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The sun has set on another Car Care World Expo. I would like to personally thank everyone for stopping by our booth to introduce yourself and say “hi.” As I walked the showroom floor, I kept a close eye on the faces of the attendees and a close ear on what they had to say about their current status as an owner or manager. And, to the best of my knowledge, everyone seemed pretty “upbeat.” But, as it has been a trying couple of years, economically and weather wise, I also noticed there was a lot of skepticism from some hard-heartened individuals who had seen their share of tough breaks. A few attendees told me that things were looking up for them at their washes, but they would wait to celebrate until the upswing plateaued. That sort of aforementioned attitude is smart, especially as a business owner — don’t get overly zealous and prepare yourself for any game changes. But, I certainly think it’s okay to get a little excited about the fact that the economy has shifted, if even just a little bit.
That brings me to the keynote address given by Joe Theismann during the second day of the Expo. I have to admit that, other than the infamous Monday Night Football injury, I knew little else of the former NFL star. But, as I came to “know” him during his speech, it seemed as if there was a lot more to this man than a bad leg break that sidelined his career indefinitely. Theismann, as I came to know, is a man who looked bad news right in the face and said, “I will not let this hurt my spirit.” He took what was possibly the worst thing to happen to an athlete who was at a career high and turned it into something positive: Which was the chance to inspire others. To teach them how to overcome bad luck. And to show them, through example, how to adapt to any changes or challenges thrown their way. Theismann relayed to the attendees that every single one of us have all had some tough times in life. I myself broke bones in my right hand during a softball game in 2006. I am not in any way comparing my injury to Theismann’s, but it sure did hurt and it sure put a strain on everything I had to do, which was especially hard being an editor at the time. But, I tried to remain positive. And, even though I was typing with just my left hand, I still met every single deadline, tapping away with five less fingers.
Theismann likened his hardships to those faced by carwash owners and managers. The economy has absolutely walloped all of us. And the weather has been less than complimentary. And, even the rising gas prices are making many question if the customers will still be coming in for a wash. But, even though the game plan has and may continue to shift, and even though strategies need to be reconfigured, it is imperative to keep your game face on and stay in the game as well. Push ahead and know that between the various carwash associations and your fellow operators, there are teammates out there willing to help. And, most importantly, do not let any bump, big or small, make you think that your situation is hopeless. After all, a positive outlook met with an “I can take on anything you got” attitude will win every time.
Debra Gorgos, Editor