When Dexter was hit by a tornado on March 12, 2012, hundreds of homes and businesses were left damaged, and the town was scarred by the disaster but ultimately thankful for minimal injuries and no casualties.
A little more than a year later, much of the damage has been restored as many businesses and families have gotten back on their feet. One of the testimonies to this recovery is the reconstruction of the village car wash.
At the corner of Second Street and Central Street, the Village Car Wash and Laundry owns three separate buildings, including a car wash, laundromat and a small management building. Each of these buildings together have served as a landmark in the Dexter area since 1970, the year that the company was founded.
Its long history, however, was threatened when the winds from the EF-3 tornado struck. During the windstorm, the car wash served as a protective hiding place for several stranded travelers, but the structure itself did not fare as well as its inhabitants.
According to owner Pete Caffrey, “The tornado descended upon (the car wash) and blew certain portions of the roof off and one of the walls caved in. All three of the buildings were totaled.”
Despite this natural disaster, Pete and his wife Cheryl did not lose hope in their business. Wanting to rebuild from the ground up, the Caffreys sought insurance to recover their losses.
“We wish they had (covered everything), but we had to fight them tooth and nail for them to cover about two thirds of the costs,” Pete said.
Now, as the business has been completely rebuilt and refurbished with new equipment, the owners have a great outlook on the business. The owners hope that this will lead to better business and said that the reconstruction is a symbol of the town’s recovery from the tornado that hit a little more than a year ago.“We’re definitely excited, it’s all brand new, easier to keep up,” Pete said. “The car wash has much better lighting, the equipment has all been revamped and is better for the customers to use.”