Jul 30, 2014 9:29 PM by Joanna Wise

Who let the dogs out? Local pet center expands across country

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- Sometimes, people will do the darndest things for their pets. How can you not, when they give you that look? (Yes, we all know what that look is.)

In Dan Remus and Jef Strauss's case, their aging Dalmatian, Geni, led them to start the Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center in Colorado Springs.

"We were feeling really guilty about leaving her home along," said Wag N' Wash Co-Founder Dan Remus, "so we wanted to start a business where she could be by our side."

What better business than a dog-washing service? Remus and Strauss both came from a business background; they both loved their Geni. But they needed some help to get the businesses off the ground.

"We went to many banks in the community to ask for loans to start this business, and they all just kind of rolled their eyes and laughed at us. (They) asked us why we would want to start a business for washing dogs," said Remus.

In 1999, after taking a chance- and taking out a mortgage on their home- Remus and Strauss opened up the first Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center on W. Uintah St. Remus says they might not have had at all the knowledge about the pet industry just yet, but they did have three things: their fingers crossed, hope and ambition. And with that, came some interesting learning experiences.

"One of the first customers to come in that day was a chow, and when they turned the blow dryer on the dog, it was like a hair bomb went off in the store. That was kind of our introduction to the world of dog hair and what a dog wash is like," said Remus.

At Wag N' Wash, the animals are the guests, and it's all about feeding them, washing them and spoiling them. There's a grooming center, a do-it-yourself pet-washing area and a bakery.  

"We have deli goods. We have biscuits. We even customize birthday cakes for people, for different occasions, and a lot of people love that," said Abe Dunaway, the store coordinator.

Wag N' Wash also offers a variety of all-natural pet foods.    

"For us, our four-legged friends, like Geni, are our family," said Strauss. " So, how do we give them a better quality of life?"

That is a question both Strauss and Remus ask themselves when developing the company further.

What was once doubted in the beginning, has become a hit, so much so, they found the need to expand. There are eight Wag N' Wash locations- six in Colorado and two in Arizona. A ninth location will be opening in Minnesota.
"It's really exciting, and it makes us feel proud," said Strauss.

For more information: Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center



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