(10/30/13) - The next time you're cruising through a car wash, take a good look at what's scrubbing down your car.
"Just about anywhere in Michigan, or across the world, if you're going through a car wash, there's a good chance that you're being washed with brushes made here in Imlay City," said Ted Yamin, of Gallop Brush Company.
Gallop Brush Company out of Imlay City is one of only a dozen or so manufacturers of car wash brushes around the globe. To say it's a family business is an understatement.
"My mom is here, my brother is here, my sister is here, my dad is here. We were born into this. Couldn't get out if we wanted to. Absolutely not," Yamin said.
Yamen's company currently employs around 12 people and has been one of the leaders in the industry since 2000.
"We used to own car washes before this, and when my dad said, 'Hey I'm thinking about this,' I said, 'What are you talking about?'"
Production first began out of a tiny Lapeer garage, and just last year, expanded to a 32,000 square foot facility.
"We bring all the products in, they're all raw. From when we get them, we have to convert them to size. We have the dye cutters. After they get pressed, they go to sewing machines, then there's the packing process, so we're not completely vertically integrated, but almost everything from start to finish is here," Yamin said.
Over the years, Gallop and the manufacturers association have worked closely with the Big Three automakers.
"When you go through the car wash, you don't want any damage. We would do all the testing for them, and then their engineers would go back to the drawing table to see what they needed to do to increase the strength of the their vehicle," Yamin said.
With Michigan being the birth place of the automobile, there are plenty of businesses right here ready to clean them.
"Actually, Michigan is probably the car wash capital of the world. We're probably the state with the most car washes. We probably have the most car wash manufacturers here," Yamin said.
And with so many car washes competing for cash, changes in car washing technology are constant. Gallop is working hard to stay ahead of the curve.
"Every day we're looking for the next product. What can we do better. How can we make things easier. How can we become more efficient. Everyday," Yamin said.
As other car wash brush manufacturers are heading overseas to cut costs, Gallop Brush Company envisions more expansion in Imlay City, and that could mean more paychecks for more employees.
"For us, it's about being made in Michigan. It has been tempting, and we've looked at it, and of course all of our competitors are already doing it, but it's our goal and our intention to keep doing it here in the US," Yamin said.
These days, Gallop Brush Company is thinking beyond just the car wash. Right now, they're also manufacturing ice re-surfacing brushes for Zambonis.
For more information on Gallop, click HERE.
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