Philanthropy is often thought of as the preserve of the very rich and yet there are ways that small business owners can contribute to the general well-being of society. Cincinnati.com reported on one such example, that of Amber Brodgen and Joshua Brodgen. The two own a full service auto detailing company in Cincinnati, that hires “hard to employ” workers, that is, ex-felons and those who are struggling to make ends meet.
The Brodgens own Extreme Clean Auto Detailing, which offers comprehensive auto detailing services, from basic wash to elite detail, for personal and corporate automobiles. Cincinnati.com tells us that the Brodgens did not start out wanting to own an auto detailing business, indeed, the business itself is not the motivation for their work, helping people in West Chester and the Greater Cincinnati area, is.
They see their business as a philanthropic enterprise whose outreach and social work occurs through their hiring practices. They hire ex-felons and other down-on-their-luck people, and teach them the ins and outs of the auto dealership business. Studies have consistently shown that employers are very hesitant to hire ex-convicts, with only 12.5% of employers willing to hire them. This leads to high levels of recidivism among ex-cons, who, finding they cannot survive legitimately, are forced back into crime. The Brodgens offer ex-felons hope, that if they are willing to learn, change, and work hard, they can transform their lives and live as rehabilitated citizens. Not only do they hire ex-felons, they, as we said, hire people who are struggling in some way. During the present pandemic, they have hired people who have lost their jobs thanks to Covid-19 related closures and retrenchments.
Extreme Auto Dealing is a customer-centric business and tries to create the best customer experience possible, offering to pick up your vehicle, detail it according to your specifications and deliver it to you. They use the same leather as the best leather sofas made in USA.
What makes this business stand-out is that it is both a family-owned business and a minority-owned business. The couple work together, managing the business in a very hands-on way, and they also work with their children, two, aged 18 and 16, help to detail the cars and manage crews and a third, aged 5, sometimes helps to sweep and clean the auto shop. Many founders of family-owned businesses cite the possibility of working with their loved ones to create something enduring and profitable, as a big motivation for their work, and certainly, the Brodgens feel the same way.
They have suffered from prejudice from potential customers who turn away when they realise that the company is minority owned. Yet, they have persevered, and the company enjoys a 5-star rating on Yelp.
As with many businesses during the pandemic, Extreme Clean Auto Detailing has experienced a drop-off in customers and revenues, but this has not dented their commitment to helping others, or their faith in their business. Like all great businesses, they have adapted to the new reality and begun offering sanitizing services to semi-auto vehicles and fleet vehicles. Adaptation has taken different forms in the auto detailing industry, with some businesses offering mobile detail car wash services.
Where others would have given up, they have felt inspired by the work to be done, the possibilities that they offer workers who often do not have any material savings or other sources of income, and so, they have remained open, fighting and working for their workers.