Virginia Beach has a new claim to fame: The city is home to the Most Valuable Car Washer in the country.
“Professional Carwashing & Detailing Magazine” bestowed the 2015 honor on Mike Hulburt, store manager of the Autobell Car Wash on First Colonial Road.
“It was definitely a shock,” Hulburt said Monday. “It’s pretty cool — I never thought I would win an award like that. It was definitely a great feeling to be named the best in my field.”
Hulburt, a graduate of Kellam High School and Tidewater Community College, received the award because of his drive and desire to succeed at every position he has held in the car wash industry, according to the publication.
Hulburt started at Autobell in 2005 while still at Kellam. He became the assistant manager a few years later and continued to work his way up in the company, becoming a manager at an Autobell in Newport News and later returning to Virginia Beach.
Hulburt credited his co-workers as a main reason for his success.
“It’s really like a team here. I feel like I’m kind of a coach,” Hulburt said.
He said one of his favorite parts of the job is interacting with people — both customers and his staff, which numbers more than 60.
“If we see a car that hasn’t been here before, I tell my staff that that’s an opportunity to make them a customer for life,” he said.
Hulburt’s store has won Autobell’s Virginia Store of the Month 16 times and holds the all-time record at the company for the most vehicles washed in an hour, a week and a month.