Meet the Philadelphia business owner who keeps pro athletes riding in style

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Thursday, January 12, 2023
Meet the business owner who keeps pro athletes riding in style
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Derrick Copes has gone from washing his own car to washing the cars of the biggest names in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The car that Derrick Copes drives around town shows his official business name: "Best Hands Mobile Detailing."

But the streets gave him an entirely different name.

"(They call me) the Dopest Detailer," he said with a smile.

For Copes, the word "dope" means something great.

"The good meaning of dope is anything fresh, anything live," he said.

But back in the day, "dope" had a different meaning for him.

"I was known for being in the streets, being in the dope game," said the 50-year-old.

Dealing drugs got him arrested and locked up twice doing two separate stints that lasted five years. Prison, though, is where he had an awakening and the time to make a plan surrounding his passion.

SEE ALSO: VOTE: Which team would you least want the Philadelphia Eagles to play in the Divisional round?

"I got into detailing as a way to relieve some stress," he said of his first time detailing a car after his first stint in prison.

"The first time I detailed a car, I cleaned my personal car. It took like five hours," he said. "And it was the best five hours of my life. I got lost in what I was doing. I wasn't worried about anything. I wasn't stressed. I wasn't depressed."

Twenty-one years later he's gone from washing his own car to washing the cars of the biggest names in Philadelphia. It all happened by word of mouth when a local business owner connected him to the Eagles.

He now goes directly to many of the players, like the 76ers, to take care of their luxury cars.

"Tyrese Maxey," he said of one of his celebrity clients. "I do James Harden's car."

The list is even longer for the Eagles.

"I've been doing their cars since Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb... Jonathan Gannon, the defensive coordinator," Copes said. "I'm a diehard Eagles fan."

He's now responsible for keeping their rides clean as they pursue their Super Bowl dreams.

"One of my best clients up to date has to be Fletcher Cox," Copes said. "He's always motivating me to keep going, never give up."

Paying it forward-- just like he does with other ex-felons. Copes gives them free advice and mentorship to help them get where he is. He also founded the organization, "The Dopest Detailer." The organization provides support and includes a number of people who have also turned their lives around through the car detailing business.

"I'm not out here trying to hire people. I'm trying to inspire people to go higher," Copes said.

His encouragement is only matched by his innovation, proof of which can be found in the small car he drives around town that he personally engineered to be able to wash multiple cars.

"This is my invention," he said of the car that he has recreated and sold to other detailers. He also created his own line of detailing products which are all neatly held in the small car's trunk.

"Every time somebody sees that setup, my car or me doing a vehicle," he said, "they always use the word dope."

It's a familiar word, but this time, it comes with a different meaning: motivation.

"All of us were blessed with a God-given talent," Copes said. "Once you tap into what that talent is, you're unstoppable."