(Photo: Google Maps)

(Photo: Google Maps)

A Galesburg, Illinois, car wash is celebrating 40 years in the business from humble beginnings as a single business to a company with 12 locations in two states. WaterWorks Car Wash was originally known as JH Car Wash and began in October 1975. When a man named Walter Smith, from Ohio, was looking to get out of the ice business and into something more lucrative.

The Register-Mail reports that Smith bought the first touchless car wash then looked for ways to improve the business model. He began by making his own soap and equipment, so he hired a chemist and built a 35,000-square-foot plant to begin production.

At its peak, 20 people worked at the Galesburg location. Now 13 work there and the company has changed hands, but is still thriving.

“What we decided is that we’d know and we think our customers would know because that’s one of the things that cleans our cars is good soap and hot water, so we’ve made a commitment to keep our soap business,” new owner David Stukel said. “It keeps jobs in Galesburg, and it creates a continuity to our quality.”