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Canine cleaners

November 22, 2010
By Jenny Kirk

MARSHALL - For anyone who has ever wanted the perfect facility to give their dog a quick bath, the new self-serve Freedom Dog Wash on West College Drive is the answer.

Longtime Marshall resident Al Eggermont had seen self-serve systems in bigger cities, and decided to install one locally after seeing a scroungy dog walking around town.

"We named it 'Freedom' because that's what it's about," Al Eggermont said. "We wanted people to have a clean dog and to be free of the mess at home."

Article Photos

Photo by Jenny Kirk

Owner Al Eggermont, left front, is pictured beside his new self-serve Freedom Dog Wash with his wife Mary. Employees Brad Sundquist, back left, and Steve Bartz will assist in operations.

Freedom Dog Wash is located side-by-side next to Liberty Laundry (previously South Side), which Eggermont has owned for the past 12 years.

"It's the 'Liberty' for people to do a super clean wash in a hurry because everyone's always in a hurry nowadays," said Eggermont, who also owns the Rain-N-Shine Laundromat across town. "Rain-N-Shine stands for 'wash' and 'dry.'"

Convenience and providing a service is what it's all about with the new venture. Pet owners don't have to wait for an appointment and can give their dog a bath when it fits into their schedule.

"It's on the basis of a self-serve car wash," Eggermont said. "That's kind of the way it works. People can have a clean dog in 10 minutes."

The dog-washing unit is out of Dallas, Texas, and is stainless steel. A door can be unlatched to let even a large dog into the washing area, and there is a chain available to attach to the dog's collar while in the tub. The non-skid surface is also higher up, so there is less back strain on the owner.

"The cheap ones only have a six-inch border and water sprays all over," Eggermont said. "We also have free aprons for the person who brings their dog in to wash. It's clean for the person doing it."

After securing the dog in the tub, an owner would need to insert $10 into the machine, then decide between a regular shampoo or a flea shampoo. The machine stops at every feature to make sure the person washing is ready to go onto the next step.

After rinsing and conditioning, there is also a high-low blow dry option. At the end, the person would spend one minute disinfecting the tub. The machine takes bills up to $10 as well as coins.

"It's 10 bucks for 10 minutes," Eggermont said. "But most people will be done before that. It's a dollar a minute after that."

Bath towels and paper towels will also be supplied, as well as a step-stool for more convenience.

"The room is heated and it's also ventilated," Eggermont said. "It has a separate cooling and heat system. I have a good staff that cleans, too."

Brad Sundquist handles machine maintenance at both laundromats, while Steve Bartz is the office manager at both places and takes care of the bookkeeping and computer-related items. A lot of other individuals and businesses also helped Eggermont with the new dog wash, he said.

"John Zerr installed the mural on the wall and it's absolutely beautiful," Eggermont said. "It has children fishing with their dogs."

Freedom Dog Wash will be open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

"If anyone sees a nicer dog wash in any town in America, I want to see it," Eggermont said. "This is nicer than anything we've seen. I just wanted to have a beautiful place for the dogs to go."



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