Attention to detail is Kenny's goal for cleaning at Kenny's Car Wash in Sumter

Car wash owner known for friendliness, thorough work

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 2/22/19

This series is in honor of Black History Month, where each February, as designated by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, founded by Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson, as well as The Library of Congress, an …

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Attention to detail is Kenny's goal for cleaning at Kenny's Car Wash in Sumter

Car wash owner known for friendliness, thorough work

Kenny Black is owner of Kenny's Car Wash at the corner of Broad and North Purdy streets where an attention to detail and friendly conversation come with every service.
Kenny Black is owner of Kenny's Car Wash at the corner of Broad and North Purdy streets where an attention to detail and friendly conversation come with every service.
ADRIENNE SARVIS / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

If you've ever been searching for a place to give your vehicle the attention it needs, chances are you've heard of or stopped by Kenny's Car Wash at 294 Broad St.

And if you haven't been to Kenny's, owner Kenny Black - just Kenny to those who know him - has a few reasons why you should make the trip.

Window tinting, detailing, washing, waxing, shampooing and immaculate interior cleaning, he said, listing the available services.

If you still need convincing, just ask the 30 to 40 customers who come by every day.

As a veteran of the U.S. Army, attention to detail is like a sixth sense to the business owner, and he makes sure to tell his staff to have that same quality.

Take pride in your work, Kenny said, because somebody is always looking.

Those words ring true.

Kenny said about 70 percent of his customer base is made of regulars, including a 20-year repeat customer.

"I had a lot of people here when I first started," he said about opening his business in 2000. "And they pass me throughout the family."

The kids come here. Grandma comes here. Everybody in the family comes here, Kenny said. All walks of life come through that door, he said.

Even if you're from out of town, he said, stop by Kenny's when you come to Sumter, then go to the house for Thanksgiving.

But with the speed of automated car washes, what keeps so many people coming back to Kenny's?

Everyone wants that personal touch you can only get by hand, Kenny said. "Machines will never put hands out of business."

At about 30 minutes for a regular exterior and interior cleaning, the expectation of a detailed service is a given.

A good business means taking pride in your work, he said. "It always shows."

And while Kenny's business is his own, he was introduced to the world of detailing cars by his father, who was in the business before him.

"It's been inherited," Kenny said about his interest in detailing vehicles. "I grew up around cars."

With the experience he gained working at his father's business in the '60s and '70s, Kenny operated a detail shop in Miami, Florida, for a few years before settling at the corner of Broad and North Purdy streets in Sumter. He moved to Sumter, his mother's hometown, in 1998; his father is from Bishopville.

"I started out with two people," Kenny said. "Now I employ six."

And there is always something to talk about with the wall of famous people and autographs inside the lobby and numerous murals of singers and boxing legends outside.

Or, you could ask Kenny to tell you one of his many interesting stories.

For a while, Kenny was a limo driver for the Comedy House in Columbia where he met many comedians; and he met James "Bonecrusher" Smith and Sugar Ray Leonard while boxing and even got the quickest knockout in south Florida, 15 seconds, in 1978.

Though he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kenny said he's happy to be in Sumter, especially because of the community's appreciation of veterans.

Sumter is a military town, he said, and the people embrace the military to the utmost.

And with more than 20 years under his belt, Kenny said the next venture could be a second location in Columbia so drivers can get the same quality services even out of town.