DENVER —The state's convenience stores have lost another source of revenue. Faced with an ever-tightening budget, Colorado has eliminated the compensation retailers got for collecting sales tax.
Several other states have reduced the allowance, but Colorado is the only one to do away with it altogether. Legislation enacted earlier in the year first reduced the amount to 1.35 percent of the taxes stores collected between March and July. Now the stores will receive no compensation.
State officials promised the allowance will be reinstated in 2011, but that doesn't comfort convenience stores already hard-hit by the economy, high cigarette taxes that drove away customers, and a new law allowing liquor stores to open on Sunday, slicing off a considerable amount of revenue from sales of 3.2 beer.
MONTROSE — Seven gasoline station clerks here are $2.5 million richer after matching all six numbers in a state Lotto drawing.
The ticket was purchased by Phillips 66 clerks. The group's spokesperson, Janet Black, said several of the store's employees have seriously ill spouses and the money is a godsend. A customer volunteered to fly them to the lottery headquarters in Pueblo to collect. Each clerk decided to take the immediate cash option and will receive $200,000.
Black organized the team effort after having a dream that she could win big. She collected $2 apiece from her co-workers at their store at 1301 E. Main St.
Before hitting the jackpot, the workers had only claimed $4.
They are all going out to a fancy dinner, but they won't arrive in a limousine or dressed to the nines. It's going to be jeans and t-shirts, they said. Big Money won't change them, they avowed.
Black has had other lottery luck. Five years ago she won $75,000, another $25,000, and another $1,000 on scratch games.
WESTMINSTER — The owner of The Wave Touchless Car Wash is very particular. He even has atomic clocks and digital video cameras throughout the shop so he can time and watch each process to ensure a smooth, quality wash. And he is a big water saver to boot.
Wayne Palinckx started at The Wave's lube shop right out of high school when the business first opened. Within a year he was promoted to manager of the detail shop, and eventually became general manager of the entire business. Fifteen years later he bought the business. His wife, brother and son run it with him.
It's customer-pleasing all the way at his shop. When a driver pulls up he or she is met by a greeter, followed by one or two vacuumers and then the drive-in person who actually drives and positions the car in the wash bay. Two prep people prepare the car for the wash and clean hard-to-reach areas, such as the wheel wells and rocker panels. "Six people work on the car before it even gets to the technology of the wash bay," Wayne said.
The wash time in the bay is only two minutes. The car receives several arches of prewash, neutralizing and deep clean soaps, all of which are environmentally safe and biodegradable.
Following the soap arches a wheel cleaner is applied, then several underbody washes, which Wayne said, is the most important aspect of cleaning. Because the Colorado Department of Transportation uses magnesium chloride to melt ice and snow in the winter the underside of a vehicle can become corroded if not treated regularly.
A wax arch provides an evenly distributed coating. The final step is the fresh water rinse. Both the initial prep rinse and the final rinse are with fresh water, but the shop makes heavy use of old water also. By installing a reclaimed water system in 2003 the shop saves nearly seventy percent of the water formerly required. Water use declined from 567 gallons to 184 gallons in a year. Fresh water use went from 40 to 50 gallons per car to ten. Recycled water makes up the remainder.
When the car comes out of the wash bay the drive-out person positions the car correctly in the car lot for the next step. Every lane is reserved for a certain size and type of car to keep the flow smooth. Once the car is positioned a two or four-person team cleans the interior and anything left on the exterior.
"The towels are used only once," Wayne said, "and folded in a certain way so that only clean surfaces are used. If a towel is dropped it is immediately thrown in the wash. It is not reused on the car. We watch that like a hawk."
After the car is finished a supervisor checks the work. The finishing touch is for a team member to open the car door for the customer, stand in the doorway and lay a fresh towel on the ground for the customer to stand on before getting into the vehicle.
"The lot is always dirty," Wayne explained, "and I want the customer to be able to get in without getting it dirty."
In addition to the car wash The Wave has a full-service lube shop with certified mechanics. If a customer does business at the lube shop he gets a free wash. There also is a full-detail shop for polishing, waxing, scratch removing, shampooing, odor treatment, window tinting and application of clear bras.
To better serve the working population the business stays open seven days a week.
FORT COLLINS — Vacationers who stayed at the Residence Inn last summer got a twenty-five dollar gas gift card for each night spent from Thursday to Sunday, and gasoline retailers were very pleased with the business it brought.
Businesses all over traditional getaway spots in Colorado offered promotions this year to combat the unwillingness of people to travel in a tight economy.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Authorities have decided not to file charges of false reporting against a California woman who texted her family indicating she was in danger, then was found unthreatened and unharmed outside a convenience store here.
Silvia Mardini, 24, ignited a two-state search by the FBI and other authorities after she sent text messages that led her family to believe she was in imminent danger.
Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall said deputies determined no one else was traveling with Mardini who lives in the Mar Vista suburb of Los Angeles. No motive for the scare she started was disclosed.
COLORADO SPRINGS —This guy really wanted his cigarettes.
When his credit card purchase for cigarettes was declined at a 7-Eleven, Thomas Trujillo allegedly jumped over the counter and confronted the clerk. Then he grabbed some cartons and left, authorities said. The clerk was shaken but not seriously harmed.
The 45-year-old suspect was apprehended a short time later in a parking lot at Safeway and arrested on possible charges of aggravated robbery.
It was not known if he managed to get in a smoke first.
Originally published in the October 2009 issue of the O&A
Copyright 2009 by KAL Publications Inc.
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