At the car wash, 60 years of soap and suds in Alaska
The first automated car wash opened in Anchorage 60 years ago on July 30th, 1959. While the Boyd family wasn't a part of that initial operation they have been cleaning cars one way or another since the mid-1960s.
Brian Boyd, part-owner and manager of both the "Magic Wand" self serve car washes in the city and the "Rainmaker" touchless car washes, is now a third-generation cleaner of cars.
We spoke with Boyd this week who was proud of the part his family has played in the industry. "It's over 50 years of family business at this point, my grandfather, he built the first one and then my dad ended up running that and grew it to three self serves and then he added these automatics and here I am I run it with my wife and got my kids handprints in the concrete so it's definitely a family business."
In the fifty-plus years that Brian's family has run their car washing business the industry itself has changed dramatically, now with a heavy emphasis on automation. Boyd says the changes he's seen throughout his lifetime in the business have exceeded even his high expectations as a younger man. "When I was a kid I was working at the self serve and we kept imagining things like automatic doors and cameras. Well we're way beyond that I mean the internet age of things, I mean I can pull out my cell phone and I can help a customer out anywhere in the country you know." Said Boyd.
The women in the family also play a big role, Boyd made sure to credit both his mother and his wife Jill for the continuing success of the business saying "Boy having my brilliant wife on board sure makes a difference and no I really wouldn't be doing this without her so yeah it's pretty important."
As for the future of the family business, while it's plausible his 11-year-old could someday take over, Boyd told me that she's more focused on baking at this point than cleaning cars.
No matter the future for this wash hard workgroup the family has certainly been a part of the past these last 50 years in Anchorage and continue to grow here in the present.