Life in the remote, mountainous area around Norman Wells might be harsh at times but people still cherish their creature comforts, like spic and span vehicles. 

Resident Bonnie Deschene is ready to respond to that niche and is launching Deschene Diamond Detailing to give vehicles “deep, thorough cleaning with specialized tools,” she told NNSL Media. 

“(It’s) things you can’t get with a wash rag, the nooks and crannies. (Detailing) also includes reconditioning (and) restoration of leathers and cloths and stain removal and basically making a vehicle feel newer,” she said. 

Bonnie Deschene poses inside her truck in Edmonton. The Norman Wells resident plans to launch her own interior detailing company by the summer. photo courtesy of Bonnie Deschene

“It happens a lot with old cars for show and shine (events). Prior to going to any kind of show and shine, owners will have the interiors and exteriors buffed up and shined and protected from the elements.”

Covid-19 pauses launch

Deschene was ready to open the business and begin working on customers’ vehicles last week, but the Covid-19 pandemic had its own plans. 

During the day, she works as a resource management officer with the GNWT in the Department of Lands. 

“I might be moved to Hay River for border patrol, because of that the soonest I could start (detailing vehicles) would be the summer.”

Deschene came up with the business idea as a way to keep herself busy in the Sahtu town. 

“In Norman Wells there’s not particularly a lot of outlets (for activities), so to keep myself busy and out of trouble I need to have something on the side. I don’t get into much trouble anyways, (but) instead of sitting at home and being unproductive I thought it would be good to do something that would keep me busy and provide a service to the community,” she said. “Initially it was just an idea for a few years, and then when I heard other people talk about the same idea I thought, ‘OK, time to get the ball rolling.’” 

Accident changed career path

Several years ago she worked as a mechanic in Edmonton and, among other responsibilities, she was in charge of maintaining and cleaning her company’s fleet of vehicles. 

But a car accident left her with injured wrists, restricting her ability to continue repairing automobiles. 

“In the mechanic world there is no light-duty work,” she said, so she moved on to a career with the government. 

High demand

Norman Wells is accessible by road only during the winter and with a small population of about 800 people, it’s not exactly buzzing with cars and trucks.

Still, Deschene said the desire for detailing services is relatively high in the community. 

“All of last year, any time I would work on my vehicle or other peoples’ vehicles, people would drive by and ask if I could do it for them,” she recalled. “Some were joking but some were serious. There’s quite a lot of demand for this.”

She plans to offer customers a service package menu ranked by degree of cleaning. The most basic service would be standard doors, dash and rug cleaning, for which she hopes to charge less than $100. 

An intermediate cleaning would consist of window and floor work while advanced service would focus on deep cleaning, pressure washing of floor matts and running boards, stain removal, and steam cleaning.

“I want anyone and their dog to be able to afford it, but I don’t want to be losing out on money based on the materials used,” she said. “If it grows enough to provide students with summer jobs that would be ideal, as well with a shop I would be able to run year round.”

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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