Kakaako homeless man is the King of Clean - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kakaako homeless man is the King of Clean

Douglas King Douglas King
Ron Cullen Ron Cullen

By Teri Okita – bio | email

KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the past three months, Hawaii News Now has been documenting the journey of a homeless man named Douglas King. We first met King at the tent city in Kakaako - when he impressed us all by alphabetically rattling off every country around the globe. Now that authorities have swept through Kakaako - and all the homeless have moved out - we wanted to know how King has fared.

When you're homeless, a rainy day can be difficult. But when you're also running a carwash company, it can be a downright disaster.

"When it rains, and I don't wash a car in four days, I struggle greatly, financially," says King.

49 year old King officially launched "King Shine Carwash and Wax" two months ago - around the same time authorities ordered him and other homeless to abandon Kakaako's tent city. King got permission to wash cars in a nearby parking lot at Exotic Nights adult club – since, obviously, not much goes on there by day.

"I'm trying NOT to be homeless. That's why I started this business. I'm trying to be successful, and I'm trying to make this business happen so that I can get a home," says King.

His company is legit. With help from friends in the community, he obtained the proper business licenses and advertises on Craig's List. 20 bucks gets you a clean car, then King gives his homeless assistants a 30 percent cut.

I asked one of his assistants, Ron Cullen, "Do you want to work?" Cullen replied, "Oh yeah. That's all I want to do right now. That's going to change everything."

On an average, sunny day, the crew washes about 10 vehicles - mostly from repeat customers. The proceeds have allowed King to rent a large storage unit - which he uses as an office. But, after paying for that storage, plus supplies and a phone, he still doesn't make enough for rent.

"It's rough, Teri. Last night, I slept in an abandoned van. I'm still homeless," King told me. In the few times that we've interviewed King, he's never asked our crew for a hand-out, but he is hoping a thriving carwash business can help him finally get a hand-"up".

In his perfect "announcer voice", he says, "Nothing shines like King Shine! Why settle for less when you can have the best at King Shine Carwash and Wax?!"

You can find King Shine Carwash and Wax on Halekauwila street - just off Ward Avenue in Kakaako.

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