February 6, 2013


Happy Detailing moves, adds jobs

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Fred Thomas, left, and Joshua Abshire, co-owner of Happy Auto Detailing, clean the interior of a Dodge minivan Tuesday at the company’s new location on Route 281 across from Tops Plaza.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Happy Auto Detailing has moved from its longtime location on North Main Street in Cortland to a new space on Route 281, and plans to hire more workers and expand its product line.
Rick Smith, a co-owner of Happy Auto Detailing, said he plans to hire between four and nine more full-time employees at the new location. The business employs five full-time and two part-time workers.
The first new hire will start Feb. 18, said Smith, 48.
Smith’s son, Josh Abshire, is also now the co-owner of Happy Auto Detailing. He looked forward to the added responsibility and the opportunity to improve the facility, said Abshire, 28.
“We’re always happy to have a new industry or business move into Cortlandville,” said Town Supervisor Dick Tupper.
Tupper expects businesses to continue to develop the Route 281 and Route 13 corridors.
“There’s some vacant spots that still have to be filled,” he said.
Smith first visited Cortland from Louisiana while working for AT&T in the late 1980s and early 1990s, laying fiber optic cable, he said. After seeing the area, he promised himself that if he ever left AT&T, he would come to Cortland and start a business.
His dream came true when he left the company in 1997 and started Happy Auto Detailing out of his home’s garage on Summit Street. That year the business moved to Fisher Avenue and then to Port Watson Street in 1998, before opening on North Main Street near Pudgie’s Pizza, where it would remain for 13 years.
“Right now we have stepped out of our comfort zone,” said Smith. “I hope to influence other small businesses to do the same thing because that’s how you grow.”
Karl Ochs, who owns the building at 3901 Route 281 that also houses Crown City Guns and Ammo, spent between $20,000 and $30,000 to build offices and upgrade the existing space, Smith said.
The new location offers about 6,000 square feet, Smith estimated, versus the old location’s estimated 2,500 square feet.
Happy Auto Detailing will also expand to spray-in truck bed liners at its new location, and will start offering free pick up and delivery, and discounts for seniors and the disabled, Smith said. The company also hopes to expand to selling car and truck accessories within nine to 12 months.
Smith also owns Rick Smith Motor Sports, which was located on Main Street in Homer across from Steve and Lu’s Diner, and Snowplowing Unlimited.
The expansion allows Smith’s three businesses to be housed under one roof, Smith said.
“I love to work,” Smith said, undaunted by the hours required to run three businesses. “If we were sitting at home not doing anything we’d never be able to expand.”
Abshire had the same mindset.
“It’s not about the hours,” he said, “It’s about survival.”


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