Local Car Detailing Shop Shapes Vermont Youth

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - At first glance, it looks like an average car detailing shop.  Spend just a few minutes at Detail Works, a car detailing shop in South Burlington, and you’ll realize it's much more. 

The program is working to prepare certain young adults in the Vermont community for a future many of them thought would never be possible. 

You wouldn’t know it, but many of the young adults working at Detail Works didn’t have any experience when they began detailing cars just three months ago. 

Charles Hemingway is one of seven employees at Detail Works. After just a week and a half training program, he was able to whip cars back into shape. 

“I was a car fanatic for a while. I always did want to work with cars, but I never thought of myself as working in a detail shop,” Hemingway said. 

The program does a lot more than just clean up your car. Detail Works is part of Spectrum Youth and Family Services.  

The nonprofit based in Burlington gives at-risk youth, like Hemingway, a safe play to live, eat, get counseling and even medical support. 

“I don’t know where I’d be without Spectrum, I really don’t,” Hemingway said. 

Hemingway has been under Spectrum’s roof for more than two years. 

“After I turned 18, my aunt and I got into an argument. She told me to pack my things and leave,” Hemingway said. 

Now, he’s learning crucial job kills at Detail Works under the watchful eye of Youth Coordinator Justin Verette. 

“I can’t wait until maybe a year down the road to go to another shop, or another business where one of our youth who started here, to be able to go see them at another job,” Verette said. 

All of their hard work pays off at the end of each week. Spectrum’s Executive Director gives each employee a paycheck, with encouraging notes written on them. 

"Go, Charles! Or. whatever the employee's name is," says Executive Director Mark Redmond.  "The longer they're here, we're going to promote them and give them different job titles and better pay."

Every day, the crew shows up for a hard day of work. They say sometimes, detailing a car can take four hours, which is a whole shift. So far, Verette says they have detailed about 80 cars. 

“The product afterwards and the look on our customers’ faces is priceless. That’s why I enjoy it here so much here,” Hemingway said. 

Detail Works opened, thanks to donations.  It now has community partners. UVM Medical Center contracted to have its fleet of emergency vehicles detailed, as well as Saint Michaels College. 

The grand opening for the program is sometime next month. To learn more about Detail Works and what they do, click here


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