Saskatchewan

Small business suffers without water in Prince Albert, Sask.

The car wash has been closed since Monday, while the car detailing shop’s business has been seriously impacted.

Prince Albert car wash and detailing shop struggles to make ends meet

Small business owner Shelley Gordon struggles to make ends meet while her car wash business is forced to temporarily close due to the oil spill. (CBC)

It's been a tough time for small-business owners in Prince Albert, Sask., that rely on water for their business.

Shelley Gordon owns the 6th Avenue Car Wash and UniglassPlus Ziebart car detailing shop in Prince Albert. She said she has been struggling to make ends meet with the sudden loss in business.

The car wash has been closed since Monday, while the car detailing shop's business has been seriously impacted because they are not able to complete services that require water.

Husky's role

Gordon said she realizes that Husky's first priority is the containment of the oil spill and tending to damages.

"But there is another factor and that's the effects it's had on the community and small business owners," said Gordon.

"I'm a small business owner and I don't have a big banner behind me supporting me, making my mortgage payment on August 1."

Gordon said she relies on the income of the shops' business, and wants to get the issue resolved to allow her to make her payments.

"I understand they're doing everything they can to get through this terrible situation, and I hope that Husky is being as helpful as they can be in this time of need."

She spoke with Husky's insurance adjustor on Monday, and on Friday they sent her a package asking for her to provide her sales history data.

Small business owner Shelley Gordon is crunching the numbers to figure out how to make ends meet with sudden losses to her business after the oil spill. (CBC)

Gordon said the letter she received was generic and did not provide a timeframe for payment, or any interim payments that could be provided to her until the total amount lost had been calculated. 

She has had to lay off her car wash employees while the shop has been closed, and is concerned about paying and keeping her staff for both sides of the business.

"I had staff members all day yesterday (asking), 'Am I working this weekend? Am I going to have work next week?' And I just don't have answers," she said.

Long weekend losses

She has concerns about the way Husky's insurance adjustor will calculate the business lost, especially over the start of the long weekend, as the UniglassPlus Ziebart store has only been open a year.

"(Friday) was the start of the long weekend, and Thursday normally we would be lined up 10 cars deep, people waiting to wash their RV's and trucks before the long weekend," she said.

"I've spent a lot of money on advertising this past year, and I'm uncertain what the potential could've been.

"The new business doesn't have a long track record like the 6th Avenue Car Wash, so it's hard to kind of come up with concrete numbers."

Looking to the future

Gordon said she also wonders what the long-term plan looks like for Prince Albert.

"What's going to happen in the winter time? I'm a car wash that's open all year round, so are they going to shut me down in November again?" said Gordon.

"What's the long-term future look like for a business owner in Prince Albert? That's the uncertainty of all of that."

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