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SBA 504 Loan Enables Expansion and Success of Nashville Car Wash Business

SBA 504 Loan Enables Expansion and Success of Nashville Car Wash Business


Seeing that the Nashville car wash industry had historically provided marginal service levels, little innovation, and no new car washes in several years, Read Hauck founded Camel Express Car Wash (Camel) in 2015. When doing his initial research on starting his business, Hauck was looking for a comprehensive program that would offer educational resources for a start-up as well as a mentorship program to participate in. He found SCORE Nashville and attended every class they had to offer and took part in every educational offering that SCORE provided at that time. He connected with John Dorland who became his SCORE mentor. Hauck attributes a large portion of Camel's success as the direct result of the education that was provided by SCORE Nashville.  After seeking financial help from seventeen lenders, Hauck applied to Franklin Synergy Bank for start-up financing.  The bank introduced him to Brightbridge Capital (Brightbridge), an Agency Certified Development Company, which approved an SBA 504 Loan funding Camel’s first location on Dover side Drive in Nashville.  Hauck had a vision to make car washing fun again for Nashville auto owners. 


After Camel showed significant impact in the Nashville car wash industry, Hauck again sought financial assistance through the SBA 504 Loan Program. In 2019, Brightbridge approved another loan which allowed for the opening of this business’s second Nashville location on Harding Place.   Creating an environment that gave employees autonomy to make educated field level decisions for the business as well as providing critical insight impacting the bigger picture decisions that need to be made for the company are two reasons that Hauck attributes to rapid early growth of Camel.  As result of the financial assistance of the SBA 504 Loan Program and the sweat equity of the business, Camel has been able to hire 6-20 employees and increased its sales by 46 percent since opening its doors.


Also, the business was established as a service driven organization.  The business partners with a new charity each month to deliver monetary donations as well as time and resource contributions that they hope will make a lasting impression on the communities that they serve.  


Camel has been featured in several car wash publications as one of the country's most up and coming service driven, innovative car wash organizations. The business has served as a beta testing site for three of the latest new technologies that have been introduced to the car wash industry over the last three years.  They have successfully helped to implement a new anti-collision software for their car wash tunnels that has been launched nationally.  The business was the first car wash in the nation to partner with a manufacturer to introduce a new license plate recognition system.  They were chosen as the 2019 Small Business of the Year by Nashville Magazine.


Hauck attributes Camel’s becoming a leader in car wash field to hard work and clear vision. He asserts that “careful attention to strategy, growth, and service have paid off and we hope to continue this tradition for many years to come here in Nashville.” Camel plans to open an additional 5 locations planned over the next two years.