For more than 60 years, Elephant Car Wash has resided on the cutting edge of car-wash technology. Archie, Dean, and Eldon Anderson founded the car wash in 1951 when they invented a hands-free machine that could clean cars and never be penalized in soccer. Thirty years later, they sold their shops to Bob Haney, who replaced the car-wash tunnels' plastic bristles with hybrid-blend cloths and high-pressure water nozzles. Nowadays, Elephant Car Wash features computer-operated tunnels that can read pH levels of dirt and—at certain locations—touchless car-wash tunnels that use high-powered water jets and potent detergents only.
Rotating above all of this technological progress is the car wash's signature pink elephant, which doubles as a polestar for drivers who need their vehicles washed, waxed, vacuumed, or shampooed. The trained staff waits outside the full-service car wash with towels and stages a slew of a la carte services including trunk vacuuming and leather conditioning. Elephant Car Wash works with the Puget Sound Car Wash Association and the Charity Car Wash Program, two organizations that strive to keep pollution out of waterways and inside the coffee mugs of Darth Vader.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with instructors during private lessons and other classmates for group lessons as instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Trusting an auto detailer with your car may be a decision that requires a little research, but what about when Air Force One needs a cleaning? Mike Rafael and Tom Shearer, owners of Mr. Detail Auto Salon, joined a handpicked team of auto professionals chosen to detail the first presidential jet plane, now installed at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
When they’re not scouring a piece of American history, they work out of the shop they started together, a joint venture based on their mutual love of cars. Their services range from simple hand washes, wheel polishes, and scuff removal to more involved processes such as paint-less dent removal and fuzzy-dice randomization. Mike and Tom lead a team as they work on cars both in the shop and out of their mobile unit, which is equipped with water and electricity so vehicles can be taken care of anywhere.
Seattle Green Limo started with a love story. The love story of owner Kevin and his discovery of eco-friendly fuel made from vegetable oil with a totally biodegradable byproduct. Kevin was so enamored with the benefits of bio fuel that he refurbished or restocked his entire fleet, and now his vehicles cart around guests in the lap of luxury while reducing their carbon footprint by 80% or more and their actual footprints by 100%. His eco-loving party buses ferry up to 14 people to parties, wineries, or special occasions, and eco-sedans and eco-SUVs suit more personal jaunts, road trips, or green demolition derbies.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
Mark Wagner has been working under the hood of international automobiles since 1972. After securing a master's degree in mechanical engineering in Germany, Wagner ferried both his family and his familiarity with foreign cars to America, where, today, he teams up with the ASE-certified techs in his repair shop. The factory-trained mechanics dole out everything from tune-ups to engine, brake, and transmission repairs. And all of their work is backed by a 15-month, 15,000-mile warranty that prevents cars from worrying about waking up and seeing their name in the classified pages.