New business hopes to clean up cars as well as the neighborhood

By Dan Aznoff | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Dan Aznoff Ford Wright (left) and his son Koa pose in front of the palm trees that mark the location of their business, the Aloha Car Wash on the Bothell-Everett Hwy. The 20-year-old Koa turned the knowledge he picked up as a business major at the UW campus in Bothell to help turn his father’s dream into a reality.

Like most college students majoring in business, Koa Wright wanted to put the knowledge in picked up in the classroom to work in the real world. Most of his classmates at the University of Washington’s Bothell campus go off in search of an internship to test their theories.

Wright just went home to talk with his father.

Koa and his dad, Ford Wright, rolled up their sleeves and turned a run-down site on the Bothell-Everett Highway into what they hope will be the first of dozens of automated car wash locations.

Father and son literally dug ditches together before opening a business they hope will rejuvenate the neighborhood and establish a successful business model.  Ford’s wife, Jennifer, took care of all the paperwork while Ford and Koa prepared the site for its grand opening.

The first Aloha Car Wash opened for business on Aug. 8. According to Ford, the response has been an overwhelming combination of gratitude and relief from his customers.

“Our No. 1 goal was to eliminate the eye-sore that had plagued this community,” the proud father said.  “When we first saw the property, it was less a car cash and more of a haven for illegal activities.”

Twenty-year-old Koa said he wanted the car wash to be a place where mothers feel comfortable coming with their children.

The state-of-the-art facility offers touch-less car wash bays that use less water than somebody who washes his car in the driveway. The innovative technology uses environmentally-friendly chemicals to remove stubborn grime that can harm the finish of a vehicle, including bird droppings.

The drying system removes any moisture that could linger to damage unseen surfaces of the vehicle.

Floor mat cleaners are one of the newest innovations available at Aloha. The self-serve machine professionally cleans grease from rubber and woven floor mats in a single pass. The boom-mounted vacuum system is available for drivers who want to detail their own cars.

Ford said he has been pleased to already have several regular customers. Many of them drive expensive sedans, but Koa said Aloha is quickly gaining a reputation with off-road enthusiasts who appreciate the extra tall stalls for oversized vehicles.

The most important feature at the location, according to Ford, is the name Aloha. It represents the welcome he wants to offer to every customer and the attitude of the entire staff.

Ford was born in Hawaii. Koa was not, but he feels an obligation to carry on the traditions of his family through the business. He said the Aloha attitude could have been used to open any type of business.

“I was not born in Hawaii,” Koa said. “But I’ve been there enough times to visit my family to understand the true meaning of the word ‘Aloha.’”

The first Aloha Car Wash location is at 17818 Bothell-Everett Highway. The self-service portions of the facility are open 24/7.

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