Seattle, Wash. — We had a dirty rig - so we decided to clean it at the first ever Brown Bear Car Wash, located on 15th Ave. West in Seattle's Interbay neighborhood. Brown Bear has dozens of locations all over the state, and it was voted BEST car wash in Western Washington by Evening’s viewers.
This Seattle company has been putting the shine on cars since 1957. We invited Brown Bear VP Lance Odermat - the son of owner and founder Victor Odermat - for an interview and promised him it would only last as long as one car wash. As long as we could do it in the carwash. He volunteered to ride shotgun.
Evening: “Why do you think Brown Bear won Best Car Wash?”
Odermat: “We've been in business since 1957, we're family owned, and most of our upper management team started with my dad in the 60's.”
Evening: “Are these designed to be entertaining?”
Odermat: "We try! We try to make it a Disneyland type of experience and we're always looking for ways to improve it. The lights are deliberate, we'd like to do more and we're kicking around ideas all the time."
Evening: “Don't automatic car washes scratch paint?”
Odermat: "I would encourage anybody with a phobia about carwashes to give us a shot. Studies have shown over the years going to a professionally operated well maintained car wash is better for your car’s clear coat than washing it at home or washing it by hand."
Evening: “Why Brown Bear?”
Odermat: “My dad grew up in Alaska in the 30’s and early 40's and developed an affinity for bears and felt having a carwash with a mascot was going to be a good way to build a business and create an identity.”
Evening: “What’s with the waving bear at the end of the wash?”
Odermat: “People really like it, it ads character, it's a friendly touch it's a friendly send-off.”
Evening: “Does he have a name?”
Odermat: “No, but people frequently point out ‘Hey your brown bear is pretty yellow!’.”
This story brought to you by Honda & Toyota of Seattle. Evening is your guide to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Watch it weeknights at 7:30 on KING-TV Ch. 5 or streaming live on KING5.com. Connect with Evening via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Email.