• Veterans receive support through annual event

    Sgt. Robert Gordon, who served five years in the US Army Airborne Rangers and then joined the US Army, talks about how Operation First Response helped him and his family as the keynote speaker during the sixth annual Walk for the Wounded Saturday, Sept. 27 on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

    OCEAN CITY — Sgt. Robert Gordon had just completed Army Ranger training when terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. After five years and three tours as an airborne Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq, he returned home only to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a result of exposure to radiation.

  • GALLOWAY – In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Atlantic Medical Imaging is offering free screening mammograms in October to women age 40 or older who are uninsured.

    Eligible women must have no current or previous breast health issues.

  • OCEAN CITY — A campaign aimed at preventing drug abuse and promoting a healthy lifestyle will kick off with a billboard unveiling noon Monday, Sept. 29 on the south side of the 34th Street Bridge in Marmora.

    The campaign is called “Did You Know,” and the billboard will host a different message each month. Organizers hope that the message on the billboard will spark conversation between parents and teenagers.

  • Andrew Gesler gets airborne. (Image courtesy Dark Fall Productions)Can a hipster be cured?

    Andrew Gesler of Ocean City and Margate’s Alex DePhillipo have weighed in on the question with a new film, which premiered this summer, and the prognosis isn’t good.

    It’s called “Death 2 Hipsters,” and it’s a surf movie comedy.

    Being cool, and the attended marketing of whatever coolness is, seems to be taking over surfing, said Gesler in a recent interview. Major fashion companies are reaching into surf culture.

    The folks who put together the local surf movie “Dark Fall” wanted to try something new, a surf satire.

  • OCEAN CITY — Property owners in Ocean City are now prohibited from planting bamboo in their yards as council unanimously approved a ban on the invasive plant at its Sept. 25 meeting.

    The ordinance, introduced by council Aug. 28, will prohibit property owners and tenants from planting bamboo — described as running or clumping varieties — on any property in Ocean City. It also requires the owner and occupant of a property where bamboo currently exists to confine the plant to prevent it from spreading to neighboring properties.

  • OCEAN CITY — A new three-year contract with the Ocean City Education Association was unanimously approved by the Ocean City Board of Education at its Wednesday, Sept. 24 meeting.

    During the meeting, there was no discussion by the board regarding the memorandum of understanding with the teachers union, which is effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. However, details of the contract were released to The Gazette the following day.

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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