COLUMBIA — In 2004, David Banks was building a business from the ground up, with $5,000 in his pocket and two employees.
Seven years later, his business is flourishing and has expanded to a more spacious location.
Banks came from a small farming community in Arkansas and moved to Columbia in 1999. After a stint as a truck driver and a job at a Break Time service station, he decided it was time to start his own business. Banks wanted to go into car detailing after watching his father do the same in Bearden, Ark.
In 2004, he opened Banks Detail Service at 1812 Dogwood Lane. The business moved to 600 Fay St. in 2006, and Banks' newest location is 1905 Vandiver Drive.
With each move, Banks had more space to work in. His first location was a mere 500 square feet, and his newest is nearly 5,000 square feet.
He now has eight employees, steady customers, and he does business with local dealerships such as Joe Machens Nissan and Ford.
In addition to detailing services such as cleaning and waxing car exteriors, Banks has expanded to cleaning upholstery and power washing driveways and windows of local homes and businesses.
His steady customer base helped him look outside the Columbia market to Jefferson City, where he recognized there was a need for car detailers. Banks currently does business with Mike Kehoe Ford dealership there.
Banks has also discovered the key to success when dealing with customers.
"It's our quality of work, good community service and a smile," he said.
Aside from his relationships with customers and business owners, he has also established connections with residents of Columbia.
Columbia College student Clarice Smart said she was walking down a street when she spotted a flier for Banks Detailing Services. At the time, she was taking a class called Principles of Business Management in which she chose to research Banks’ business for a class assignment on sole proprietorships.
Through her research, Smart became familiar with the inner workings of Banks' business and what kind of a person Banks is. She even met his wife, who she realized also attended Columbia College.
Smart said Banks' great business sense has contributed to his success. She also said that with the support of his customer base, he has grown as a businessman.
“He is dedicated to his business and likes to know he is making a difference for his customers,” she said.
While building his business, Banks said his biggest struggles were having good equipment and enough employees. He was turned down for a loan because of his credit, a roadblock he faced when trying to build a customer base and get more sophisticated equipment.
"There were times when I could have given up because of the challenges, but I don't give up that easily," Banks said. "I'm not that kind of person. If there's a will, there is a way."
Banks also had a few suggestions for those struggling to start up a business.
“Don’t give up even if doors get closed in your face. Keep going," he said. "For every door that closes, God can open another one.”