Creating an in-person community for car lovers

NRF Member Spotlight: Detail Garage/Chemical Guys

As consumers return to in-person shopping, they’re looking for bricks-and-mortar stores to provide an elevated experience. Physical retail stores are continuing to attract consumers, and 72 percent of U.S. retail sales will occur in bricks-and-mortar stores in 2024, according to research from Forrester.

NRF member Detail Garage/Chemical Guys has created a destination for consumers in the retail car industry, offering car care, professional auto detailing supplies, detailing equipment, car care accessories and training. We connected with John Mansfield, chief revenue officer of Detail Garage/Chemical Guys, to learn more about how it created a community for consumers and tackled supply chain challenges.

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Detail Garage has 80+ locations. Where do you see the future of bricks-and-mortar retail headed? What experiences are unique to shopping at Detail Garage?

While most auto care stores have a generic, impersonal vibe and do not adequately capitalize on the enthusiasm that many people have about caring for their cars, we envisioned a spacious location that welcomed customers with a relaxed atmosphere where car enthusiasts of all ages could comfortably hang out, test new products and ask the opinion of helpful, knowledgeable, staff. These are elements of creating an experiential destination that every retailer will endeavor to craft in their own unique way if they want to have a place in the future of retail.

With many partnerships and continuous growth and expansion across the country (and globally), how have disruptions in the supply chain impacted Detail Garage? How has the business adapted?

It is safe to say that almost every retailer has felt the pain of global supply chain disruption over the past two years. And whether your pain point has been found in finding containers to import goods from overseas or ensuring on-time and intact delivery via domestic LTL carriers, having a firm grasp on end-to-end logistics solutions has probably never been appreciated more within retail organizations. Thankfully we already had an amazing domestic partner in place to support our TL and LTL needs, but early in the pandemic we recognized there was a clear need to identify co-op solutions to ensure our international freight needs did not get overlooked in a highly competitive market.

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What types of community-building initiatives have Detail Garage implemented? How has this changed local communities?

We believe that the people who work in our stores and the customers who visit make the brand great. We host events at every location that bring the local car community together. And we offer monthly classes for everyone, whether they are new to detailing or are a seasoned car enthusiast looking to take their skills to the next level. These are foundational elements of how Detail Garage focuses on creating local roots at each of our stores.

As part of those roots, our stores regularly find local charities to support. At the onset of COVID-19, Detail Garage was able to accelerate the development of disinfecting and sanitizing products, with the first products coming off the line donated to first responders including police and fire departments, hospitals and schools.

What is your company's favorite thing about being an NRF member?

Building shared communities of passion is a fundamental part of Detail Garage culture. Being part of NRF gives us the opportunity to be part of this community by connecting and learning from some of the best minds in retail.

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