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Lakes Area Cooperative adding car wash/pet wash

The Country Carwash will have a similar look to the Lakes Area Cooperative building next door on Third Ave. SW. This drawing shows the two bays and the grain bin area where the pet wash will be located. Courtesy illustration1 / 2
Construction began last week on the Country Carwash, a new business started by the Lakes Area Cooperative. It includes two car wash bays and a self-serve pet wash area. Michael Johnson/Focus2 / 2

Construction workers are digging dirt next to Lakes Area Cooperative this week, which is part of a project to help keep vehicles and pets in the area a little cleaner.

Lakes Area Cooperative recently announced plans to build the Country Carwash next to the Perham Country Store. The new facility includes state-of-the-art technology with both soft touch and touchless car wash options, according to LAC general manager Dale Tellinghuisen

There will even be a spot for a self-serve pet washing station in the project. The cooperative plans to open the business this fall.

The facility continues the agricultural theme as the front of the business will look like a grain bin. But it's also a rather none agriculture project, which isn't something new to the cooperative, according to Tellinghuisen.

"We are a farmer-owned cooperative so this is a little outside of our normal stuff, but not really," he said. He added that the cooperative is still about 70 percent agriculture related.

LAC has a large variety of other services in the area including milk delivery, fuel and propane, feed, farm supplies, convenience stores, a motel, locker plant and agronomy services. They have a reach as far away as Hackensack and sites in between like Ottertail, Park Rapids, Akeley, Fergus Falls and Dent among others.

"We looked at this a couple years," Tellinghuisen said. "We decided the car wash was a good fit."

The LAC board made the decision to go ahead with the project, realizing that the facility won't take any additional staffing and will only require cleaning to be done by current staff. It's potentially a profitable business to help the cooperative bring in more money.

"As a cooperative we have to continually look for new revenue sources," Tellinghuisen said. "So we rely on some consumer businesses that help our cooperative continue to grow."

Soft touch washing involves a rotary cloth but the difference involves different sensors that keep the cloth a certain distance from the vehicles. It's also less abrasive than standard cloth style car washes.

The wash is being built by local contractors and is expected to be completed in September at the earliest. If all goes well, it will be open 24 hours a day.