A Car Wash, an Oil Change, and a Tomato Plant
by Jordan DeWald
When Dustan Duncan purchased Burleson Wash and Lube in March of 2019, he knew he wanted to use his business to be a blessing to the Burleson area community. After a remodel in 2019 and adapting to and surviving the shutdown and changes brought on by 2020, Duncan remained held on to that commitment and has spent 2021 finding creative ways to give back to Burleson.
Duncan was born and raised in a small town. That upbringing shaped his affinity for being an active part of what was going on in his local community. He has the quintessential American dream story of an entrepreneur and small business owner. He started out with very little in respect to finances and worked his way up through corporate America in the car washing business. Duncan grew weary of that environment though. The impersonal nature of the way employees were treated was contrary to what he believed should happen in a business. Knowing the individual employee as a person and appreciating their contribution to the business’ success is what mattered, and still matters, to Duncan. He also had ideas and the desire to use the business as a platform to give back to the community, but he didn’t have the freedom to do that. One day Duncan had enough. He and his wife made the decision to break away from the security of the corporate world and embrace the fulfillment that comes with small business ownership. They purchased an existing car wash in Burleson in 2019 and rebranded it to Burleson Wash and Lube.
The new ownership of Burleson Wash and Lube made it essentially a brand new business. Beyond the rebranding, Duncan remodeled the business and has worked hard to build a positive reputation in the community. He finally had the opportunity to find out how he could shape the business to be a generous member of the community and has not given up on that long-time desire. Duncan has spent time identifying where the needs are and has thought creatively about how he could make long-term investments of help, as opposed to one-time gifts. One thing that kept coming up was the fact that 2020 and 2021 have brought a lot of challenges for people, particularly financial and food insecurity.
When remodeling Burleson Wash and Lube, Duncan had a decision to make about the outside aesthetic of the building. He considered the traditional landscaping of businesses with flowers and shrubs. A conversation with a friend sparked another idea though. His friend, who lives in Phoenix, AZ, told him about successfully growing vegetables in containers in the Arizona heat. So instead of investing money into decorative landscaping, Duncan decided to plant vegetables instead that he could then donate to Harvest House of Burleson. He researched container gardening and using repurposed wine barrels, he planted a variety of crops including onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. He has learned a lot through the early stages of the project and has plans for growing it over the years. This won’t be a one-time donation of harvested food. It will be a garden that will produce food that will benefit Burleson families for the years to come.
Duncan speaks of this project as a starting off point for more opportunities to provide for Harvest House. Just as he learned about container planting from a conversation with a friend, he hopes conversations about the Burleson Wash and Lube vegetable garden might encourage other businesses to start their own gardens as a way to provide fresh food to our community. He shared the thought- if he can do a little, and another person does a little, and then a few more people do a little, then the result is a lot.
Duncan has other plans to benefit the local community for the long term. He is currently in discussions with the athletic department of school district for long term donation opportunities through a partnership, so the kids continue to receive the benefit. He has dreams for a scholarship down the road, which has unlimited potential in the life changing difference that could make for a young person. He has lots of ideas, and even more importantly he has the desire.
The purchase of Burleson Wash and Lube has given Dustan Duncan what he wanted in this stage of his career, the chance to return the blessings he has experienced. He started out with very little and has never forgotten his roots. As a small business owner, he is looking forward to the future of giving generously to his community.