Freeze Heats Up Business

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The Brazos Valley seems to be defrosting, and most residents are back to travel as usual, at least those people whose cars have not been damaged.

Frank Johnson is a driver for Phil Thweatt Wrecker Service, and says now that the roads are more accessible, he expects there will be no rest for wreckers.

But wrecker drivers won't be the only people tired. The phones at body shops are ringing off the hook.

Abel Rios owns Rios Paint and Body Shop. Just like other businesses in the area, it was closed for a couple of days because of the bad weather. When they opened again, their doors vehicles were waiting.

"I would say (we have) about 15 to 20 (cars) right now just when we opened up," Rios said.

He said thanks to the computer, his business, wreckers, and insurance companies will stay busy for a while.

"It is all downloaded through the computer and we search the files," Rios said. "Then, we start calling people and finding out where the vehicles are at."

Though most people think the ice storm was a nuisance, Rios is one businessman glad to see come in.

"It increases probably anywhere from 30 to 40 percent when the weather gets this bad," he said.

As far as the extent of the damage Rios has seen, much of it is front- and rear-end damage and side swipes caused by drivers unable to stop their vehicles on the ice.

However, what seems minor from the outside could still be major in cost. The damage that has already arrived at Rios' shop ranges from $1,500 to $8,000.

Warm temperatures are moving in, but only Old Man Winter knows if Rios' business will see another surge.