An old-fashioned car wash
Five Star cleans, details by hand; also welcomes larger vehicles

       Five Star Car Wash & Auto Detail will celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2005, and - thanks to a relocation from the downtown area two months ago - it will be on the Westside.
       Business owner Claudine Malcolm said she has already added 15 to 20 percent new customers since the move to 430 W. Colorado Ave. (at the corner of Walnut Street), and is eager for more. Other than the Hub on Garden of the Gods Road, Five Star is the only full-service carwash/ detail shop on the Westside.
       Malcolm said she's proud to provide customers with a “woman's attention to detail” in a typically male-dominated line of work, as well as to offer a simple way to raise money for area nonprofit organizations through her “community reinvestment” program.
       The way the fund-raising works, Malcolm sets up an agreement with an organization, and if someone having their car cleaned at Five Star asks for it, 10 percent of the customer's charge is automatically earmarked for that organization.
       A key difference in the Five Star carwash is that it's done entirely by hand. This takes longer - about 15 minutes, compared to 7 or so at a typical full-service carwash that uses machines for all or part of the wash. However, she said the important thing is to do the job well, rather than to “see how many cars we can run through in a day.”
       In addition to washing, the business offers a wide range of detail services, including shampooing, leather treatment, waxing, engine and underchassis cleaning, oxidation removal, pressure washing and overspray removal. Bigger vehicles are welcome, including RVs and even boats.
       Free pickup and delivery are offered, as well as mobile services.
       Originally from upstate New York, Malcolm and a partner moved to the Pikes Peak region in December 2000 and started Five Star. At the time, she was more interested in being a business investor than in learning the carwash/detailing business itself.
       When she and her partner split up, she found herself with an enterprise that she had to get to know in a hurry. “It's been a learning experience, socially and technically,” she recalled. But it's also been rewarding. “I've met a lot of great people,” she said.
       Asked about the hardest part of the business, she replied, “Fiscal management.” An iffy economy, changing weather and four address changes - due mainly to the uncertainties of renting commercial space - have made it tough to thrive, she said.
       But she is upbeat about her new site. “I love the Westside people,” she said. “If someone likes the way we did their car, they'll tell somebody else about it.” Logistically, the Colorado Avenue/Walnut Street location is close enough to downtown not to lose former customers, she said, and “it exposes me to a part of town I didn't have exposure to before.”
       Five Star is open seven days a week.

Westside Pioneer article