The Dart: For Natchez man, it’s all in the details

Published 12:06 am Monday, October 15, 2012

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cedric Angelethy cleans the windows of a car with a newspaper, a trick he said he has learned through his more than 30 years washing and detailing cars. “It’s my passion,” Angelethy said.

NATCHEZ — The sign in front of Cedric Angelethy’s house is difficult to miss.

Angelethy’s display on Woodlawn Avenue solicits drivers to bring their vehicle for an auto-detailing job at a reasonable price. When The Dart landed on his street Wednesday afternoon, Angelethy was only too happy to talk about his business — and all of its challenges.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cedric Angelethy wipes down the wax on a customer’s car Sunday afternoon outside of his home. Angelethy put a sign in his yard of his home on Woodlawn Avenue for washing and detailing cars to make extra money between jobs.

“Business is slow,” Angelethy admitted. “When you’re not on the main strip or corner, it’s hard to attract people.”

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Angelethy, who is currently looking for his next full-time job, said auto-detailing is helping him make it through the tough times. But with the economy struggling, there just aren’t many people interested in having their cars in tip-top condition.

“I’ve mostly dealt with females (over the years), and husbands are telling their women, ‘You can either get your nails done or the car washed,’” Angelethy said.

“You can only get one or the other, so it’s kind of dropped off. The economy’s all crazy — people aren’t really concerned with getting their car cleaned, they’re more concerned with having food on the table.”

Angelethy’s background began in janitorial work when he would accompany his father, Ollie, on jobs.

“My dad had me pushing vacuums around when I was 10 years old,” Angelethy said.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cedric Angelethy uses a microfiber towel to wax a customer’s car Sunday afternoon outside of his home on Woodlawn Avenue. Angelethy washes and details cars from his yard to make extra money.

Eventually, auto-detailing branched off from that work.

“Back in high school, we used to clean places like Byrne Insurance and Britton and Koontz Bank,” Angelethy said. “I asked people if they needed me to wash their cars, and I started washing cars for $5. I went up to $25, but now I’m back down to $12 because of the economy.”

But the lower prices will hopefully come back up a little so Angelethy can generate a little more income, he said.

“I just got done talking to myself, saying, ‘I can’t do it for $12 anymore,’” he said. “People are going to have to come with it.”

Having an understanding wife helps, and Angelethy said his wife, Kimbrely, has been good to him. Kimbrely is currently studying biology at Alcorn State University in Lorman.

“She’s getting ready for grad school,” Angelethy said. “I think she wants to teach.”

Angelethy also has his 5-year-old son, Christian, to support. Christian is currently attending the Holy Family Early Childhood Center. Eventually, Angelethy said he wants his son to follow his father’s educational path.

“I want him to go to Cathedral, like I did,” Angelethy said.

Angelethy has considered going back to school himself too. He attended college at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and he said he might want to go back one day and study sociology in order to become a child counselor.

“I have a lot to say,” Angelethy said. “I feel like I could tell kids a lot. In these times, you have to tell them the raw truth. So many times our society wants to cover things up and act like it ain’t happening, but it is happening.”

In the meantime, Angelethy said he would be relying on his sign to help attract more people to get an auto-detailing job.

“It took me three tries just to get it up,” Angelethy joked. “After that, I just gave up and said, ‘It is what it is.’”