STEPHEN HEMELT — Local car wash teams with Golden Triangle Polymers to wash county’s vehicles for free

Published 12:04 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

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Steven Hilliard started with his store as a regular lube technician changing oil back in 2005.

“I’ve been around doing a lot of this kind of work and worked my way all the way to property manager over the entire store here,” he said. “I am from this area and just try to take care of everybody around here.”

Hilliard told me a little about his story this week when discussing a unique promotion coming soon to Grand Slam Car Wash & Lube in Orange.

It seems officials with Golden Triangle Polymers, the new $8 billion plant under construction across from Orange County Airport, was hearing concerns from local residents and motorists about the preponderance of dust in the area.

“They asked if (the Orange chamber) had anybody in town that can handle washing up some cars for them because they were stirring up a lot of dirt and dust over there on their job site on Highway 87,” Hilliard said.

Enter Grand Slam Car Wash, which joined Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce under the direction of a new franchise owner.

“We went ahead and told them we could,” Hilliard said. “They said they want car washes on the first Friday of every month, exterior washes to clean up anybody’s car in the community who could be affected by their possible expansion.”

Starting in May, anyone can receive a free base hit car wash on the first Friday of the month at Grand Slam Car Wash & Lube, 2917 MacArthur Drive.

Hilliard calls the promotion exciting, noting it is his first time working on such a venture.

“Nobody has ever really reached out from any other business like that,” he said. “We welcome it. We are a single store owned by one owner and we’re trying to take care of everybody in the community. We offer anybody and everybody in the community to give us a try in those days and see if they like us.”

The opportunity makes the team feel great, according to Hilliard.

“It gives you that sense of accomplishment that everything you are doing to put in work actually pays off,” he said. “It’s a great feeling all the way around.”

Communications Lead Heather Betancourth said Golden Triangle Polymers has 13 water trucks out everyday spraying more than a million gallons of water a week and operates four street sweepers sweeping public roads around the project site everyday.

The site is located on approximately 1,600 acres, and current work includes plenty of infrastructure installation, and company officials note it’s going to be awhile until there is concrete poured.

Without concrete and landscaping in place, the threat for dusting remains.

Those facts make offering free car washes once a month a fairly easy call, according to Betancourth.

“I plan on just doing it for the foreseeable future,” she said. “Right now, they are laying on the infrastructure. It’s going to be a dirt site for awhile. I don’t see us stopping Free Wash Friday anytime soon. I look forward to seeing if it is utilized and how people react to it. The first one is going to be May 5.”

Golden Triangle Polymers held a groundbreaking in March celebrating a planned facility that serves as a joint venture between Chevron Phillips Chemical and Qatar Energy.

Startup is expected to occur in 2026, with the Marlex® polyethylene-producing plant employing more than 500 full-time workers.

Stephen Hemelt is the publisher at Orange Newsmedia, which produces the Orange Leader, and Orange Living Magazine. He can be reached at