If you have ever spoken with Eric Smith, you’ve noticed how his mind works. He sees connections and links where the untrained eye may not. He retains what he’s heard and read, and can play out several divergent scenarios from the same starting point.
And with a marker and tablet- he generates line extensions, creative executions and next steps from thin air. Learning from a life-long community of production vendors (who are also his good friends) Eric is constantly pushing for innovation and practical ways to create within narrowing parameters.
Add a young and enthusiastic staff under his experienced guidance, with a pack of highly efficient vendor companies on call, and you have Smithworks. A company with an unusual knack for leapfrogging; from one perfectly doable concept, to the next.
A clean car is a way of presenting myself well. Projects at home, business and family have forced this priority lower on my list. I still prefer to wash and clean the car myself - ‘if it’s worth doing- it’s worth doing well’.
So what does this have to do with Marketing, Design or Branding? Everything. With family and friends in the Lancaster area, we’re often rushing there. Even in a hurry, #1 I hate to arrive in a dirty car and # 2 it’s the perfect excuse to visit “Cloister Wash and Lube”.
They do everything a business can do, and well. The owner has taken every negative notion of a carwash and flipped it on its head. On arrival, the buildings are brick: cape style, with large porches - rocking chairs, green grass and flowers everywhere. Inviting us to a spotless facility- unexpectedly odd.
As we pull into a multi-lane garage, an employee greets me with a clipboard, a smile and “How can I help you today?” Recommending options, up-selling appropriately, processing my payment before pointing us along to the next building.
There, two more employees guide us onto the automated tracks – power washing the front and rear of the vehicle and the wheels by hand. As the ride begins, the squirting soap in funny colors, huge mechanical mops and brushes all produce giggles from my kids – amusing them as much as me? When the blowers kick on after the wash and rinse, high temp looking HEAT signs light up – it really is kind of fun.
Then it’s off to the final building where the dripping car is met with a smile as another employee confirms my services. So far the process has been good but this is where it begins to feels like we’re getting extra special treatment– like I’d do myself, even if we’re just here for a quick wash.
We exit the car, as it moves along to another conveyor belt. The uniformed team, outfitted with safety glasses and rags, hovers like bees waiting to descend on the windows and vacuum, as we enter another door alongside.
Inside the waiting area feels like my grandmother’s house: warm, comfortable, treats, free candy for the kids, coffee, even greeting cards. As we walk through, we also watch the buzzing workers through huge windows- a dedicated pack for each of the cars getting spruced up today. It’s now we notice the detail of the environment. A beautiful mural expands the atmosphere, old time crates and oilcans produce a feeling far larger than just a garage along the highway.
When our car is gleaming, and they’ve finished wiping and polishing – I’m asked whether I’m happy with the job. When was the last time someone asked you, on the spot, if you thought they had done a good job?
I just went to the Cloister Wash and Lube website. Seems others think they’re doing a great job, as well. The owner was just inducted in to “The Car Wash Hall of Fame”. The website is not as refined as the actual experience, but it’s not bad. If your car is dirty, go check out the place- or if you’re like me, plan your family’s route past one of the Cloister locations. Priorities...