Clean Cars and Canines
It sounds like a sitcom scheme cooked up by Lucy and Ethel, but it’s real — and it’s thriving. At Gary Baright’s Foam & Wash Car & Pet Wash in Fishkill, you can bring in the car to get washed and, what the heck, get the dog done, too. You might laugh, but if you’ve ever pulled your back out while bending over to scrub Fido in the tub at home, then you can understand the appeal. In fact, more than 700 car and dog wash businesses have sprung up nationwide in the past few years.
“We started the dog-washing part of our operation about two years ago,” said Baright. “We thought, people get kind of bored coming just to wash their cars: guys come alone, or their wives do. How can we make this more fun for the whole family?” Baright’s solution: create the equivalent of a doggie day spa. “We put in two rooms, each 10 by 10 feet,” explains the owner. “They’re climate controlled, so they’re warm in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. We have a stainless steel sink — human height — where you can wash your dog, hose him down, and vacuum him dry with a machine that sucks the water right off the dog’s coat.” Several varieties of shampoo (including oatmeal, tearless, and the ever-popular skunk-odor remover) are available to help Rover regain his new-dog smell. And the in-room vending machines offer everything from dog biscuits to dental wipes and rain ponchos (to keep you dry while soaping up little Sparky).
Depending on the size of your mutt, a self-serve wash and blow-dry will set you back anywhere from $5 to $15. (Baright charges by the minute; most folks spend about 10 minutes lathering and rinsing.) The place is also open 24 hours a day. So if you’re an insomniac dog owner, don’t be afraid to drop by at 4 a.m. to give old Rusty a rubdown.
Unlikely as it might seem, Baright says the market for his unique two-in-one service is brisk. “The word-of-mouth has been fantastic. We’re getting lots of families coming to do the car, the dog, or both, because it’s so much fun.” If he can figure out a way to do this for toddlers too, the parents of Fishkill might just elect him mayor. 20 Merritt Blvd., Fishkill. 845-897-3430.