By Jim Newell
When Nancy Houlihan and her son, Joe, started their Chips for Charity franchise, it was an opportunity to earn some money, set their own hours and give back to the community.
Chips for Charity is a mobile service that fixes chips in car windshields, donating a portion of their proceeds.
Now, every Saturday and Sunday in October, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Chips for Charity will set up at the Northern Flooring Parking lot, 845 S. Lapeer Rd.
Nancy Houlihan will donate $10 of every chip repair and sealed crack to Matt Pfeiffer’s efforts to raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative.
Pfeiffer is one of Oakland County’s Real Men Wear Pink ambassadors, raising money and awareness throughout October.
Joe and Nancy Houlihan started working at Chips for Charity when Joe, now a Kettering University graduate and a mechanical engineer, was in Lake Orion High School.
“When we first started I was bagging groceries and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun,” Joe said.
“So, when I first started (Chips for Charity) it was nice. I got to be outside every day. We got to make our own hours. I never knew it was really an option, owning a franchise, being in high school.”
“And he got to work with his mom,” Nancy said, adding that they started by setting up at Sashabaw and Clarkston roads and getting drivers as they went by.
“I like having my own business. My brain’s not wired for corporate,” Nancy said. “I still do it because I love it.”
While Joe has a new career, Nancy still operates Chips for Charity and enjoys the work and giving back.
“Just from the mobile service I did a lot of donations to Making Strides against Breast Cancer,” said Nancy. She and her husband, John, went to a charity event and heard that Matt Pfeiffer was one of Oakland County’s Real Men Wear Pink ambassadors this year.
“Matt was doing a lot to raise money, so I introduced myself and he said, ‘You’re welcome to set up out here.’ So, I said, ‘Okay, we’ll put our $10 toward you.’ This is really our first fundraiser.”
The way it works is Chips for Charity will contact an insurance company on site, get a claim number and do the repairs.
“Most insurance companies cover at least one, up to three at a time. And they’ll do small cracks up to a dollar bill in length. We can seal longer cracks to help prevent them from spreading, but insurance companies usually do not cover it,” Nancy said.
“It usually takes longer to go through the insurance company that it does to do the repairs. It depends. We’ve had 5-15 minute jobs,” Joe said. “When they first come up they’re not really sure what’s going on. But once they understand they’re pretty happy.”
Anyone who needs a chip or small crack in their windshield tended can call the Chips for Charity mobile service. “We’ll come out, do the repair and then donate to their cause,” said Nancy. “Whether it’s the cheer squad, or breast cancer or whoever they want.”
Contact Chips for Charity at 586-914-9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.