In-N-Out Self-Serve to Host Dog Wash and Adoption Event
Yes, exactly like a do-it-yourself car wash, but for Fido.
Sore back, ripped-down shower curtains, a water-soaked bathroom and clogged drains were just some of the pains endured by Mike Kelly when he'd attempt to wash his 160-lb. Newfoundland, Gordo, in his tub at home. It wasn't long after Kelly went so far as to run hot water out to his garage to create a makeshift grooming area for Gordo that he came across a self-service dog wash in Austin, Texas and thought, "Wow, what a great idea."
Six years later, Kelly has brought that great idea to North Avenue in Garwood with the opening of his In-N-Out Self-Serve Dog Wash – and full-service grooming salon. "There are so many ideas I've had across the years and then saw other people go out and do before I got to it," says Kelly. "This I decided I wasn't going to let slip by."
For self-service, dog owners come in, have Fido walk up a short plank into a sink area (there are two extra-large sinks for pups of Gordo's size), attach him with one of In-N-Out's padded collars so he can't jump out, and begin washing with a hose that has the shampoo already mixed in. After shampooing, it's a quick switch of the dial to rinse, followed by a blowout with In-N-Out's no-heat, high-velocity dryer.
Grooming services include everything from the basic nail clipping, bath, ear cleaning and trim to options like the Furminator – a shampoo and conditioning treatment plus deep brushing to remove excess undercoat hair. For those who would prefer to leave bathtime to the experts, In-N-Out can also do the washing for you, while you shop North Avenue boutiques or hit the grocery store.
"I'm really happy with this location," says Kelly. "I'd been looking for a while and this is perfect for ease and good traffic coming by. As a mortgage broker, I've always thought Garwood was such a great little town where you can get great value. Plus, there are lots of parks nearby where dogs can get good and muddy and then come here and go home clean."
The business opened a week ago and is having its grand opening celebration this Saturday and Sunday. During the grand opening, the Friends of Linden Animal Shelter will have dogs and cats available for adoption and other local businesses will have tables at In-and-Out.
Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointments are necessary for self-service. Self-serve prices range from $18.95 for dogs up to 49 lbs. up to $32.95 for the Gordo-sized, 150-lb.+ dogs. In-N-Out also offers speciality shampoos (Skin Remedy, Odor Eliminating), plus a quite luxe sounding Blueberry Face Wash.
The initial response has been great, according to Kelly, who says Garwoodians and others were popping in daily as In-N-Out was getting set up, asking when they would be open. "We give you everything, make it easy and then it's fun for just bonding with your dog and kids love helping, too," says Kelly.
During our interview, Roselle Park resident Samantha Nagengast came in with her chocolate lab, Maddie.
After just minutes at the sink, Maddie was clean and dry and Nagengast was thankful. "And my back doesn't hurt," said Nagengast. "It's really nice not to have to lean over into the tub and that took a much shorter time – plus I don't have to clean up the bathroom. It can be very wet and very messy at home. With the size of Maddie, it's great to have a bigger environment to work in."
Kelly says cleanliness is top a priority for In-N-Out – tubs are sanitized after each use and he never wants the business to "smell like wet dog." Although they've only been open a week, the brightly lit, hardwood-floored space with no shred of fur in sight hardly looks – or smells – anything like your typical dog groomer.
Kelly, 42, is a private mortgage broker by day, lives in Mountainside and grew up in Cranford. He worked for a vet in high school and says it was one of his favorite jobs. In addition to Kelly (and Gordo) there is groomer Crystal Borsellino, who previously worked at Pet Smart in Millburn, and employees Maureen Goense and Melanie Johnson.
"We have great, friendly, helpful staff and they love animals," says Kelly.