• HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Atlantic City Electric announced today (Thursday, Aug. 21) that base electric rates will increase by 1.65 percent effective Sept. 1.

    “On August 20, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced its approval of a stipulation of settlement in the Atlantic City Electric (ACE) base rate case authorizing ACE to increase its electric distribution rates by $19 million.”

  • OCEAN CITY — Interviewing Richard “Dick” Grimes after being named Citizen of the Year in 2010, I asked him how, at the age of 92, he was able to do so many things.

    “The good Lord will decide when it’s time for Dick Grimes to stop and I guess he’s telling me to keep going,” he said. 

  • A bicyclist at the intersection of Ninth Street and Haven Avenue where a HAWK signal was recently installed.

    OCEAN CITY — As summer hits its stride, clashes are inevitable as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the roads. However, Capt. Steve Ang of the Ocean City Police Department says bicyclists are generating a lot of complaints. 

    “The majority don’t obey traffic devices, especially along the bike path on Haven Avenue,” Ang said.

  • The volunteers working with Our Children Making Change with the check showing how much they collected for charity this summer.

    OCEAN CITY — Another summer is in the books as Our Children Making Change participants, nearly 230 strong gathered at the Ocean City Civic Center Monday, Aug. 18 to hear what their collective effort over the last six weeks totaled in dollars and cents.

    OCMC founder and President Laura Dulac kept the total a secret until Monday afternoon when a large check totaling $25,782 was unveiled.

  • Delaware Hotel one of many buildings no longer standing

    photo courtesy of the Ocean City Historical Museum / The Delaware Hotel was built in 1925 on the beach between Third Street and Park Place. One of many grand hotels built in the 1920s, it was demolished in 1971 to make way for the Gardens Plaza high-rise condominium.

    OCEAN CITY — Built in 1925, The Delaware Hotel graced the north end of the boardwalk for 46 years before giving way to the more modern Gardens Plaza.

  • Claire Lowe / Ocean City’s 105th Baby Parade took off down the boardwalk Thursday, Aug. 14.

    OCEAN CITY — Dozens of babies and children dressed up in costume to compete for prizes as Ocean City’s 105th Baby Parade took off down the boardwalk Thursday, Aug. 14.

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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