Staley’s owner of Custom Detailing was there before it was even called detailing


By Steve Gravelle, correspondent

CEDAR RAPIDS – Brock Staley is in his garage on a winter afternoon cleaning the hood of a Chevrolet SUV.

“You don’t want to do it with a pressure washer because there are too many electronics,” he said, applying cleaner and protectant to the black plastic covers and covers that make up much of the engine bay of a modern vehicle.

It was his living for barely a year, but Staley detailed cars before they called it “detailed”.

“We grew up with old cars, and Saturday mornings were always our time to be together,” remembers 48-year-old Staley. Much of that time in his childhood in Hudson was spent washing and waxing the Corvette that his father bought for $ 200 as a teenager.

“If we breathed on it, we were beaten,” he said.

Staley continued to wash and clean vehicles as a side gig before quitting his full-time job with an Internet and cable television company. Staley’s Custom Detailing was released last March.

“I quit on Thursday and we were suspended on Friday,” he said.

Turning Pro meant equipping your garage with plumbing and commercial electrical appliances as well as reputable cleaning tools such as steamers and washing machines. There is also a heater.

“I started ordering things online,” said Staley – before telling his wife Lisa about his plans. Luckily it worked.

“She said,” OK, I’m behind you, “he recalled.


Despite the improvements, Staley’s garage is probably not that different from yours, but is remarkably well stocked and organized.

Wall brackets hold heads and rods for the sprayer and steamer, and a roll cabinet contains special products for cleaning and preserving paint, chrome, plastic, and fabric or leather interiors.

There is an ozone generator – a device that uses high-voltage electricity to convert oxygen into ozone, removing internal odors from the interior of a car. This is especially useful if the owner of a vehicle is a smoker.

“It takes out any smells from the food. It takes the children’s diaper smells, ”said Staley.

Full detailing begins with thorough washing and drying. Staley follows with a clay bar, a resin blend that removes invisible contaminants and pollutants from the surface of paint, glass, fiberglass, and metal.

The clay removes these particles, leaving a smooth feel, and preparing the car for waxing or sealing.

After the clay comes a hybrid ceramic wax product to clean and maintain the finish of a car.

“It looks like it just got off the dealership,” said Staley.

When you order products directly from a retailer, it is easier to stay up to date.

“We’re talking about the new products,” said Staley.

He often consults the dealer before working on a vintage or classic car – too much polishing can “burn” through older paintwork to bare metal.

“You have to have a color display to tell you how much you have left,” said Staley. “It doesn’t take much to blow away. You can ruin someone’s car if you don’t know what you’re doing. “


The interiors are vacuumed thoroughly and plastic and leather surfaces become cleaner and more protective. Staley has gone so far as to remove seats and carpets from particularly messy vehicles.

What’s the worst thing a customer can throw at him?

“Children’s chewing gum and colored pencils,” said Staley. “Crayons are the worst. All you do is spread it when you try to melt it. “

Instead, Staley cut the handle off a spoon to use as a scraper to carefully lift the smeared crayon out of the carpet.

“It’s just one of the tricks you learn by yourself,” he said.

Alloy rims collect brake dust and road dirt.

“The alloys take 40, 50 minutes per wheel,” said Staley. “It’s nothing but Q-tips and rags.”

A full detail job is time consuming, but that fits Staley’s demanding nature.

“It’s boring I think,” he said. “If you like to work alone this is a good place.”

The Staley treatment disrupted a customer’s plan to trade her jeep.

She said, ‘This looks brand new. I’ll keep this one, ”he said.

Despite – or because of – the August 10 pandemic and derecho, Staley was encouraged by his first year as a full-time independent business owner. The August Derecho cut Staley’s electricity for a week while it and its neighbors provided each other with backyard cookouts.

It’s a close neighborhood: in 2016, Staley and Ken Blazek were hailed as “citizen heroes” at the University of Iowa-Nebraska University soccer game for rescuing another neighbor after their home exploded from a gas leak.


In the weeks following the derecho, Staley saw vehicles that had been repaired but had to be cleaned thoroughly to remove broken glass and other debris.

“I was busy all year until the first of the year,” he said. “I always wanted to be my own boss.”

In fact, Staley was busy all winter blasting road salt off the chassis of a vehicle with a long-handled wand on rollers.

“The guys who are currently closed, I get a lot from their business,” he said.

If you know of a corridor business that could add a fascinating “My Business” feature, let us know at

At a glance

• Owner: Brock Staley

• Companies: Staley’s custom detailing

• Address: 1357 20th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

• Telephone: (319) 389-9011

• Website:

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