Transportation is huge part of everyday life. An average American spends 101 minutes per day driving – that’s 37, 935 hours in a car in your lifetime.
Spending that much time in your car, you want it to be clean; that’s where Chamber member, Gleam Car Wash, comes in. We sat down with Rob Madrid owner and operator of Gleam Car Wash to learn about the eco-friendly car wash and the lessons they’ve learned since opening.
TCB: Tell us about some of the ways that Gleam is eco-friendly?
Rob Madrid: Gleam recycles over 90 percent of its water. We also treat and reuse 100 percent of our recycled water, which allows us to use less than 15 gallons of potable (drinkable) water per car. Gleam recognizes that drinkable water is a very scarce natural resource worldwide, and in particular, the American West.
Denver doesn’t have requirements for car washes to reclaim water, but the Gleam Team created its own mini-water treatment plan because it’s the right thing to do, and we can do it without sacrificing the end product: clean cars.
Gleam also has a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) on every one of its 32 electric motors. VFDs slowly distribute power to each motor, reducing spikes in electricity. Gleam also has 41 kilowatts of solar on its south-facing roof with plans to add 40 kilowatts more in the near future.
TCB: Giving back to the community is a large part of your company’s mission. How do you give back?
RM: Gleam donates $1 to Children’s Hospital Colorado for each Gleam Total Exterior purchased and $1 to Groundwork Denver for each Gleam Total Interior. Gleam projects that it will donate over $10,000 to each charity every year. Gleam also offers local school and church organizations 40 percent off gift cards sales.
We are very proud of our progressive recruitment and training program; we hire hard-to-employ adults, with an emphasis on recruiting those on the autism spectrum. Those on the spectrum are some of our favorite employees and bring real joy to the workplace.
TCB: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since starting Gleam Car Wash?
RM: My partners and I are young entrepreneurs and we like to be cutting edge. The design, branding, charitable and eco initiatives are all areas where we think we did a great job. We are really proud of how unusual and awesome our business is. However, we did learn some hard planning, development, construction and community lessons.
This was Wash Guru’s first time building within a tight, infill residential neighborhood. Even though a car wash was a use by right, we voluntarily attended many neighborhood meetings and signed a good neighbor agreement.
TCB: Why do you love doing business in Colorado?
RM: Colorado is green, sustainable and innovative – and so is Gleam. By “green” I mean eco-friendly. By “sustainable” I mean we hire the right people for our business, and we make sure that we hire people from all walks of life. And by “innovative” I mean we are working with some of the most progressive financing programs that exist. Colorado is the first state in the country to authorize PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program for new construction. Being one of the first participants in Colorado’s PACE program, Gleam is paving the way for other sustainable businesses.
Laura James is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber.