When life threw Kirkland Blake a curveball he reached out over the plate and smacked it over the fence. Determined to be an independent businessman, Kirkland took over an oil and lube business in February 2020. One month in, COVID-19 shut him down so he had to get creative. “That's how the idea of cleaning cars started, ” Kirkland says. "This business was actually started out of nowhere. I started the ‘you name it we clean it’ motto as I would clean literally anything. It was out of necessity to feed my family and pay my bills. People saw me doing that and would say, ‘Do you mind doing my car, too?’ That turned into, ‘I have a couple of friends who want their cars cleaned, do you mind?’”

Kirkland says he started a Facebook page. Eventually, people started sharing his posts and he began advertising. With so many people requesting their vehicle to be cleaned, Kirkland decided to open a full-time car detailing shop. “Because of the oil and lube business, I wasn't in the best financial situation. I am very passionate about my business because it's my life, I created it. I have tried being a part of another person’s business and it's just not the same. As the captain, I sink or float with this ship!” At the time, Kirkland was driving from London to Sarnia every day to clean cars. “Some days were slow at the start, but once word started getting around about the good job I was doing, people started supporting us.”

Kirkland, who is 26 years old, has two children and has since moved from London to Sarnia. While he is thrilled that his current business is booming, he has not forgotten his roots. “I grew up in Jamaica and I knew how to make things happen,” Kirkland says. He made the decision to explore opportunities in Canada after he finished high school in 2011 at age 16. “You need to go to places where you can make it faster. I started cleaning couches and carpets with an inexpensive vacuum and a little small cleaner. When I started getting bigger jobs, I did research online for good used equipment. Now I can buy new equipment. You have to make use of what is available to you.”

Kirkland has assembled a great team. “I’m the leader and the team buys into the culture that I created. We all aspire to do nothing but the best to satisfy our customers.” Kirkland worked in the sales and services industry before he decided to become an entrepreneur. “The biggest thing with Blake's Detailing is I made it from scratch, I didn't get any funding and worked hard every day. We have great customer service and word quickly spread. Sarnia-Lambton really believes in supporting local.”

Kirkland says he is thrilled about his business’s success. “Most people need a script to get their message across,” Kirkland says. “Not me. I can tell this story all day long. It’s my life and my passion.”