Local, serial entrepreneur Von Wellington, has an array of interests including art, photography, cars, and his community. It was the love for cars that lead Wellington to open River District Auto Spa (RDASpa). “It originated in 2016. RDASpa wanted to provide a unique old-school hand wash for patrons to help better serve and maintain their vehicle’s paint over years,” Wellington said.
Since inception, a car wash at RDASpa has grown from a basic hand wash to a work of art. “The business went from a small local ‘mom and pop shop’ to a nationally recognized IDA Certified / Dr. Beasley’s Authorized Training Center and full detailing shop. We pride ourselves as the ceramic coating headquarters of Southern Virginia.” Car owners come from all over Virginia and North Carolina to have their vehicles detailed.
Wellington views the act of detailing as art. “It’s all about appearance and reconditioning, restoring, transforming, and enhancing one’s investment. The art form of auto detailing isn’t about using expensive products on cars. It’s about knowing and understanding the detailing procedure and process, the chemical abrasive and adhesion breakdown of a product, and how it works on the vehicle,” he said.
Wellington has a special eye for restoring a car’s natural glow. “At first sight of a vehicle, I will automatically, in minutes, process what is needed and what is to be done to make the car ‘pop’ along with a thorough prep and stellar detail.”
His passion for restoring a vehicle’s appearance to a new car form led to the creation of an “Intro to Detailing” workshop. The comprehensive course is divided into two days. “Day one is split between theory and auto detailing education and hands on. Day two is strictly hands on, applying what task is at hand. Detailers learn about start-up marketing, bay set-up, labor versus revenue, skills and time, tools, supplies and equipment,” he added.
Another area of vehicle maintenance is ceramic coating. It’s a technology that is revolutionizing the detail industry. Wellington added, “Essentially, a ceramic coating is a second layer of skin on the surface of your car. It utilizes nanotechnology, which are tiny particles that come together to form a very thin and transparent layer that is completely invisible to the naked eye. This layer seals the pores on your car’s paint, producing superior hydrophobic properties, as well as being more resistant to ultraviolet rays, scratches, bugs, bird poop, contaminants, chemicals, and extreme heat. The ceramic coat forms a semi-permanent bond with the surface of your vehicle, meaning that it will not wash away or break down over a short period of time.”
When he isn’t bringing a car’s beauty back to life, Wellington is deeply involved in the community. As a past recipient of Showcase Magazine’s Community Strong Person of the Year, he incorporates the community into his business ventures. Wellington said, “RDASpa feeds and has fed the first responders, which started on the first wave of the Covid hit. We work closely with our neighbor Norma’s Place and the House of Hope, hiring several homeless men, giving them an opportunity to learn a vocational trade as well as offering them housing placement.”
Wellington sees his art for detailing growing in the future. He hopes to expand into other cities with the RDASpa brand. Above all, Wellington plans to continue educating about and teaching the skill of detailing. This will include more extensive workshops. And as always, he will continue to shine a positive light on the community.