Car Wash - Summer 2015 - (Page 46)
on a mUggY May afternoon in northeastern New Jersey, customers line up and
wait for up to 20 minutes in a small, jampacked store to speak with Peter Schaffer.
He's the key to getting their motorcycles
back on the road after a long, idle winter.
Schaffer, a 60-something, mustached
man with a deep, confident voice and a
quick smile, is co-owner of Circle Cycle
in Ridgefield, a longtime fixture in this
densely populated, traffic-snarled suburb
just west of New York City. He and a crew
of four have been repairing motorcycles
and selling parts and accessories for more
than three decades, making him a walking
encyclopedia of all things motorcycle and
earning him the trust of his customers.
Here, the Great Recession is in the
rearview mirror. The lean years - when
big-ticket discretionary purchases such as
motorcycles were rarely made, and when
high-markup retail items such as leather
boots and jackets sat on the shelf undisturbed and worn-out tires were asked to
make it through one more riding season
- are over. Cautious optimism is in the air.
"As soon as the weather gets nice, everybody wants their bike back on the road,
and we get hit all at once," Schaffer said.
"Things get pretty crazy around here, especially on Saturdays. I'm actually looking
for another certified mechanic to start part
time. Actually, we probably could use him
full time as long as he really knows what
he's doing. It'll be like this through the
summer because everybody wants to take
their bike down the shore. Hopefully, this
will be one of our best years in a while."
For small businesses like Circle Cycle,
the recent headlines about the economy
have been encouraging. U.S. employers
added 223,000 jobs in April, according
to the Labor Department, marking 62
consecutive months of private-sector job
growth. The unemployment rate decreased
to 5.4 percent, down from 10 percent at
the height of the Great Recession in 2009.
Though wages have stayed flat, consumers were feeling better about their purchasing power as the economy improved. The
New York-based Conference Board private
research group said its index of consumer
confidence unexpectedly decreased to 95.2
in April from 101.4 in March, but that was
still far higher than the 53.7 average for the
18-month recession that ended in June
And corporate America has been celebrating record profits, with the Dow Jones
Industrial Average nearing its March 2
record of 18,288.63 for much of the spring.
"The data we're seeing is largely positive," said Dr. Eric Liguori, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the University
of Tampa and a vice president at the
U.S. Association of Small Business and
Entrepreneurship, a group of academics
that supports small businesses through
research and education.
"According to recent data, roughly 75
percent of small business owners are confident that the economy is going to be strong
for the next 12 months, so the outlook is
pretty good. Growth has been incremental
the moneY trail
The private sector has added 12.3 million jobs over the past four years, and small
businesses have accounted for about twothirds of those gains, according to Beth L.
Goldberg, New York District director for
the U.S. Small Business Administration,
which provides counseling, credit and
federal contracting for small businesses.
In the wake of the financial crisis, many
banks severely tightened their standards
for small-business loans, making it difficult for small businesses to get off the
ground or expand. The Small Business
Administration can offer guarantees on
these loans and education for small business owners to give them a greater chance
According to the latest data from the
Small Business Administration, almost 66
percent of small businesses will survive
their first two years, Goldberg said, and
among those that fail, a leading cause is
a lack of business experience among the
principals, not a challenging economic climate. The four-year survival rate is between
55 percent and 60 percent, Goldberg said.
"Small businesses like car washes have
been the engine of this recovery," she said.
"When the recession hit and a lot of people
lost their jobs, they had to look at the alternatives that were available to them, and
many of them said, 'I've got an idea, and
I'm going to go for it.' That's the American
spirit, the American dream."
wage wars aheaD
Despite the recent robust growth, small
businesses still face several challenges,
including the possible raising of the federal minimum wage and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, said
Raymond J. Keating, chief economist at
the Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Council, which represents about 100,000
small-business members and advocates for
free-market public policy in Washington.
The federal minimum wage has been
$7.25 an hour since 2009, and the push
by President Obama and congressional
Democrats to raise it to $10.10 or above
has met stiff resistance from congressional
Republicans in the majority and business
leaders. But 29 states and the District of
Columbia currently have minimum wages
a resUrgent economY has small
bUsinesses PicKing UP steam
By nick Sohn
car wash magazine | www.carwaSh.org |
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Car Wash - Summer 2015
Letter From the Ica
By the Numbers
Chip and Pi N Confusion?
New Techniques for Reducing the Ever-Increasing Costs of Health Care
The Car Wash Show 2015
Planning for Disaster
What’s It Really Worth?
Wearing Too Many Hats?
Take a Tour
The Orgin of the Exterior Car Wash
Blast From the Past
Index of Advertisers
Focus on the Member
Car Wash - Summer 2015