Self-service dog wash opens downtown

Chad Frey
"We Are All Wet," a self-service dog wash, opened in Newton at 109 W. Fifth last week.

Gina Bell, director of Harvey County Planning and Zoning, both blames and thanks her secretary for the new business Bell is starting.

“It’s her fault,” she says with a grin and wave of the hand. “She was in here one day talking about how she was going to take her dogs to get them washed. I asked where, and she described it.”

She described a self-service dog wash in Hutchinson.

One lone remark in the office led to Bell doing some research, which led to her opening her own business in downtown Newton. “We Are All Wet” is a self-service dog wash at 109 West Fifth.

“It works just like a car wash,” Bell said. “You put your money in and pick what you are going to do. You do that, and pick the next thing and do that. It has two shampoos, a conditioner, a flea and tick treatment and a disinfectant for rinsing things down.”

Bell rented a room in a downtown building, purchased a machine, hired a plumber and started moving forward. The door, controlled by a timed lock, opened last week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Canine owners can purchase time in the machine and wash their dogs on a platform. The baseline wash is 15 minutes. Bell has a limited supply of towels available each day.

“As a dog owner, this is pretty great. You don’t have to worry about all that hair going into your drains or the dog shaking off all over your house. It is easy to clean up when you leave, and it is easier to wash the dog with the hose when they are at your level,” said Karen Rothe, Bell’s secretary.

This, for Bell, is a pretty simple and hands-off business model.

“I thought, self service, I don’t have to be there all the time — it sounds like a good opportunity,” Bell said. “... I will stop in a couple times a day just to make sure things are going right.