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May 2024 Vehicle Care RockStar: Destiny Baker

Baker is head of training, learning and development at Mammoth Holdings, one of the largest carwash platforms in the U.S.
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It takes guts to go against the grain and forge your own trail. Whether that’s moving out on your own to an unfamiliar place or completely changing career paths, you’re sure to face questions from those that love you. As it happens, Destiny Baker, head of training, learning and development at Mammoth Holdings, is familiar with taking the road less traveled — whether on horseback or in life. After up and moving alone to Kentucky to practice veterinary medicine, Baker soon took an unexpected turn into the carwash business. But now, she’s forging her destiny as the driving force behind Mammoth Holdings’ training regimen — in hopes of shaping the future of carwashing as well. 

To learn even more about Baker and her journey in carwashing, watch this video!

Good Horses Ain’t Cheap

Unless you were born into a carwashing family, few people really expect to go into that business — let alone stay there. Such was the case for Baker, whose passion for horses led her to study equine science in college. To continue that dream, Baker uprooted herself from her family home in Northwest Ohio in 2014 and moved down to horse country in southern Kentucky. There, she not only worked as a veterinary assistant, but she also bought her own horses and invested all her free time into caring for, showing, riding and breeding them.

In addition, Baker enjoys going horseback riding along trails and on camping trips with friends; she also takes part in ranch sorting competitions. In ranch sorting, cows are numbered, and the sorter’s job — along with a partner — is to get the cows to move into the center of the pen in a prescribed order in less than 60 seconds. It’s a task with a lot of moving parts, because cows have their own unpredictability, as does the sorter’s partner, to some extent. Even so, Baker’s skills speak for themselves; in 2022, she won a Ranch Sorting Reserve World Title.

Baker competes in ranch sorting.

But she found she was spending more money on her horses than she was making, so she started searching for better-paying management jobs — which she knew she was good at, since she had experience with such roles before college.

In 2016, she found a listing for an assistant manager at Finish Line Car Wash. Not only did it pay good money, but Baker was attracted to the fact that she would be spending time outside and not be stuck in an office all day. It turned out that the industry would offer her more than she could have dreamed of.  

Her Own Kind of Hat

“If you would have asked me a long time ago if I would have gotten into carwashing, I would have laughed. I would have never imagined that this is where I would be,” Baker asserts. Indeed, when she first told her parents about getting the carwash assistant manager role, they were concerned. Back home in Northwest Ohio at the time, tunnel carwashes didn’t exist. When her parents envisioned her working at a carwash, they imagined the old stereotype of a dingy, dirty self-serve. Baker had to assure them otherwise.

Of course, Baker still faced challenges as a fresh-faced carwasher. In fact, she found that her biggest impediment at the time was being a young female. “Nobody thinks women want to jump in tunnels and get dirty and fix stuff. I may not have the muscle to pick up a motor, but I can tell somebody where to [put] it and how to change it and what goes where. But that was the biggest hurdle — just judging a book by its cover,” Baker confesses.

Baker is a proponent of supporting women in the carwash industry.

Eventually, she proved her worth and the industry as a whole, she stresses, has become much more accepting of women since then. And now, eight years later, she’s still here — a fact that she attributes to the myriad possibilities in the industry.

“Being outgoing … I don’t like to stop at things. I always try to see what’s next, what’s out there, what can we do? And then the carwashing world was endless in its opportunities. There are roles coming into the industry now that we couldn’t have even imagined a need for eight years ago,” Baker relates.

Destiny Baker attends a woman-centric conference
Baker attends the Women in Carwash conference.

After learning the ropes as an assistant manager, Baker quickly moved into a site manager role. Afterwards, Finish Line created Unlimited Wash Club roles — an example of the kind of role that didn’t exist just a few years ago — and tapped Baker for one of the positions. Because it was such a new role, she and Finish Line navigated its duties together, trying to figure out what it was going to encompass. At the same time, she helped with training, adding yet another hat to her multi-faceted job.

Baker then moved on to become a district manager — and that was when Mammoth Holdings came into the picture, acquiring Finish Line in 2019 as one of the first brands in its portfolio. With the new company came a new hat for Baker.

Baker helped bring Finish Line Car Wash’s Unlimited Wash Club online.

“When Mammoth came in, I took all of our training and the Unlimited [Wash Club] and did it with all of Mammoth. So that kind of turned into an integrations role, but not really an integrations title because we weren’t big enough for that. So, it all kind of evolved into one. But now with the size that we are, the one [title] I got was ‘training.’ So, I went from about five [hats] to one,” Baker relays.

Take Me Home, Mammoth Road

The Mammoth Holdings acquisition model differs from that of many other consolidators in the industry.

“So Mammoth, when it started, they didn’t just buy and take over. ‘Here’s your brand, here’s your process. Your opinions don’t matter.’ They didn’t do that. They kept all of the owners. And that’s where it’s a little different because they still have opinions. They’re still very much involved. They’re called the Business Advisory Council now. So rather than one person being the flagship, leading it all … you have a bunch of different vantage points and views and years that fit in there, and they try to collaborate. And collaboration — it’s not easy sometimes when you play that high, right? There’s a lot of, ‘Hey, we did this, we did this, it worked.’ And there’s pride in a brand, but they all came together and did something that nobody else has done,” Baker explains.

Destiny Baker and the Mammoth team
Mammoth Holdings is comprised of brands that once operated independently and have now come together to share ideas.

To date, Mammoth Holdings has about 140 locations across the U.S., but the company has a much grander vision, simply called “The Road to 500.” The aim is to have 500 locations by the end of 2025. But when you grow that fast, you get growing pains, and as Baker notes, some aspects of the company started “cracking” a little as it acquired more and more brands. So, Mammoth Holdings reassessed it processes on how to achieve this mammoth scaling.

As Baker notes, the company didn’t get too specific with dictating specific details of a brand, such as which equipment to use, since so many of the stores were using different ones. But it was in the bigger operations picture that Mammoth got involved. With Baker’s help, the company started standardizing policies across all brands that laid out specific processes and procedures to follow regarding training, customer experience and more.

On the surface, ranch sorting and leadership development don’t seem to have much in common, but in Baker’s eyes, they do. Both require a firm attitude to guide her targets in the right direction. She’s set up some standard practices to keep customers coming back, fueling the growth of Mammoth Holdings. But growing pains aren’t easy, and the carwash industry is experiencing quite a bit of them. Stay tuned to learn about Baker’s views on expansion and more in the carwash industry.

According to Baker, training horses and people are similar in that no two learn the same way.
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