Owner Doug Roberts in the pet wash area at his new venture, Kiss
and Hug Pet and Car Wash, which recently opened on the south end
pet wash open for business
Adding to its many
features, Yellow Springs can now claim one of the states first pet
washes, and almost certainly the first carwash that calls itself Kiss
The Kiss and Hug Pet and Car Wash, owned by Chris and Doug Roberts
whose names, not coincidentally, rhyme with Kiss and Hug opened
three weeks ago on the south edge of town on U.S. 68, and is now open
24 hours a day.
On a recent Saturday, business was good, as one villager vacuumed the
carpet of his red Toyota in the self-serve bay while another negotiated
the automatic carwash, sitting tight as his station wagon moved slowly
through the bay, blasted by hot soapy water, then sprays of clear water
followed by gusts of warm air.
The Roberts hope the positive response so far indicates that local residents
want their cars shiny and their pets clean.
The demographics show that this town should support a wash,
said Doug Roberts, who manages the business. By and large people
seemed excited to have one.
The wash features two self-serve bays, where car owners can, for $1.25,
using a pre-soak solution, wash with high-tech soaps and a foam brush,
rinse with a high or low-powered rinse and polish things off with a power
You can get much more out of this than just wash and rinse,
Most of the same options are available in the automatic bay, where drivers
can insert bills or a credit card for a basic $5 wash and wax, or up to
$7 for premium treatment.
But villagers dont have to negotiate the new car wash by themselves,
since Doug Roberts is spending most of his days there, providing customer
service as well as keeping everything running smoothly.
Statistically, the owner-operated carwashes always do better,
he said. Having someone there to help has got to be a plus.
When hes not helping customers, Roberts might be in the machine
room, which is crowded with large metal boxes, hoses, pipes and tubes.
Here, he monitors the chemical levels and makes sure hoses and valves
are working correctly.
Its a lot more involved than you think, he said.
Running the Kiss and Hug is nothing new to Doug Roberts, who first got
into the carwash business 18 years ago, as co-owner of the Bubble Brush
wash in Xenia. That business began after his partner sent away for a government
pamphlet listing the small businesses with the best chance of success
a carwash topped the list.
When the partners sold the business several years later, Roberts opened
a bike repair shop in Yellow Springs. Although his businesses have involved
a variety of services, they all revolve around the same activity
Im a natural born mechanic, said Roberts with a shrug,
adding that, since the talent comes so easily to him, he once thought
everyone else could fix things.
For the past several years, the Roberts have owned Caboose Bike &
Skate. While that business keeps them busy in the summer, and parts of
the spring and fall, they sought another business for their slow season,
and they began shopping around for a place to sell used cars Dougs
first love is fixing cars as well as to locate a carwash.
The Roberts purchased their lot two years ago, and since that time have
been doing planning and research. However, their research led to a change
in plans, since the financial investment for the carwash turned out to
be considerably more than they expected. So the couple opted to focus
now on the carwash, and put the plans for a car lot on the back burner.
Their research led them to a trade show in Las Vegas, where they spotted
the D&S 5000 automatic carwash machine, which Doug describes as one
of the better machines out there due to its reliability and its
ability to clean the front, rear and underside of a car as well as its
top. The Kiss and Hug features the machine in its automatic bay.
Also at the trade show, Chris noticed a pet-washing apparatus, and the
couple decided that Yellow Springs could use one. In the Kiss and Hug
pet-wash room, which includes heated floors, pet owners can lead their
dogs into the elevated wash tub, then choose from regular shampoo, flea
and tick shampoo, rinse or conditioner. A dryer is also available, although
Chris advises pet owners to bring a towel, since the dryer, to align with
grooming standards, only provides air that is room-temperature.
The pet wash costs $1.50 for five minutes of use.
The Roberts havent yet convinced their own soap-phobic dog to leap
into the tub, but, Chris said, they have received positive feedback from
local pet owners.
Adding the pet wash involved a risk because the idea is so new no research
demographics are available, said Doug. The states first pet wash
and car wash combo opened only a few weeks ago, taking away the Kiss and
Hugs claim to first, Doug said. Still, the couple can safely say
theirs is the first in the region.
If the pet wash goes well, the couple plans to add another wash tub in
the room, and Chris is considering leasing the room to a pet groomer one
day a week.
Were kicking around a lot of ideas, she said. Will
people use it? That remains to be seen.
Overall, Doug Roberts said, were hoping there are as many
dogs as there are cars in Yellow Springs.