HELENA – Like many college students, Thayne Harrison was in need of a summer job.
While friends and classmates landed jobs for local businesses, Harrison went a different route: He created his own.
“I needed to make a little bit of money so I could play football, continue playing football and paying the tuition off," Harrison said. "I’ve worked for my dad at his car lot my whole life, detailing, cleaning and selling cars, so I knew how to restore headlights and it kind of popped up in my head that I should turn that into a little business, do some volume on that and make a few bucks this summer.”
Harrison created Carroll Headlight Restoration and has spent his summer driving from client to client, transitioning headlights from grimy to gleaming.
“What I do is, with time the top layer of the headlights will become oxidized, so I come in and sand that off with a wet sand of a few different grits and layers, then I come polish that off afterward with my drill and polish," Harrison explained. "I finish with a protective coat. I’m really just taking off all that oxidation, all that gross, grimy oxidation and yellow cloudiness, then polishing it over so it stays smooth and protected for you.”
“It’s been great. I’m staying busy, which is good," he continued. "I wasn’t sure if it would take off or not, but I have stayed busy and made a few bucks, which is good. Helena has been great. A lot of people have been super supportive, great people. I’m also learning with this. There are times where I haven’t done a perfect job, where I’ve had to go back to redo it, and they’ve been super kind with me, worked with me and we’ve gotten it right. As of now, I believe everyone is satisfied.”
While the business has taken off, thanks in large part to a sponsored Facebook post and word of mouth, Harrison is also busy with offseason football workouts, though the fall season and even school year have yet to be determined.
“It’s a lot of uncertainty. We don’t know, the superiors don’t know for sure, either, so it’s hard. But we do know that all we can do is prepare for the season, all we can do is prepare for classes, prepare for the worst and hope for the best is what we’re thinking," said Harrison, who caught nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown as a freshman last fall. "As a football team, we’re getting ready for the season, preparing for games, as we should be, as should everyone. We’re hoping we can have a season, hoping we can have classes and hoping that everything works out as it should.”
Despite the uncertainty, it remains football and work, rinse and repeat. Harrison said he might even train a couple buddies to continue the business through the school year and perhaps hit the ground running beyond that.
For those in need of a good buff?
“My business page is on Facebook, it’s called Carroll Headlight Restoration, my name is Thayne, and my phone number is on there, contact info and everything is on there," he said. "I can come to you, do it quick, show up on time, and for $30 I can get your headlights new and clean.”
Sounds like a motto for the business cards.