REPUBLIC - Out of a Republic native's experience as a dog owner is coming the newest enterprise in this village.
Nick Laibe, who has owned Mad River Car Wash, 201 N. Kilbourne St., for the past six years, is adding a dog wash and laundromat to the site. Both are to open Friday.
His dog, Rocko, a rottweiler/shepherd mix, had an encounter with a skunk, and the need to clean the pooch - away from the family bath - prompted Laibe's interest in a dog wash business.
"I saw one in the Shelby-Mansfield area six or seven years ago," Laibe said. "They are getting more popular. I've received a lot of input, people asking when I'll get it done."
The equipment was purchased from America's Water Systems of Attica, which also provided the equipment for Laibe's car wash.
Owner Fred Darling said America's Water Systems also provided dog wash equipment for Fort Ball Car/Dog Wash in Tiffin and will be providing the same for a dog wash in Bellevue.
One of the three car wash bays is being used to make room for the additions. Laibe said he used local materials and workers to build the addition.
The dog wash has a wash table with a pull-out ramp to allow larger dogs to walk up to it. It is heated and air conditioned, and provides tub disinfectant, flea and tick preventative tearless shampoo, conditioner, warm water rinse, and a water extractor and dryer - plus a product to remove the odor of a skunk..
The laundromat will contain two coin-operated washers and dryers each, which Laibe said will be convenient for the village because there is no laundromat there now.
Laibe has created a means to be innovative and energy efficient by building his own solar heating source for his hot water during nine months of the year, significantly reducing his energy bills.
He also noted the business was named in response to information he learned about the history of the site.
"When we were tearing the original building down to build the car wash, a man came along and said, 'Do you know what that building used to be?'" Laibe said. "It was a ticket booth, when the trains came through they would stop here on the way to Tiffin. The rail was parallel to SR 18. The railway started in Sandusky. That's where I got its name."
The business is open 24 hours.