Celebrating 50 years of wax-on wax-off is Stenger’s Car Wash & Detail, voted best for the second year in a row.

Owner Don Stenger remembers his father’s decision to open the business after a trip to Huntington, where he saw lines of motorists waiting for a wash. Joseph A. Stenger Jr. asked his son to help with the business on South High Street, and the younger man says it’s been all about toothbrushes and Q-tips ever since.

Stenger still has the South High Street location but purchased property on Chestnut Ridge Road in 1981, where he built onto a home located there. This location offers a touchless car wash and detailing services, with an express lane for those seeking a lower-tier wash and hoping for a speedier trip.

Known for a dedication to excellence, Stenger says his success is based solely on commitment to the customers. His staff of 12 fulltime employees diligently scrubs bugs from windows and hand dries every car that moves through the wash. Many automatic washes clean the car, he says, but it’s the drying that removes the last bit of dirt and makes the real difference. He recalls many customers who have gone in for a detail before selling a car, only to decide it looked so good that they would drive it for another year or two.

Manager Charlene Talbert has worked at Stenger’s for 15 years and oversees many of the day-to-day operations. Talbert still details some of the regulars’ vehicles herself, and she speaks of the friendships she has built over the years. She says her employees are all about respect and going the extra mile. The car wash is like a family, both Stenger and Talbert say, where regulars are common and first-timers often come back. — AR

767 Chestnut Ridge Road, 304.599.1148, “Stenger’s Car Wash” on Facebook

written by AUSTIN REMPEL