talks with Herman Beamer, owner of the Old Standard car wash in Natchez, while workers clean a customer’s car on Friday afternoon.

Melody Brown is one of Jackson’s regulars, bringing her sleek black 2013 Dodge Charger to Jackson’s car wash every two weeks.

“That black paint just shows a lot of dirt,” Brown said. “I almost regret getting it in black.”

No matter how much dirt and grime coats the outside of her car as she drives around town, Brown said Jackson shouldn’t worry that she’ll start to wash her car at home instead of bringing her business to him.

“I’m lazy,” Brown said. “Plus, they do great work, and they can get me in and out real quick.”

Sonny King has worked at Jackson Detail Shop for four months, and says that there is a laundry list of spots that require extra care on the inside of every car if it is going to look completely clean.

“I’ve got to be sure to clean the vents, console, door jambs, between the seats and any other pockets and compartments,” King said.

Derrick Owens, who works at Old Standard Car Wash at the corner of Jefferson and Rankin streets in Natchez, said there is one part on a car’s exterior that nearly every customer asks to be given a little special attention.

“The front bumper,” Owens said. “Everybody wants the bugs off. That’s really the main thing they are looking for on the outside.”

Like any other line of work, car washing is a competitive field with each hand-wash location vying to constantly gain new customers.

But that competition doesn’t mean the workers are the different wash shops in Natchez aren’t looking out for each other, Blackwell said.

“It’s just like a brotherhood. We know each other and help each other any way we can,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell added that if one car wash runs out of some product, they know they are likely to get a helping hand from another shop.

Owens said that brotherhood stems from the fact that everyone at Old Standard shares the same two goals as workers at all the other hand washes in Natchez.

“We just want to see a smile on the owner’s face when the job is done,” Owens said.

Demont Cooper, tosses a towel on to a cart while cleaning a customer's car at Old Standard car wash in Natchez Friday morning.
Demont Cooper, tosses a towel on to a cart while cleaning a customer’s car at Old Standard car wash in Natchez Friday morning.