I'm back, folks. Back on September 11, Nathan Salvador Curto was welcomed into the world, weighing 6lbs. 2 oz and he is a dream come true. I had a wonderful maternity leave, but am also glad to be back at work, doing my best to inform and educate all of you on the news and events surrounding this wonderful industry. I cannot believe 2012 is over and we all have to get used to writing 2013 and 13.

Looking ahead to the new year, I'm not sure whether its frowned upon to predict good things (some may say it causes a "jinx"), but i'm willing to risk it and declare right here and now that 2013 is going to be a "good" year for the carwashing and detailing industry,.That's right, everyone, I said it. I'm not saying it's going to be a huge turnaroud and everyone is going to have to turn down customers or anything, but I do think it will be better than the previous year.

How do I know? Well, it's not like I have a crystal ball, instead I have other good news sources.

For those of you who regularly get our eNews or visit our website, you may have noticed a story we ran on Dec. 7. We cited a recent Research and Markets report which stated, "After a couple of very difficult years, the carwash and auto detailing industry will experience a solid recovery in the next five."

According to a BusinessWire press release, the Research and Markets report tracks the "scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors."

So, let’s focus on those last two sentences for a minute and dare to be a little optimistic. I know it’s tough to be in the business world. You’re supposed to believe in your line of work and the work that you do, but at the same time, you have to be cautious. But, I’m asking all of you to pause for a minute and get a little excited, because things are looking up and it’s okay to be happy about that. Now, I’m not saying customers will be back to spending and buying they way they were before the economy took a nosedive. They will be wary, but their purse strings will start to loosen more and more as the year unfolds.

According to a Dec. 4 CNN report entitled, The economy: What to expect in 2013, “Consumer debt is shrinking. The balance sheets of American families look fairly healthy too. Consumers have been working down their levels of installment debt, and that, combined with low borrowing rates for houses and cars, has eased payment burdens significantly.”

Also, according to a USNews report entitled, Why the Economy Will Take Off—in 2013 that came out last July, “…there are some signs that businesses are preparing to start expanding payrolls more aggressively. The housing market is finally turning a corner, with virtually no help from Washington. And if policymakers can resolve a few huge issues, businesses may stop worrying about an economic crisis manufactured in Washington, and start spending more freely.”

Well, there you have it, some reliable sources and of course, if you don't agree, and want to keep plugging along as if your life and business depend on it, that's okay, too, but I don't think there's anything wrong with crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.