In 2008, Motor City Wash Works, located in Wixom, Mich., started a tradition of inviting professionals from the car wash industry to their factory for tours, new equipment displays and demos, distributor meetings and networking opportunities. “It was simply an open house,” said Jim Utterback, Motor City Wash Works’ director of marketing.
Today, the event is attended by nearly 250 industry professionals. “It’s an incredible networking opportunity, where we get to raise awareness of Motor City Wash Works, display our latest and greatest products, have fun, and most importantly, help the kids of St. Jude Children’s Hospital,” said Utterback.
“In 2013, we had our first event for the American Cancer Society, where we donated $10,000,” Utterback said. “We raised $18,000 for the American Cancer Society again in 2014. In 2015, we started raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and this year we donated more than $250,000!”
"It’s an incredible networking opportunity, where we get to raise awareness of Motor City Wash Works, display our latest and greatest products, have fun, and most importantly, help the kids of St. Jude Children’s Hospital.”
Rapid growth is something Motor City Wash Works is used to. The company was established in 2004 by industry veterans Lee Belanger, Rich Belanger and Bob Wentworth. “Initially, we started off on a 3,000-square-foot loft making chemical applicators,” Utterback said. “After three years, we introduced the start of our tunnel equipment offering and moved into our current headquarters located in Wixom, Mich. The 68,000-square-foot facility houses our entire staff and is stocked with all the car wash parts and equipment you’ll ever need for your business. We started with just a few employees in 2004 and now we have more than 80 employees, with customers around the world.”
This year’s open house was a two-day event, with a welcome reception and Major League Baseball game on day one, followed by the factory open house with plant tour, BBQ lunch and open bar, a car wash tour of the Matick Auto Wash, and the live auction and party, this year held at the historic GEM Theatre in downtown Detroit.
The live auction included more than $1.5 million in car wash equipment and supplies donated by more than 25 OEM partners. There were also raffle prizes, and this year, a special addition.
“This group is amazing. This is literally life-changing to a patient. That could save one life. This will fund one whole treatment plan for a child with leukemia. Amazing!”
“This year we introduced a new component to the event: The Golden Ticket Raffle,” Utterback said. “One hundred tickets for $3,000 each. One winner gets a $150,000 car wash equipment package and one winner receives a two-year lease on a Corvette. The winner of the Corvette actually took the money value and applied it to the purchase of a new Camaro.”
Michael Hull, regional managing director for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, was grateful for the support. “This group is amazing,” he said. “This is literally life-changing to a patient. That could save one life. This will fund one whole treatment plan for a child with leukemia. Amazing!”
The team at Motor City Wash Works starts their event planning months in advance. “This event takes four to six months of planning and coordination,” Utterback said. “We’ve already started planning for next year’s event and thinking about what we want to do differently. The event falls approximately three months after the ICA Show, and we make a hard push at the show with invites and marketing materials to launch the awareness of the event.”
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