When Lee Wheatley wanted to put a carwash in Madison, he knew it would have to be like no other carwash in the area. Madison’s strict building codes and high expectations meant that the business would have to blend in, yet stand out as superior to the norm.
“We drove all over the country looking at carwashes, trying to gather the best ideas to incorporate into our business,” said Wheatley.
The result is Four Seasons Car Wash, a family business that redefines car washes as most people know them.
“We felt blessed to get our carwash built in Madison, especially with all that’s going on in the area,” Wheatley said. “We’ve been successful since the day we opened, and we feel that it’s only going to get better.”
While the brick-and-stucco structure may look almost intimidating, customers are pleased to find they can get a $5 car wash with free vacuum.
“We offer the basic $5 car wash for those who want a quick wash, but we also offer several other options, all the way to full service detailing, including shampooing carpets,” Wheatley explained.
Wheatley had worked 18 years in his family’s business, Wheatley and Associates, before becoming interested in carwashes approximately nine years ago.
“I built a couple of self-service carwashes in the area and ran them on the side,” he said. “When we decided to do the carwash in Madison, I took a leap of faith and left the family business altogether to do this full time.”
The main focus at Four Seasons is customer service.
“We get to know our customers personally, and we try to provide them with the services they want,” Wheatley stated. “We try to give that personal touch that makes them feel comfortable coming back again and again.”
Wheatley is quite proud of the fact that his business is ecologically sound. “We reclaim approximately 80% of the water we use here. We made a big investment in a system that cleans the water so that it can be reused.” He also went the extra mile and invested in Lamm’s Wool Cloth, which is used inside the automated carwash. “It’s much softer than the material most carwashes use, but it’s better for the paint. As far as I know, this is the only carwash in the area to have it.”
The difference in a good carwash became very apparent to Wheatley’s wife, Judith, when she and her niece, Angie, were traveling to Louisiana. “A truck spewed oil all over Angie’s new pink Beetle, and I called Lee to find out what to do. He said we needed to run it through a carwash as soon as possible so the oil wouldn’t damage the paint. We stopped at a truck stop that had a carwash and it barely sprayed a little water on the car. I remembered that when I drive through our carwash, I see tons of soap and suds, and that one hardly had any at all. It made me really feel proud about what we are offering our customers in Madison.”
Wheatley also owns the carwash on U.S. 51 in Ridgeland, and is planning to do a full refurbishing of the carwash soon. “We were waiting until the road work on Highway 51 was done before starting that project. For awhile there, that carwash was almost dead. No one wanted to wash their car then drive out onto that dusty road during the construction. But now that it’s done, we’re going to step up our game and offer folks the same things we do at the Madison business.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org .