BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The past three months have seen the corner of Avenue L and 37th Street go through transitions of demolition to construction, but Turbo Wash owner Eric Freitag said he hopes to have his new car wash and dog wash open by the beginning of February.
Freitag said rebuilding the car wash was a reinvestment in the city with a price tag of a half a million. He said it’s important that businesses do what they can to help Fort Madison grow.
The new facility will have a large solar presence on the south roof, as Freitag worked with Mike Mohrfeld of Mohrfeld Electric on adding the panels.
“Fort Madison has been so good to me and it was time to reinvest,” he said, “We’re trying to keep Fort Madison moving. I talked with Mike Mohrfeld and we want to continue to invest in Fort Madison. We have kids growing up here and we want to help keep that growth going for them.”
The new wash will have six bays, including four self-serve bays, one automatic lane and a detail bay on the east side of the wash. The west side will feature a unique offering for Fort Madison residents – a dog wash.
Freitag said he’d heard of other car washes in the region adding the bays as an additional service. He ran across the idea again at a convention and decided it was a good time to bring it to Fort Madison.
“You go to these conventions and you see all those ideas that kind of work hand-and-hand with car washes and so many people have dogs,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, this is a prime time to add it.”
The dog bay will be complete with a tub and shower hoses with selections for the wash, very similar to the car wash. Customers would buy time on the system and wash the animal and would even be able to blow dry their pet.
“I think what started it was that certain car washes had too many bays,” Freitag said, “This gives them options to turn a self serve bay into another option. I think that’s how it started out. I think they realized it’s more of a service that you want to do all year around. We’ll close it, heat it, cool it and make it a year-round service. Some owners are putting ice machines on the property because that creates extra revenue.”
Right now the framing and cement walls are up including the wall coverings. Equipment is starting to come in and Freitag said he hopes the warmer weather predicted for next week allows for some work to be done.
Freitag has owned the facility for 10 years and said it was originally built in the 50s and couldn’t keep up with today’s demand.
“I’ve had it going on 10 years now. The automatic was really starting to show age and the facility was showing age. The automatic was small and hard for customers to navigate and didn’t accept credit cards. It wasn’t user friendly and it was old. It was built in the 50s so it was time to update.”
Even the floors in the new facility will be kept warm with tubing running through them filled with antifreeze that runs through an exchange.
“Its going to be very economical, the concrete forms have an insulation factor so it won’t take anything to heat it. It will be a very energy efficient system,” he said.
And the solar panels on the southern pitch of the roof should just about pay for the energy needed to run the building.
The new bays will also accept wireless forms of payment in debit and credit cards as well as cash and tokens.
He said he plans on doing a grand opening in the spring when the weather is nicer.