By Cody Braun
Carrboro Commons Writer
Almost every day of the week, rain or shine, Homer Marlboro is sitting in his old lawn chair facing West Weaver Street, a Newport cigarette dangling from his fingers, waiting to wash some cars.
His shirt reads “Homer’s Car Wash since 1987,” and that’s the truth; he says he’s been washing cars in Carrboro for over 20 years. “I’m out here every day,” he says. “People would be sad if I wasn’t here.”
He currently works out of the empty parking area near Carrboro Family Vision at 200 West Weaver Street, with just a few rags and spray bottles that he brings with him every day.
Twenty years in business has made Homer somewhat of a local celebrity. As people walk past on Weaver Street, almost every single one stops and greets Homer by name. Homer just nods solemnly at them, and they grin and walk on. “Everybody know me,” says Homer. “They just know who I am.”
Homer’s business is not fast-paced, and that’s how he likes it. “I wash about three cars a day,” he says. “Lots of cars.” After twenty years, Homer has indeed washed lots of cars.
A man of few words, Homer sums up his childhood in one sentence; “Well, just got to living in Chatham,” he says, taking a long drag of his cigarette and looking off into the distance.
Though he was raised in Chatham County, he moved to Carrboro just over twenty years ago, and says he has loved every minute of it. He says that Carrboro has changed in many ways, but is quick to add “I like it pretty good. Yep, it’s pretty nice.”
He started his car wash almost immediately after he moved to Carrboro. “I was working at the police station in Chatham, goin’ round checkin’ doors,” says Homer. But Homer says he didn’t like any of his previous work as much as he likes washing cars on his own.
Homer says he appreciates the people, businesses and services of Carrboro greatly. “I go to school on Wednesday nights at this church,” he says. “Learning how to read, learning how to count…”
Homer says that almost all of his customers are Carrboro residents and that “people here always come back.” After 20 years in business, he says he has a good base of customers.
Homer, who lives alone in Carrboro, says he has also built up a large group of friends in Carrboro, from church and from the car wash. “While, sometimes we go shoot pool…” he says. He says he has also gotten very attached to several other Carrboro businesses in his long time in the area. “I go to Country Kitchen,” he says. “Yep, Country Kitchen. It’s pretty nice.”
When Homer is washing a car, he looks genuinely happy. He scrubs a silver Accord with a rag and rinses it with an old hose. “Real busy today,” he says. He clearly loves what he does, and says that it is nice to have been in one place so long that everybody knows his name.
After he washes a car, he settles back down into his lawn chair, next to the hand-painted red and white sign that reads “Homer’s Car Wash,” lights another cigarette and waits for more cars to wash.