Butler’s Car Wash: Taking Opportunities and Giving Back | March 2017
By Maria Landry
Ed Goff is a man of opportunities.
At just 19 years old, he opened Farmington Rental, an equipment rental business. After running that for several years, he seized another opportunity. With his in-laws looking to retire from the car wash business, Goff and his wife, Jennifer, took over Butler’s Touchless Automatic in Skowhegan in 2009. In 2011 they bought another car wash in Madison and renovated it, and just last year they opened Fast Eddie’s in Augusta, building it from the ground up.
“That was always what I wanted to do, run a family business,” Goff said from his Norridgewock home on a rainy March day. “I wanted to run a small business and I wanted to be here, so when the opportunity came I took it.”
The Goffs continue to make the most of possibilities. They have two dog washes at Fast Eddie’s, and they’ve recently started selling treats made by Skowhegan’s own Maine Barkery in their dog-wash vending machines. They also give Maine Barkery treats away at fundraising events, particularly for the Kennebec Valley Humane Society, which is Fast Eddie’s neighbor in Augusta.
“We hand over our two dog washes to them for usually four hours on a Saturday, and they get all the proceeds,” Goff said. “They decide what they want to charge or do it by donation, and they wash the pets instead of people washing them themselves.”
These kind of fundraisers are a sign of the Goffs’ overall business philosophy.
“In our business we believe two things,” Goff said. “We believe that we want to put out the best product possible, the best touch-free automatic car wash. That’s one side of our business. The other side is that we want to give back to the community that gives us our livelihood.”
To that end, Goff was an Elks trustee for six years, and Jennifer is a state treasurer for the Daughters of Isabella. They also donate thousands of dollars’ worth of coupons every year for raffles, giveaways, and other charitable activities.
“We feel that if someone is willing to put in the work to raise the money, then we’re willing to give to that cause,” Goff explained. He added that they also enjoy letting customers vote on which causes will receive a donation. Recently Fast Eddie’s did a thousand-dollar giveaway to two charities based on customer votes.
“We gave [five hundred dollars] to the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center, and we gave five hundred to the Forgotten Felines of Maine. That was where the votes went. But we’ve also given to the Skowhegan library, the Somerset Humane Society, hospice—wherever we see a need, we try to help.”
Though they don’t do it for the recognition, the Goffs’ efforts garnered the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Impact Business Award last year.
They continue to impact their community in numerous ways—including, Goff was pleased to note, by providing full health insurance for their employees through Butler’s.
“We now pay one hundred percent of their health insurance, which is a big deal for us, for our employees. We’re proud of that.”
As most of today’s employees know, full insurance coverage has become a rare thing. Also rare is Goff himself, a Skowhegan native who has remained in a region that many young people leave for other cities and states.
“We like it here,” Goff said. “We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”