Walden Lake Car Wash and Service Center, 1414 Alexander St. S., opened its doors April 1.
"It was kind of April Fools' on us," General Manager Frank Cummings of Ruskin said with a chuckle. "It rained - no, it poured that day."
Luckily it was a sunny, dry day when the center hosted a ribbon-cutting and grand opening May 4.
The business, located where another car wash closed three years ago, is owned by Cummings' wife, Dolly, and Babylon Village, Long Island, N.Y., residents Thomas "Tom" Cummings (brother of Frank Cummings) and lifelong family friend, Andrew Breimann.
Dolly Cummings is also the nature center director of Camp Bayou, a 160-acre, county-owned nature preserve in Ruskin. Camp Bayou educates school children and others about the area's history, flora, fauna and environment.
Frank and Tom Cummings used to own a car repair shop in New York. "We were able to employ people and help them start learning skills," Frank Cummings said.
They're doing the same here. The car wash and service center employs 15 people.
"For a small business, I think we do pretty good," Frank Cummings said.
Their services include car washing, oil changes and vehicle detailing.
"A car wash is basic—clean the windows, the outside of the car," Frank Cummings said. "With detailing, two people work on the car. They clean all the nooks and crannies, such as the air conditioning vents, console and headliner, and shampoo seats and carpet. Then they go outside and clean and wax it, making it look brand new."
The owners of the business are committed to supporting the community. They offer a Support Our Local Hero discount of 10 percent off the cost of any service to law enforcement or military personnel, firefighters and nurses, Frank Cummings said.
They also charge half price to clean the squad cars that Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies and Plant City Police Department officers take home.
"They're required to keep the cars clean," said Frank Cummings. "Since they're looking out for us, the least we can do is help them by discounting the cost of washing their patrol cars."
The car wash also is forming fundraising partnerships with non-profit organizations.
"Instead of kids holding a car wash on a street corner where they might get hit by a car, we'll wash the cars and they can promote it by distributing fliers we print for them," he said.
For each customer who brings in a flier or mentions the group, $3 will be contributed to their cause.
Through July 2 the business will partner with the Hopewell Baptist Church youth group in Plant City to help kids go to summer camp.
The business also supports A Mother's Love Inc., a nonprofit founded by Karen Williams.
Williams recuperated in a nursing home after an accident and vowed to return to visit if she ever could walk again. Last year she called on and brought flowers and gifts to 300 women at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The car wash and service center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
For information, go to www.waldenlakecarwash.com/ or call (813) 752-7226.