Car repair businesses stuck in neutral because of oil spill - - The News for South Mississippi

Car repair businesses stuck in neutral because of oil spill


By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At Bobby Tyson's Auto Repair in Ocean Springs, workers are busy doing the usual car repair chores. But there are fewer tires to change these days, and fewer repairs to make because fewer people are visiting the coast. 

"Tourism has dropped down and it's hurt us," owner Bobby Tyson explained. "The hotels would call us and say, 'I have this person from out of town, their car is broken, it broke on the way down here, can we get it fixed?'" 

Tyson estimates he has lost 75 percent of his usual summer tourist business.  Because of that, he's going to do what hundreds of other business owners have done for the past two months. 

"So far as my business, I won't have a choice but to file a claim," Tyson said.  "My accountant is putting the numbers together right now. All I can do is count out of town addresses that I had last year as compared to this year. That is the only true way to see how much it has affected my business."  

While there's no doubt the oil spill has hurt many coast businesses, including car repair shops, one coast business owner has a different take on the situation.  Dan Nord believes the oil catastrophe may actually help the economy recover in the long run. 

"All the people being picked up by BP to help clean up the oil spill, hopefully that will create an improvement in the economy and businesses will end up responding from that like it did after Katrina," said Nord, who owns Pacer Tire in Ocean Springs. "Once that money flows in, we should see some improvement." 

While business at Pacer Tire is down, no employees have been laid off. That is not the case at Bobby Tyson's Auto Repair. Three employees in the past month have lost their jobs because of lost business.

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