In 1969 Julius "Sonny" and Jacob "Jun" Essenburg opened the very first Quality Car Wash location here in Holland, MI. It wasn’t much to look at, compared to where we are today. But the brothers committed to the opportunity, devoting time, energy, and creativity to the process of washing cars and making improvements as they went.
was this commitment to quality that lead the car wash to flourish and develop
into the successful family of companies growing in Michigan, around the nation,
and across the world today.
is with sadness that we report that Sonny departed to his Lord Saturday, June 1st,
2019, leaving behind a lasting professional legacy and a large, loving family
to carry on his name.
his brother Jun, Sonny’s instincts for business were what made working with him
such a joy.
“We were able to often make something
out of nothing. There were so many different ideas we had for what to do and
where to go, and we would always run stuff by each other before we did
anything. We had our disagreements, sure, but we never stopped being the best
He had an eye for a deal. Better than I
did, and most people I knew. He was so good at sensing when someone was going
to sell and ready to sell, or going to buy and ready to buy. It was like a
God-given talent to read people so well.”
Lemmen, today the Director of Franchise Operations and a long-time employee and
partner with the Essenburg family, had this to share.
"The company arranged a fishing
charter on Lake Michigan… Sonny showed up at the dock to see us off with a bag
of the best ham sandwiches ever! It meant so much because Sonny always played
the bad cop while Jun played the good cop, but Sonny taking the time to see us
off at the dock, providing food for the team, showed a soft side and that he
really cared about us.
[He used to say] If you have work for
three people, put two on it. If you assign three, two will stand around and
talk to each other and the third will get frustrated. Work won’t get done. Put
two on it and they won’t have time to talk—they’ll be working hard to get it
What advice would Sonny have for us today?
Tom Essenburg, “Work
hard, save your money.”
Jun Essenburg, “Be frugal. Be Invested. Look for opportunities and never quit.”
Mike Lemmen, “Hard work and determination will help you achieve success, but once that success is achieved you need to work just as hard, never relax.”
Tommy Car Wash Systems