LEWISTON — They don’t drive flashy cars or wear designer jewelry. In fact, one drives an early model Ford Focus and his “designer” clothing consists of matching gray hoodies emblazoned with the logo of his company, Black Diamond Detailing.
A year ago, Abdinur Mohamed and Abdirahman Saeed sat in a small office in Auburn, discussing business ideas. For an hour they say they talked about opening a day care center, a juice company and a long list of business ideas they could start. Suddenly, it just clicked, Mohamed said, snapping his fingers.
“I was like, my car is dirty,” he recounted, “how much can we charge people for detailing?” So, they began to buy everything, investing their money. At the end of January, the decision was made. “We thought, let’s take our first step,” Mohamed said, “let’s detail people’s cars.”
Teamwork is the unofficial mantra of the two young African-American entrepreneurs, who have made the dirt and grime that accumulates in almost every car in Maine their business.
Which begs the question, how dirty are the cars they clean?
“It’s not as crazy as you think,” Saeed said. “You’d be surprised if you get in your car and pick up the trash here and there and it will look so much cleaner than before.”
True, but some of the cars on his social media website look pretty rough at first.
The couple started out as a mobile detailing business, going from house to house, on the streets, in businesses, just about anywhere. Customers were enthusiastic and delighted with the convenience of the mobile concept – they would come to you. In May 2022, they entered the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce “Top Gun” competition, gaining a bit more notoriety.
In October, they announced a brief hiatus as they prepared the next step in their progression by taking the plunge and leasing a physical location at 409 Sabattus St. Last week, they announced the addition of a valet service to make pickup and delivery easier. vehicular
It was definitely an on-the-job training experience for both of them, who didn’t know much about the details at first.
“We watched a lot of videos, we just learned from the mistakes we made,” Saeed explained. “Trying new chemicals, testing tools to see what works and what doesn’t. When you do it a lot, you just know what works and what doesn’t. We just adapt!”
Adapt that they have, upgrading to some special equipment to do a better job. They bought an exhaust fan to help remove stains and a steamer, which helps with the nooks and crannies in people’s cars, and they bought some boar-hair brushes to help clean surfaces like dashboards.
They’ve also grown their team, adding a marketing person who handles their website and social media. Abdurahman Saeed calls him a great addition to the team. They have added a few others to help run the seven day a week operation.
“I just learned that in business, you don’t have to be detailed, but any business, you can’t do it alone,” Saeed said. “You have to have a good team behind you, that you can bounce ideas off of, because at the end of the day, you can’t get to the top alone.”
Saeed, 22, is the exciting spark of the team who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in Lewiston, graduating from Lewiston High School and transferring to Central Maine Community College for two years. Mohamed, at 23, is the most thoughtful of the team. He was born and raised in Lewiston and attended Roxbury Community College in Boston, where she took two years of business management courses.
Mohamed said that a year later, the business has changed its character. He said that he is more patient than before and that he sees life in a different and more positive way. “After I started this business, you know, I’m like everything could change. I’m detailing a car, it looked bad, I clean it (and) it just looks good! I’m like, this is how my character could change, you know?
His father, who has moved abroad, used to own a small variety store and butcher shop in Lewiston. He returned to Lewiston last week and stopped by to see the new store. “He said, ‘You know you learned a lot from me because when you were little you listened when I told you things.’ He was proud ”.
Business is obviously going well.
“This is a great community, I can’t lie,” Abdirahman said. “From the day we started until now, there has been nothing but support. We have not received negative comments from anyone. If anything, we’ve gotten useful feedback from people to help us grow and help us improve our business and it’s really great.”
Mohamed and Saeed work together, probably without even thinking about it, and they are fast and thorough. Their minds are constantly thinking about what’s next. Maybe get into the used car business?
“Yes, that is possible,” Mohamed said. “I was also thinking that we could have this in any other state. We want, like in the near future, to have franchises like take them to all other states. That is one of our goals!”
Black Diamond Detailing is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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