Coastal Car Wash and Detail Center, a business that began due to one man’s love of cars, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Damariscotta this month.
The business, now owned by Terri and Darick Herald, of Bristol, will host an anniversary event at its Damariscotta location on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ralph Najim, of Newcastle, opened the business at 369 Main St. on Oct. 11, 1993. He got the idea to start the car wash two years prior after noticing the appearance of some vehicles on the road.
“I’m a car guy. I love cars, and I noticed that all the cars were looking pretty dismal,” Najim said. “I knew that by starting a car wash and keeping the cars cleaner and taken care of, they would last longer.”
Najim created Coastal Car Wash and Detail Center to “fit the needs of a small town like Damariscotta,” he said. Over time, as more visitors came into the area, the detailing side of the business grew more prevalent. Najim began offering undercoating as a service, and later expanded the business to a second location in Boothbay Harbor.
After two decades, Najim decided to sell the business after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Justin Waltz, the current manager of the car wash, reached out to the Heralds to see if they would be interested in buying the business, Terri said.
“He knew Ralph wanted to sell and was looking for the right person or persons to take over the legacy of Coastal Car Wash,” Terri said. “So he reached out to us because he knew Darick was interested in getting out of his corporate job and (Waltz) said he’d love to work for us.”
The process of buying the business took about a year. The Heralds closed on the business Sept. 15, 2014. Najim continues to own the property, and at the end of eight years, the Heralds will have the opportunity to purchase it, he said.
Since taking over the business, the Heralds have made a few changes to make it their own and have brought a renewed focus on customer service.
“We’re all about providing service in a way that makes a customer feel valued and want to come back,” Terri said. “Repeat customers are what keep businesses alive, so we want to make sure every customer is treated with respect and leaves feeling they got the best service that went above their expectations.”
The couple has found ways to offer more services to meet the needs of customers, including a new detailing package consisting of “cleaning everything on the car that can be touched,” Terri said, as well as the addition of ceramic coating services to protect the paint on vehicles.
“We want to keep up with the times and, when something new comes along, we want to be able to do it well,” Darick said.
In addition to detailing services and the 24/7 car wash, the business offers exterior and interior boat and RV detailing and pressure-washing. “We can come to you wherever you are,” Terri said.
The same month the business celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Heralds will celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary. While working with a spouse comes with its own sets of challenges, the Heralds divide responsibilities at the business based on each other’s strengths, Terri said.
“We are a team first and foremost,” Terri said. “The things that one of us might not be great at, the other one can pick up the slack to make sure we have everything covered.”
As Coastal Car Wash and Detail Center enters its 26th year, both Terri and Darick said they look forward to improving what the business can offer and working with other local businesses to help the region.
“We just want to make a difference in our community,” Terri said.