February 25, 2003 at 3:40 AM CST - Updated June 21 at 10:32 AM
Snow Brings Profit to Some Heartland Businesses By: Kate Scott
(Cape Girardeau, MO)--By now, most people in the Heartland are groaning at the mention of another snowflake. But believe it or not, workers at some Heartland offices are happy to see all the snow! "We like it," smiles James Auto Body Manager John Haman. "I hate to wish any bad luck on anybody, but we're here to repair the cars if they do get damaged."
As Haman knows well, auto repair shops make a lot of money when folks get into frequent fender benders on the slick streets. He pointed out a few of the dented fenders at his lot on Monday afternoon. "This car was brought in this morning," he gestured to a white sedan with a crumpled trunk. "It was rear-ended by another car due to the weather." In fact, Haman says weather was the culprit in the five "bang-up" jobs that were towed to the lot on Monday morning. "This little Dodge over here, a snowplow got it," Haman pointed out. "But most of them, they either slide in a ditch or go into the median. Most of them mess up the alignment and suspension."
That's repair work that can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. And when you multiply those numbers by all the cars that are sliding off the road this winter, you figure that's a lot of profit!
As you might expect, once those vehicles end up in the repair shop, their owners need something else to drive. That's why business is also booming at rental car companies, like Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Cape Girardeau. "We've seen somewhere between a fifteen and twenty percent increase in business," says Manager Tim Backus. "The phones have been really steady." When the phones ring, it usually means another sales ticket to write up, and another customer to put back on the road. It also means the office can get awfully hectic, but you won't hear those enterprising workers complaining. "It's been a challenge for us," Backus smiles. "But we are handling the challenge and it's keeping us very busy right now."
All the extra business is also backing up workloads at many car repair shops. Haman says if you do have a fender bender, it's probably going to take a little longer than usual to get it fixed.