Car washes catching up on business after harsh winter - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Car washes catching up on business after harsh winter

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The warm, dry spring has the staff at Plaza Car Wash in Hixson working hard after a bleak winter. Rick Crabtree co-owns the business with his wife, Janet. He says their bottom line depends so much on the weather and they're now playing catch up.

"In January we were closed 14 days," recalls Crabtree. "Some days it was just too cold to open. Others it rained or snowed."

The place looked like a ghost town, but plenty of nice weather lately has people in the mood to see their vehicles sparkle, sending the Crabtrees on their way to recuperating some of their losses.

"It's all about the sunshine," says Crabtree.
Crabtree is also one of a select group of people happy to see the pollen. It's why regular customer Pat Fortenberry, as well as many others, came by Thursday.

"In the spring time we have a lot of birds, so that's a big problem. But the pollen is really the big problem," says Fortenberry. It covers everything quickly and constantly.

"My girlfriend and I went out to eat with some friends the other day and that was the topic of conversation was how everybody's car was yellow," add Fortenberry, laughing.

Crabtree isn't complaining. While he and Janet have had to cut back on personal spending to keep the business from going under, they're happy to see the water spraying and the suds lathering again.

"I've had to add some more employees because of it," explains Crabtree. "So it's picked up quite a bit since the sun's been shining."

Fortenberry has noticed the difference, too.

"Boy, it's picked up lately," says Fortenberry. "I've been sitting here for a while."

She's says it's worth the wait. She lives at an apartment complex with no access to a hose to wash her car herself. She'd be doing it so often because of the persistent pollen. So even if she could wash her car herself right now, Fortenberry says she'd spend the extra few bucks occasionally to use the car wash anyway.

Crabtree is counting on the positive trend to continue through spring, and hoping for a summer that turns out less rainy than last year's.

"Been tough. Hopefully it's on the uphill," says Crabtree.
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