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Kim Johnson ReportingAuto detailing is one of the fastest growing businesses in the country right now. A few months ago a single mother and her children opened up one such business in South Salt Lake, only this family business has more than profit in mind.
Karen Mecham has lived the struggle single mothers have in providing for themselves and their children. She has devoted much of her career to helping other single moms.
Karen Mecham, Advanced Auto Salon: "I was in the Bringing Hope Foundation for about seven years, teaching single mothers how to be self reliant. And then I found I couldn't find any jobs for them because they had no experience."
In August of 2004 she and her children opened a family car detailing business called Advanced Auto Salon. Karen says because women know what clean looks like, detailing would be the perfect job opportunity for single women.
Karen Mecham, Advanced Auto Salon: " I have them explain to me how they clean a bathroom, because it's a whole lot the same. If they can give that to me step by step effectively, then I know they can be taught how to detail."
18-year old Yolanda works there to support her three-year old son.
Yolanda Ortega: "This is a good place. Come and get your cars clean."
She says getting on the job training and experience and earning a livable wage have given her confidence.
Yolanda Ortega: "I can accomplish what I want to accomplish. I've seen my boss, for one, and she's accomplished a lot. That shows that any single parent can accomplish what she wants to accomplish."
20-year old Jackie says she's grateful for the chance to get job experience, and to be able to support herself and her young son.
Jacqueline Gallegos: "I just took my son to the zoo for the first time and it felt so good just to call, see how much it was, and go, no problems having the money, and it was great."
And Karen hiring single women in what has been a traditionally male business has been great for business.
Karen Mecham, Advanced Auto Salon: "I deal with dealers. I deal with commercial contracts, some of the hotels, and they've all been very supportive. They love the idea that women are cleaning the cars because they think women know what clean looks like too."
Even though Advanced Auto Salon is only ten months old, Karen has big plans. Once the business is established, she wants to franchise the operation and give other women a chance to own their own business.
Karen Mecham was honored last night by the National association of Women Business Owners as their rising star in 2005.