Vandals delay opening of car wash business

Racist slogans were painted on the USA Car Wash on the Ballyclare Road. INNT 02-028-FP
Racist slogans were painted on the USA Car Wash on the Ballyclare Road. INNT 02-028-FP

THE owner of a successful car wash business has claimed that someone is trying to stop him opening a new outlet in Glengormley.

Arthur Cufaj, who is originally from Albania, has lived in Northern Ireland for 16 years and is co-owner of USA Car Wash & Valeting, which already has outlets in Belfast, Bangor, Carrickfergus and other areas.

The 39-year-old and his business partner had been due to open a new car wash and valeting centre at the former filling station site on the Ballyclare Road, opposite the Queens Park estate, earlier this month. However, new signage erected at the site just before Christmas has since been vandalised, while racist slogans such as ‘Foreigners out’ and ‘No foreigners’ were painted on the wall of the disused petrol station at the end of last week.

“We had been hoping to open on January 1, as that’s when the lease started and that’s when we started paying rent, but we’ll now have to get the place cleaned up and get new signs put up so it’ll probably be another couple of weeks before we are open,” Mr Cufaj told the Times.

The former police officer claimed that replacing the defaced signage could cost up to £3,000.

Mr Cufaj, who has been in business for 10 years, doesn’t believe the attack on his latest venture was carried out by racists, despite the graffiti.

“Someone doesn’t want me in this area earning a living,” he said. “I think I know who was behind this, but that’s for the police to deal with. No one is above the law and it’s up to the law to deal with them.”

Mr Cufaj said the new car wash will employ six or seven people, both foreign nationals who are entitled to work in Northern Ireland and local workers.

Anyone with information about the attack on Mr Cufaj’s business can contact police at Newtownabbey Station on 0845 600 8000.