I thought it was so sweet that a fellow car wash patron was taking time out from washing her own car to help other people figure out how to get tokens or work the wash selector switch. But when she asked me how my car washing experience was, I figured she was one excellent employee. Wrong again! Kimberly Berg, I would learn, is the actual owner of the Citrus Heights Car Wash.
Citrus Heights Car Wash owner powered by karma
Not only does Kimberly excel at customer service, she has an incredible grasp on the resources her car wash saves and the benefit to the environment from her operation. Aside from being perhaps the best spokesperson for the carport car wash industry, Kimberly is in love with her business and customers. A big part of her drive comes from her belief in karma. When I heard her mention karma, and having just written about my faith in karma when answering health insurance questions with no strings attached, I had to learn about what propels Kimberly to own and operate a car wash.
Auburn Blvd., a little gritty, needed a power wash
I grew up in Citrus Heights and would frequently travel along Auburn Boulevard in search of car parts for whatever vehicle I owned that had stopped running. The car wash on the corner of Antelope and Auburn was like many others in area – a little greasy from engine power washes and a little rough around the edges. With a prohibition on washing cars in the drive way because of the drought, I remembered this little car wash had a makeover a few years back.
On a very warm June evening I popped by the Citrus Heights Car Wash to scrub the accumulated dirt and bird poop from my aging vehicle. I found it easy to buy the tokens with my credit, the wash selector and timer were simple to work, the foaming brush actually foamed, and I had a clean car in no time. It was funny that I and several other patrons I spoke to that evening were washing our cars for the first time at the Citrus Heights Car Wash because of the drought restrictions.
Who is this woman?
It was on my second visit that I met Kimberly. After a brief conversation I had to learn how this woman who could easily work in the corporate world would choose a life of a car wash operator. Long story short, she bought the Citrus Heights Car Wash twelve years ago with a former spouse. She initially had no interest what seemed like merely an investment in commercial property. However, when it came to time move forward with renovations, the design, and appointments for a remodeling, the business piqued her interest.
Car Wash Kimberly
Fast forward a couple of years and Kimberly is now fully managing and operating the car wash. It’s her baby. She’s proud of the new LED sign that reduces electrical use and makes this part of Auburn Boulevard more neighborly. It helps that on the corner of the property are bold letters proclaiming City of Citrus Heights Lincoln 40 – a nod to the historical route 40 of the old Lincoln Highway.
Giving back to the universe
The Citrus Heights Car Wash is more than just a building and business for Kimberly. You can hear it when she talks. It is an extension of her. And as a physical manifestation of her philosophy of life she feels karma is playing a big role in its operation. She feels her ownership of the Citrus Height Car Wash is dream come true. Every day she gets to go to work and as she puts it,
Be a service to my customers and give back to the universe.
You start with a smile
So how does one give back to the universe while operating a car wash? By being a human being who listens, cares, and helps. You see Kimberly directing traffic into the wash bays, helping people get their tokens, showing them how operate the foaming brush and spray wands. Perhaps most importantly, she always has this smile on her face. She smiles. That makes other people smile, even when they have to vacuum and wash their cars.
What goes around, comes around
It’s all about karma. If you are good to people, goodness will be returned to you. She firmly believes in karma. How many small business owners do you know who post their mobile phone numbers on the outside of their building so customers call anytime if they are having a problem? She also hands out little plastic jars that hold the extra tokens you may not use when washing your car. She understands that those tokens represent real money and are easily lost or forgotten.
Water efficient car wash
She also firmly believes her car wash is helping the environment. Instead of all the engine grease, disc brake dust, and general crud from a dirty car being washed in to a storm drain and into a local creek, hand car wash facilities capture all that stuff. She is very proud, rightly so, that her car wash is certified by the Regional Water Authority and International Carwash Association as a “water-efficient” car wash. That means spray wands that only use 2.8 gallons per minute on rinse and all her waste water is routed for water treatment.
We all need a little exercise
I’ll add, that hand car washing can also be good exercise. Between the vacuuming, scrubbing with the foamy brush, and rinsing the car with the high powered spray wand, you get a full body work-out. Which means you can swing by the local ice cream shop to cool down afterwards since you’ve burn so many calories washing your car.
A thread in the fabric of the community
Kimberly-Car-Wash-Owner really seems to enjoy being part of the community. She is a small business owner who gets excited about being part of the fabric of her community. She is a former Intel employee who can witness how her work and attitude can translate into a positive customer experiences for her patrons. That’s something special that not everyone can experience. It’s gotta be karma baby.
Historical Post Script
Similar to washing my car, I sometimes go too fast when writing a blog post and miss an important aspect of the story. Attention to detail is important. Kimberly is focused on the details, like when she designed her car wash tokens. In what I think is a stroke of understated genius, she also paid homage to the historical Lincoln Highway US 40 that ran in front of her business also known as Auburn Blvd. She had US 40 Lincoln Hwy stamped on her tokens bracket in the outline of an old highway sign. The City of Citrus Heights put a bench and large illuminated letters on the corner of the property that reads Lincoln 40. Kimberly also noted that she has a higher than average loss of the tokens, in part she surmises, on people keeping the tokens with the US 40 commemoration.