Originally created 11/27/03

Small business thanks



Small-business owners are thankful for the same things as everyone else: family, friends and good health. But they also acknowledge the little things that keep them in business ...

Joe Mullins, the owner of carpet cleaner ChemDry of Augusta, a gets nearly half his business from "accidents" caused by pets and children.

"KoolAid is what makes our business good," Mr. Mullins said. "Any color KoolAid stain is hard to get out. Pet stains are tough, too."

The business uses a carbonated cleaning system that foams dirt to the surface with a minimal amount of water. Most of Mr. Mullins' other regular customers are businesses, where carpets need cleaning from normal wear-and-tear.

Poor hygiene Dr. Julius Stephens isn't really thankful for people who don't take care of their teeth. He's concerned many children are "swishing Mountain Dew" and going to bed without brushing.

But the North Augusta dentist knows such habits keep him in business, especially around the holidays, when many people like their pearly whites to shine a little more brightly.

"A lot of students are home, insurance is running out, so we tend to have a very busy month," he said. "I'm thankful for the people who try to make up for their ills at the end of the year."

Pebbles Construction projects leave behind gravel that kicks up onto windshields and does damage. Auto glass repairman Charlie Williams, the owner of the shop that has carried his name for 16 years, sympathizes with his customers for the troubles they endure.

Especially this time of year, when many customers are the victims of car break-ins.

"People out shopping leave packages and bags in sight and criminals then bust a window and steal the goods. I always warn my customers against that," he said.

Deer collisions and cold weather also provide steady business.

"Little nicks in the windshield expand when we have a freeze and people use their defrosters. That leads to more work."

Soldiers Tattoo artist Marti French is thankful for the soldiers who fight to protect the country and supply half her tattoo business.

The owner of A Dermagraphic Production on Wrightsboro Road says she thinks of them as an extended part of the family.

"To me, it's like having a bunch of adopted sons," she said.

Should Fort Gordon close, she said, she might not be able to keep the business running.

"I would just like to say thanks for their tremendous contributions to our business," she said. "They make it worthwhile to get up in the morning and come to work."

Poor engineering Increased use of aluminum and plastics in auto engines has made cars run more efficiently, but has not made them more reliable, said mechanic Larry Beattie, the owner of Beattie's Auto Service on Boy Scout Road.

"You've got cast-iron parts bolted to aluminum parts," he said. "Cast iron and aluminum heat up and expand differently."

What else keeps him in business? The demise of the full-service gasoline station.

"People just gas up and go. They don't check their oil," he said. "We're seeing people bring in cars two, three quarts low."