National News

Imagine a Better St. Louis: North City car wash giving youth job opportunities

Posted July 13

— A car wash is offering more than just a shiny set of wheels, it's creating an atmosphere of positivity and giving young people job opportunities.

Antwan Davis has been working at Queens and Kings Car Wash on Fair and Natural Bridge for the past six years.

"Me and my brother we been here the longest. We're one of the originals," said Davis.

Owner Paula Johnson calls her business a "Safe Haven" at the edge of Fairground Park and area plagued with poverty and violence.

"I took over in 2005 and I've been here ever since, looking out for the community I guess, getting them jobs and doing the best I can," said Johnson.

Since taking over the business from her ex-husband, Jones says she decided to give it a purpose which is employing young people in the community.

"I want them to use this as a stepping stone for their next life, to go on and do something else," said Johnson.

Johnson runs a tight ship, teaching her employees in a professional manner, meaning no cursing and most importantly no sagging.

"This is a no sag zone. Respect, always respect your elders," said Johnson.

A customer, Roberta Echols, has been bringing her car here for 10 years.

"When we were growing up, we'd go to the playgrounds and do arts and crafts," Echols said. "It was something for everyone to do now, they don't have anything to do. So it's great she's doing that."

Echols says she's happy local youth have a useful way to spend their time.

"What she's doing is just basically helping young black men out, young men period," said Echols.

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