Polly Want a Discount? Illinois bodyshop features in-house parrot to greet customers 

Springfield, Illinois ⁠— Some automotive businesses have fish tanks in their front offices; others have loyal Fido-like friends that greet customers when they walk up. Then there’s Bill Mathews Autobody in Springfield, Illinois, with its trusty macaw mascot, Seaweed.

Seaweed⁠, a well-known parrot to Springfield locals, first got her start greeting customers at a car wash owned by JoAnn and John Cravens, who said the bird came with their purchase of the business in 2004.

“When we purchased the car wash they told us she came with it,” said John.

The former general manager of the car wash, Dale Abbott, quickly grew close to Seaweed⁠—just like the many customers who worried where she’d go when the business shut down. 

Dale had heard that another local automotive business, Bill Mathews Autobody owned other birds and kept them in-house, so he reached out. 

Seaweed now spends her days greeting customers alongside two other birds and a dog at what most customers refer to as ‘Mathews Petting Zoo’. 

“A lot of people really love them,” said Bob Mathews, owner of the business. “There are a few that are scared of birds when they come in, but we always assure them that the birds won’t bother them.” 

He also said seaweed has a long life of greeting customers before her.

“She’s only 30 years old,” he said. “They live to be over 100 years old in captivity.”


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