The last two years has not been easy for Clearwater's downtown businesses located near the construction on Myrtle Avenue.
It has been especially hard for a car detailing shop, such as the one owned by Eric Voorheis.
"It's kind of difficult to entice someone to come in and have their car cleaned when your shop is surrounded by dirt and dust," explained Voorheis, who opened his shop in May of 2004, two weeks before the Myrtle Avenue construction started.
Still, those who work and frequent downtown have become loyal customers and he promises that he and his shop are here to stay.
Voorheis visited his grandparents in Florida while growing up in Michigan, and knew he wanted to move here after graduating from high school.
"I had my own car and boat detailing service during the summer up north (he washed and waxed his first car at age 12) and I knew I could make better money if I moved south and could work all year," he said.
He opened Magicar Detailing Service in Clearwater in 1989, which had employed 70 detailers when he sold it in 1999.
Voorheis has plans, with partner Jared Repka, to open a second Eric's Auto Salon in
St. Petersburg and would eventually like to open a salon in Sarasota. But first he'd like to enjoy his downtown Clearwater location.
"After the construction on Myrtle ends," he says, I just want to sit back and watch the traffic flow."
Business has already started to pick up and Eric imagines that "we'll be pretty busy once the dust settles." The area of Myrtle between Cleveland and Court Street in front of Eric's Auto Salon is due to be completed this week.
Eric's Auto Salon has a menu of detailing services including washing, waxing, interior detailing, compounding and paintless dent removal. The most popular selection is the $9.95 exterior hand wash special.
Voorheis says, "We're proud that we don't use brushes to clean our cars."
Monday is Ladies' Day, Tuesday is Senior Citizens' Day and Wednesday is Men's Day. These groups receive a $5 discount off the $24.95 full service wash on their selected day.
Regular clients of the Salon are welcome to become "Club Members" which allow them to pre-purchase detailing services at a reduced cost.
Voorheis plans to enlarge the salon's window-tinting service and add a larger, more comfortable client waiting area. "We will have comfortable seating and wireless Internet available when we finish our expansion, so that our customers can relax while their car is being serviced."
He also said that "You can also drop your car off while you have lunch at one of the many restaurants in Clearwater's downtown."
Eric's Auto Salon at 20 S. Myrtle Avenue is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. There is no need for an appointment, if you are stopping by for an exterior or full service wash For waxing, detailing and window tinting, you can make an appointment by calling 441-4011.
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