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Car wash to feature more buff than usual
By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 7, 2000
SPRING HILL -- "Suds" is for the carwash; "jugs" ... well, let's just say this business won't be selling milk.
Job Levesque says his new bikini carwash, Suds & Jugs, promises to turn both heads and profits. A business unique in Hernando County, it will open May 20 on Cortez Boulevard at Topline Tire & Auto's self-service carwash, across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The venture already has had code enforcement officers thumbing through county laws to learn how codes apply to scantily clad women washing cars.
They don't. Levesque is covered, as long as the women are.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur and Brooksville resident thinks Hernando County is ready for his brand of business.
"In my personal opinion, I think Spring Hill is going to be a younger crowd starting with the (Suncoast Parkway), and I think it's ready for something different," Levesque said. "I think it's a little bit of spice for a lot younger crowd around here, and I think it's a good business opportunity."
To be safe, though, Levesque will not reveal the name of the chain grocery store where he works as general manager, just in case some residents don't have the stomach for his type of spice.
Levesque plans to run the carwash out of leased space at Topline only on weekends, to begin with. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the week, customers will have to manage on their own at the self-service carwash.
He plans to hire 24 women, who will be required to wear bikini tops -- anything "legal at the beach," he said -- and either bikini bottoms or shorts. He will charge $15 for a wash and wax and an extra $5 to dry.
"Hopefully the guys will be tipping the girls," he said.
Screening of potential employees began Saturday, when about 35 women who have responded to Levesque's ads were to meet with him to learn the finer points of cleaning cars for $5 an hour.
Some of the ground rules: no flirting, flashing or fishing out phone numbers. To make sure things do not get out of hand, two bouncers and a manager will be on site at all times.
Though he hopes to fill the 24 positions with the best-looking women, Levesque admits he will take what he can get.
"I'll be hiring pretty much everybody until I get to 24 girls," he said. "If I get 50, I'll pick the ones that are more endowed. But if I only have 24, than I'll put 24 out there. Guys are looking for all types of women." But he stresses the carwash will not be a pickup joint.
Those who responded to his ads start at age 17.
"I've had a girl that called that is 49 years old, but I don't know if I'm going to hire her or not."
The women who responded were either unemployed or looking for a fun weekend job, he said. The callers range from a special-education teacher to office workers to a few strippers.
"But I did want to steer away from the strippers. They have a tendency to go overboard," he said.
In addition to what he calls good pay, there's a lot more attracting the women to the job, Levesque said.
"They are going to be working, but are going to be outside getting a suntan and meeting a lot of guys with nice cars."
Not everyone is bubbling over with excitement about Levesque's approach to car washes.
Next door at Ryan's Family Steak House, general manager John Tall says Suds & Jugs might not wash with his customers.
"It would probably influence my business somewhat because it is a family-oriented business," Tall said. "I do most of that business with parents and children on weekends." Seniors frequent the restaurant on weekdays, he said.
Though unusual, Levesque's business will not violate county codes, said Frank McDowell III, the county's code enforcement director.
"As long as the proper parts of the anatomy are covered, I don't know of any rule that would prevent him," McDowell said. "I don't know of any type of business venture washing cars of this nature."
Levesque said he already has heard some opposition to his business while passing out fliers. But to him, the combination makes perfect sense.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.