In a what’s being billed as a first-of-its-kind approach, a new car wash is staffed almost entirely by people with autism and backers of the company are looking to take the model national.
The Rising Tide Car Wash — which opened its doors in Parkland, Fla. this month — is built around the idea that people with autism excel at repetitive, structured tasks.
The business’s founders say the concept is to provide a high-quality product while playing off the strengths of a workforce that’s desperately in need of employment opportunities.
“By leveraging the talents of individuals with autism, we are turning a disability into a successful business strategy,” said John D’Eri who started the company with his son Thomas in an effort to create work opportunities for his other son Andrew, 21, who has autism, and those like him.
In order to make the venture a success, those behind Rising Tide worked with experts at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University to structure the work environment for people with autism and define the 46 steps to washing a car.
Already, the car wash claims to be the “largest single store retail employer of individuals with autism.”
D’Eri said he plans to scale the model with locations across the country.