• OCEAN CITY — Carrying a science experiment designed by six Ocean City High School students, Mission 6 is scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station this October.

    The Ocean City School District is one of 20 districts from across the nation selected to participate in the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP).

  • Submitted / “Come on down to the beach and fish!” urges Kieth Van Laarhoven, chairman of the October 18th Ocean City surf fishing tournament.

    OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fishing Club is extending a broad invitation for anglers to participate in its 47th annual surf fishing tournament on Saturday, Oct. 18.

    “This is an opportunity for anyone interested in fishing to come out and have fun competing in our tournament,” said tournament Chairman Kieth Van Laarhoven, of Ocean City and Browns Mills. “This event is open not only to members of the fishing clubs throughout our area, but also to individuals and families.”

  • OCEAN CITY — Council is expected to host a workshop concerning the city’s historic district sometime in the near future, City Councilman Michael Allegretto said Thursday, Sept. 11.

    “We will let everyone know about the workshop, we want to get everyone involved,” he said, adding that it will be announced within the next 30 to 45 days.

  • According to the plan presented in April, the proposed park would include a 4- to 6-foot deep bowl, ramps, a raised plaza, and other amenities.

    OCEAN CITY — A new skatepark in Ocean City is one step closer to becoming a reality as the Cape May County Board of Freeholders approved $500,000 in Open Space funding toward the project when it met Tuesday, Sept. 9.

    “I’m tickled. I am excited that the county sees as much value in the project as we do. I believe, to date, this is one of the biggest awards they’ve ever given. Their enthusiasm for the project is refreshing,” said Ocean City Councilman Mike DeVlieger.

  • AVALON – Authorities have determined that accidental drowning was the cause of death of Brett Fitzpatrick, whose body was found at the 23rd Street beach in Avalon on New Year’s Day.

    The cause of the drowning is undetermined, said Ken Super, chief of county investigators at the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office. However, a toxicology report “revealed a high level of alcohol in his system, which may have led to an accidental drowning,” he said.

Shore Clean Car Wash celebrates new expansion

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Chuck Baker and his son, Brandon, at Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora. Chuck Baker and his son, Brandon, at Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora.

MARMORA – Chuck Baker recently celebrated the expansion of his Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora, but that he expanded at all is nothing short of a miracle, he said.

That’s because little more than a year ago Baker was not expected to live. He contracted swine flu, complicated by pneumonia. When he went into septic shock, doctors gave him a three percent chance to live.

“I spent 190 days in the hospital,” he said. “Only because of experimental medicine did I survive. I battled back to build this place. Thank God I am here. I guess God has a plan for me.”

Baker and his wife Regina opened Shore Clean Car Wash 16 years ago. It was Upper Township’s first car wash and detail center. Building on success, the couple opened “Shore Clean Express” last week. With the debut of the Valvoline lube and oil service, Baker said customers have a one-stop option for car maintenance.

“There’s nothing like it here, in Upper Township or Ocean City,” he said.

Baker replaced three enclosed hand-wash bays with an in-and-out, 20 minutes no-appointment necessary “express” oil change area.

“It’s like an oil change center, you top off your fluids and you get a free car wash and vacuum,” he said. “I look at it as filling a necessity.”

Opening in a bad economy may be risky, but Baker said saw an upside for his business. People are not trading vehicles in, he said, and they’re not buying new cars as often.

“They’re taking care of the car they have and driving it a lot longer,” he said. “You have to keep your car going, so you have to take good care of it. That’s what we do here, offer preventative maintenance, all in one location. We help make the car last a little longer.”

Baker, who resides in Ocean City, is a graduate of Frankford High School in Philadelphia. He spent his summers in Ocean City growing up. When he was 16, he was hired as a ride operator at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

After graduation, he continued working at the Pier and worked for an asphalt company on the side. Before long he was managing the various concession areas.

“I can’t say enough about the Gillian family, they helped me get where I am,” he said.

In the mid-1990’s the Gillian family attempted to open a go-cart park on the land where Baker’s business is now situated. Upper Township placed roadblocks to developing the land for amusement purposes, so the Gillian family sold the land to Baker.

“I worked for the Gillian’s for 13 years, and I had a desire to go out on my own, to build a car wash and they provided the opportunity to take off,” he said.

Howard Stainton gave Roy Gillian an opportunity to build Wonderland. Baker said the Gillians in turn did the same for him.

“Jay Gillian is my buddy, he’s like a brother to me,” he said. “Last year I went back and helped him on the Boardwalk at night. I missed it. If he needs help, I’ll be there.

Baker is used to hard work. From April through October he worked from 7 a.m. when he opened the concession stands until after midnight when everything closed up.

“I got six hours of sleep,” he said. “All I know is hard work and family. I’m a street-smart kind of guy.”

Regina works as a respiratory therapist at Shore Memorial Hospital and Atlantic Care while he runs the family business. Baker employs a total of ten people in his business.

“I try to do what someone did for me,” he said. “When I expanded I was able to hire four more people. I gave unemployed people a chance to work and that’s exciting for me. I hope to continue to expand and hire more people.”

Baker said his employees know he expects them to work hard.

“We are a professional detail center, we wash your car twice at the car wash,” he said. “We prep it by hand and then send it through the wash.”

The Valvoline side, he said, is no less precise. Sandy Tisi stopped in Monday morning to check it out.

“I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I brought my car into the car wash several times and they did things and didn’t charge me. Little things, but that made a difference to me. They always did a great job so I figured why not try the oil change? Chuck’s an honest guy, I trust them.”

The Baker’s have two sons, Brandon, 11, and Cody, 8. Brandon spends the day with his father working. On a recent visit, he was making out the schedule.

“He loves this business,” said Baker, adding that Brandon encouraged him to take his birthday and Father’s Day off. “He said he’d fill in for me. The guys were great with him. He was proud as a peacock. He’s the man, that’s for sure.”

When Baker was sick last year, Brandon filled in by necessity.

“He ran the car wash,” said Baker. “He was counting the number of tire dressings, an extra in the car wash, that the guys were doing. One day they only had 11 and he told them they should be doing about 20. He said ‘my dad wouldn’t like that, you need to sell it more.’”

Baker said he is thrilled with the response to the expansion.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Baker. “I’m the kind of a guy who loves to work and stay busy. It’s great to be able to do that and at the same time employ people and provide a valuable service to the community.”

The expanded Shore Clean Express opened last week. The expanded Shore Clean Express opened last week.


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