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Rising Tide Car Wash

A car wash in Parkland in northwest Broward County earned attention for its workforce when it opened in April: 35 employees have autism. John D’Eri and his son, Tom, founded Rising Tide Car Wash to create a place where John’s son and Tom’s brother, Andrew D’Eri, who has autism, could work and achieve independence. But would the family do well by doing good? John D’Eri says the business -- prices range from $3 for a basic wash to $45 for a “super clean” and up to $95 for detailing -- increased its car count every month from April through June, even with 15 rain days in May and 18 in June. He expects to reach break even in the dry season, which starts in October, and to realize a 10% to 15% return on his investment the first year. Low attrition among the staff, a rarity in car wash businesses, helps. “We have been saying that we believe individuals with autism can be your best employees,” says Tom D’Eri. “Now that we’ve been in operation for a few months, we’re really seeing that.”