A PLEASURE TO SERVE—Antoine Stribling, left, and William Sutherland of W.V.B. Car Wash and Detail Shop take pride in cleaning and detailing vehicles. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
To William Sutherland and Antoine Stribling, driving clean and well-groomed vehicles is not important. What does matter to them is that their customers are driving clean vehicles inside and out. For the last eight years Sutherland has been washing and detailing vehicles from 111 Capital Ave. located off West Liberty Avenue in the Dormont section of Pittsburgh. “We take our craft very serious,” said Sutherland. “When you come to W.V.B. Car Wash and Detail Shop your car becomes our car and we treat it with care.”
For a charge ranging between $20 and $425 for cars and trucks, customers receive a variety of services from a simple car wash to a hand wax and machine buffing, superior interior detailing, seat cleaning, fabric protection, truck detailing, air freshener, rain windshield and engine cleaning. Stressing that there is a distinct difference between a car wash and detailing shop, Sutherland said his facility is equipped to handle a complete detail service. Services also include detail carpet, mat and seat cleaning, thorough vacuuming inclusive of the trunk, cleaning of the dashboard, steering column, instrument panel and center console, window cleaning inside and out.
SPARKLING CLEAN—William Sutherland puts the final touches on a car receiving a detail service.
First time customer, Megan Hill, owner of a Jeep Cherokee verified Sutherland’s distinction. “I was very pleased with their services. They cleaned places I did not realize was dirty. They pay attention to details and go the extra mile,” she said pointing out that they supplied her with replacement mats because hers were in bad shape. Having the service done at least a month ago she said her midnight blue vehicle still has a shine and smells nice. Admitting that the price was more than fair she said she was glad to be able to support an African-American owned business.
A certified Minority Business Enterprise, Sutherland said W.V.B’s cliental extends beyond just personal vehicles. “We have an account with the City of Pittsburgh, clean cars for dealerships preparing them for sale or auctions and are listed on Angie’s List.” Pentecostal Temple Church and some athletes also are included as clients. In some situations his service includes picking up and dropping off vehicles.
A people oriented person, but yet humble man, Sutherland is a Vietnam veteran retired from the United States Navy. He worked in security at Heinz Field but always enjoyed cleaning and detailing vehicles. He and a partner operated a Touch of Class Detailing Shop on Hamilton Avenue in Homewood before he branched off on his own.
Now positioning the business to be turned over to the next generation, Sutherland has been working with his employees teaching strong work ethics and the skills it takes to operate successfully.
“I have learned a lot working here. Detailing has grown on me. I’m becoming as good as or better than the teacher,” Stribling joked. Laid off from the steel mill, he said he was used to working hard, but seeing an end result of his work is exciting. “I’m becoming knowledgeable in how to operate a business and the importance of good customer service, explained the father of two.
“Antoine and I work well together. Seeing him work hard gives me energy,” Sutherland confessed. “He is also teaching me. His age group is into technology which is taking us to another level.”
In Sutherland’s opinion having good employees makes a difference. He says in his line of work dependability and honesty is important. “I have to have trust worthy people with integrity and good character around me. People trust us with their valuable possessions.”
Both Sutherland and Stribling are looking toward the future. Focusing on retirement, Sutherland’s concern is that the business will continue to operate in a professional manner and expand. “Always being involved I would like to serve as a salesperson for the business,” he indicated stating that he is not ready to walk away anytime soon. “God has been good to me and now I want to be able to give back by providing employment opportunities. I’ve trained a lot of people in this industry already.”
Stribling has his sights set on making W.V.B. more social-media friendly. “I want our customers to be able to make appointments online and to one day be able to purchase our name brand products online.”
After being in the business for so long, Stribling says they know what products work best and what products are environmentally friendly. “We know what our customers like and enjoy helping them maintain the upkeep of their vehicles no matter if it is a car, SUV or van,” he said.
Indicating that they are busy all year around, Stribling said with the summer fast approaching business is rapidly picking up. “We operate normal business hours Monday through Friday. Appointments are recommended but drop-ins are accepted,” he said.
A frequently asked question, according to Sutherland is how long does it take to clean and or detail a vehicle? He says it depends on the service. “It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours, that is why it is best to call 412-589-4540 and make an appointment.”
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