Honoring a legacy, one car detail at a time

This article is part of Business Buzz, a series designed to showcase small businesses that have a big impact on the community. Participants featured will include the local businesses that make up the fabric of Big Rapids and the surrounding region.

HOWARD CITY – Every day that the Detail on Wheels mobile automotive aesthetic is open to businesses, it is the continuous reflection of the man who made it all possible – a living homage to four walls.

Founded by the late Jason Smith-Beaver four years ago, the business was initially operated out of his garage, but word of his first-rate work quickly spread throughout the area and Detail on Wheels has grown steadily. and gain popularity among its customers.

Thanks to his practically insatiable work ethic, radiant personality and infectious optimism about life, the store grew in popularity and a loyal following quickly followed.

His many loyal clients represented the world to him, so much so that he even brought his services on the road with him, making house calls, bringing his services right to the client’s door, rather than having them come to the door. him, a service that continues to this day.

Smith-Beaver passed away suddenly in May at the age of 40, leaving behind his wife Dezirae Dexter, daughter-in-law Kaylee Sanford and a relative Rick Tanis to keep the store afloat.

“When my stepfather was alive we were very busy because he was the face of it,” Sanford said. “He was really good at talking to people – people loved interacting with him and they just loved talking to him while he was detailing their cars.”

Business is still fairly stable and Sanford added that they are currently looking to hire at least two more detail teams to handle the day-to-day workload.

Recently, Detail on Wheels moved to a new location in Howard City, which Smith-Beaver was in the process of relocating at the time of his death.

“We like to do the mobile thing, but we kind of want to have more cars in and out of here as well,” Sanford said.

Prior to deciding on the new location on Federal Road in Howard City, the store was run from the Smith-Beaver and Dexter barn.

Dexter explained that the business quickly overstepped the boundaries of their barn.

“One weekend a friend of his asked him to detail his boat, and (Jason) had forgotten how much he liked (the details), so he went back to doing it,” Dexter said. “It just exploded on him. He didn’t expect him to take off like he did. He just ran with it. It gave him something he loved to do.

Before diving head first into the beauty industry, Smith-Beaver was a telemarketer at MPi in Big Rapids for nine years.

Although he didn’t mind the position, Smith-Beaver’s love for being outside and away from sitting at a desk on a daily basis was a catalyst early in his retail shop.

“He wanted to go out, interact with people face to face rather than on the phone,” Sanford said.

His work ethic, according to those who knew him most, was unmatched, so many people quickly gave him the rather ironic title of “Lazy”, much to his chagrin.

Despite the challenges of entering a completely unexpected new era in Jason’s business, now it’s about keeping his legacy alive.

“I’m just trying to keep this alive and keep his name – that was his dream,” Sanford said. “Instead of being home and being sad, why not be here to get out of the cars? This is what he would like. He was a great motivator.

Dexter and Sanford agree, adding that they know Jason proudly watches over them with every car they detail.

“He put his whole heart and soul into it, so we’re just trying to keep going for him,” Tanis said. “Our work speaks for itself.”


1337 Federal Road in Howard City

For times and contact details, search for Detail on Wheels on Facebook.

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