Business profile: Shahram Talaei

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003

Title and company: Owner, Rainforest Detailing

Services: Rainforest Detailing provides thorough cleaning services for cars.

"Detailing a car is cleaning a car to perfection," Talaei said. "Even gauges, washing carpet - we just make the car brand new."

The price for the cleaning depends on the condition of the car, but costs at the most $170, Talaei said. He has cleaned cars that were like new, and others that hadn't been cleaned in years.

"Some of them are very dirty because of Juneau weather," he said.

Because it's frequently raining, Juneau car owners forget to wash their cars, Talaei said. Those cars take longer to clean. Most days, Talaei and his one employee can clean eight cars a day.

Talaei uses an industrial vacuum that he bought used in Juneau, and an extractor for washing carpet. He uses the Snap-on brand of tools and cleaning supplies.

"I use the best products," he said.

Talaei has done a little advertising for his business, but he mostly relies on word of mouth.

"I did a couple of good jobs and now they come looking for me," he said.

Biographical information: Talaei was born and raised in Iran, and earned a degree there in construction. When he graduated, he started a business in Iran making freezer cases.

He came to the United States as a refugee. He lived in Charleston, S.C., learned English and took a class in car detailing before moving to Juneau after visiting a friend here three years ago.

"I was trying different weather," he said.

In Juneau, Talaei worked for Foreign Auto for two years and for Alaska Glacier Seafood for one year before opening Rainforest Detailing.

"I was looking for a business that the town needed," he said. "People were complaining about car wash, and I'd been in the car business with a mechanic shop for a long time."

Family: Talaei's family is in Iran and in the Washington, D.C., area. He plans to visit his family next month - it will be the first time since he moved here that he will see them.

Quotable: "I came to America as an immigrant, to try a new life," he said. "... In South Carolina I was just trying to learn some English. Just trying to learn as much as I could. But I love Juneau."

Contact information: Rainforest Detailing is located behind the Mendenhall Valley Tesoro, in a building owned by Foreign Auto. The number for the shop is 796-2022.

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