(Photo: Google Maps screenshot)

(Photo: Google Maps screenshot)

The Raleigh News & Observer ran an excellent feature story about a car wash business owner who based his business model on the idea that everyone deserves a second chance. Mike Phillips, 54, has made it his mission to hire ex-convicts and others who have difficulty finding jobs at his car wash, Men At Work Car Care Center.

His motives are personal — Phillips is a former drug dealer himself who got busted. “I changed from hustlin’ drugs to hustlin’ car washes,” he told the North Carolina newspaper. The News & Observer was featuring Phillips and his Men At Work brand because he has expanded it across the street to include a barber shop.

Phillips stands more than 6 feet tall and has a gruff voice, but quickly puts people at ease with grins, high fives and an overwhelming heart for community. He has a detailing toothbrush tucked into his sock and a “Professor Mike” tag on his desk in the car wash office.

He taught auto detailing at Wake Tech last summer and, like a professor, he’s always spewing new ideas. The car wash is by far his most popular venture, but the barbershop is not far behind; Phillips said there are days when each of his eight barber chairs and the row of waiting seats are taken by customers.

Phillips has been feeding off his own customer base, selling convenience. A car wash and haircut in the same morning? “That’s free time for guys,” he said.

Read the rest of the story here.