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History of FSCW
Full Service Car Wash goes back over 30 years and 3 generations. Over that time, our family owned and operated business has grown into what has become a regionally recognized name brand employing over about 100 hard working people across multiple locations. I often get asked by our customers, “Who owns this?” “How did you start?” “Are you a locally based company?” “Is this a franchise?” etc. In the following few paragraphs, I hope to answer these questions, as well as elaborate on where FSCW has been, as well as where we are going.
How Full Service Car Wash Got Started
Full Service Car Wash started as “Hales Corners Full Service Car Wash” by a man, my grandfather, Dennis Moody in 1986. Dennis had very humble roots growing up in Texas, and eventually moved to Milwaukee in the mid-1960s to start a career in the booming industry that made up our city’s thriving economy at that time. Dennis eventually married, had two children, and was working as a union machinist at Pabst Brewing Company downtown in Milwaukee. My grandfather often told me that he was envious of people who had their own business, and he grew frustrated working for a union that in his opinion, was not helping move Pabst forward as an efficiently run company.
One day in the early 1980s, Dennis was waiting in a long line at a car wash in Milwaukee. He looked around on the exceptionally busy day, and told me he said to himself, “a monkey can do this!” Despite not totally knowing what he was getting himself into, the spark was ignited in Dennis’ brain to leave a comfortable job, and begin his journey as an entrepreneur in the car wash industry. Eventually, a location on 108th street was chosen in Hales Corners, WI for his business. An empty lot that at one time had previously been a car wash called Penny-Wise Car Wash.
After sharing his endeavors with his co-workers and friends, Dennis received much skepticism. “You’ll never make it there, a car wash has already gone out of business at that site…” people told him. Some of his union co-workers literally spat on him for turning his back on the union to become a business owner! He was throwing away his pension and benefits working for the Pabst Brewer’s Union. Dennis understood the risk, and in 1985 broke ground on what is now our Hales Corners location. Hales Corners Full Service Car Wash, Inc. opened its doors on March 5th, 1986.
Full Service Car Wash, a Family Business
After Dennis broke ground, his daughter Angela’s boyfriend at the time, David Leikam, took interest in Dennis’ endeavor. Following his graduation from high school, David was offered the opportunity to work for Dennis to help him get his business started. David did so for a year, saved the money he made working for Dennis and went to pursue a degree in manufacturing engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Stout with his girlfriend and Dennis’ daughter, Angela. During summers and on weekends, David and Angela continued to work for Dennis, further learning their way around the new and now growing business.
How Full Service Car Wash Got Its Name
Following college, David and Angela were married, had two children, and David starting working for Dennis full time. In 1999, David and Angela purchased Hales Corners Full Service Car Wash, Inc. from Dennis and his wife Marry. Knowing that he wanted to expand his father-in-law's business, David shortened the name to Full Service Car Wash.
A Growing Business
In 2002, David purchased our Brookfield, WI location on Bluemound Road. Investing in site enhancements, that location soon greatly improved production, and was an instant success. Soon after, David purchased our West Bend, WI location on Washington Street in 2003. Site improvements were made at that facility as well, and his business model proved another success. In 2007, David purchased our Grafton, WI location on Wisconsin Avenue. This site was under a current lease, and when the lease expired in 2010, Full Service Car Wash assumed operation of that facility. Many site improvements followed, and now that facility is also a successful addition to FSCW.
Starting in 2006, I, David and Angela’s son Tyler Leikam, started working at Full Service Car Wash at the age of 14. I had always been mesmerized by the excitement of this business and was anxious to get involved with my family’s company. On weekends and summers during high school, I eventually worked my way up from scrubbing down cars to being a greeter, helping customers choose what service they would like, and answering questions about their wash. Once I started college in pursuit of my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, I started assistant managing. This was also done whenever I could around my school schedule on weekends and summers home. About halfway through my college career, I was given the opportunity of run my own location in Grafton, WI. I was the site manager of that facility and full-time student for another two years until my graduation in the Spring of 2014. After I graduated with my BBA, I assumed the title of Vice President, helping my father oversee and operate his businesses, injecting energy and fresh ideas into our family company.
The Future of Full Service Car Wash
The future of FSCW is a bright one. We currently are actively involved in the communities where we do business, donating to many local organizations. We participate in a huge yearly philanthropy event for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, have been voted Milwaukee’s best car wash by Milwaukee Magazine, and have an A+ rating with the BBB. We’ve continued to grow and push our limits to provide the best car wash experience anywhere, and pursuing our company’s mission statement:
Full Service Car Wash, Inc. is a Professional, Car Washing and Automotive Detailing Service Company aimed at offering high quality, competitively priced, services that are directed towards customer satisfaction. We view ourselves as partners with our customers, our employees, our community, and our environment. We aim to become a regionally recognized brand name, capitalizing on the sustained interest in Professional Automotive Care. Our goal is moderate growth, annual profitability and maintaining our excellent customer experience.
– Full Service Car Wash, Inc. Staff
Thank You To Those Who Have Helped Over The Last Three Decades!
I am proud to say that everyone who has laid their hands on our business over the last 3 decades are proud in one way or another to have done so. For my family and I personally, we are very proud to have provided a service to our customers that they need, but we're also very proud of the thousands of people who have proudly worn our uniform. We are very grateful to all that have been a part of our success!