A sore back, ripped-down shower curtains, a water-soaked bathroom and clogged drains were just some of the pains endured by In-N-Out owner Mike Kelly when he'd attempt to wash his 160-pound Newfoundland, Gordo, in his tub at home.
It wasn't long after Kelly created a makeshift washing area in his garage that he came across a self-service dog wash in Austin, Texas and thought, "Wow, what a great idea."
Last year, Kelly brought his own version of that idea to 300 North Avenue in Garwood with the opening of In-N-Out Self-Serve Dog Wash and full-service grooming salon.
Reflecting on his first year, Kelly told Patch that opening his business in Garwood has been a huge success - so much so that he's expanding. But it's where he's expanding that's the interesting part.
"We opened last weekend at the Auto Spa on South Avenue," says Kelly. "The thinking is, a lot of people who bring their car for a wash have their dog with them. But then you put a stinky dog back in a clean car. Now, you can wash your dog while your car's being washed."
Trying to picture it? No, Fido won't be in line behind the sedans. The In-N-Out space is housed inside the Auto Spa lobby and consists of two tubs for self-serve washing. It's open on Saturdays and Sundays (for now). As an opening promotion, customers who buy a dog wash get a free car wash.
Kelly says the response has been good so far. And he's also added new services at the original In-N-Out, which saw more than 3,000 customers since opening last spring.
"We now offer dog walking in the surrounding communities," says Kelly. "We added additional groomers and we hope to have a local vet do some workshops on pet hygiene in the future."
Kelly says he's especially happy he chose to open his business in Garwood.
"I’ve met great people here," he says. "Looking back at the way it all came together, this location is phenonmenal. We're really close to Cranford and Westfield and right in the center of Garwood. And there’s a lot of other new businesses here, too. It's been a great year."