My husband Markus Eckardt and I (Tanja Eckardt-Radtke) had purchased a multi-family timber-framed farm in Mechernich-Antweiler in December 2014 and were able to move into the largest apartment ourselves in October 2015 after giving notice of termination due to personal need.
In the spring of 2019, my husband and I took the opportunity to purchase the property across the street from our farm along with 2 condemned houses. We needed parking space for us, our tenants and for my husband's meanwhile quite handsome trailer fleet.
On this ground could certainly also find good place the washing station, should it come to an installation?!
Over the summer, not much happened at the new construction site. We waited for the amended land register extract, the power cable from the roof still had to be relocated on the part of Westnetz, and we started clearing out the shelters on the property.
I got in touch with the manufacturer's sales representative for the washing stations at the time and invited him to a site visit. Admittedly, it took a lot of imagination to be able to picture my planning already in finished pictures. The former managing director found it difficult to catch fire for the project as much as the sales representative did after this on-site meeting and various discussions. I had to draw up a kind of business plan to determine whether it would be profitable to set up a €50,000 car wash in a place with 800 inhabitants like Mechernich-Antweiler, and I had to take a certain catchment area into account. "Who is going to do the washing here?" the skeptical decision-maker asked himself with little confidence.
February 19, 2020: The 30 ton excavator arrived and razed the two houses to the ground by evening. For days, my husband and I drove wood and garbage to the waste management center with 2 teams. The excavator processed most of the rubble with a crusher bucket to RCL, i.e. crushed stone material with sand content. For months, we supplied residents of the surrounding villages with substructure material for their construction projects.
In the meantime, the business plan for the washing station had been drawn up, the new power connection ordered and the building permit applied for.
December 2020: Building permit granted!
Due to weather conditions, the main preparatory measures did not start until around May 2021.
The parking area to be paved was excavated, curbs for paving were set and the area was vibrated. The concrete foundation for the parking lot of the washing station was poured.
We were in the final stages of waiting for the electrician and plumber to install the utilities.
Then came the flood!
The next few weeks were spent clearing out the privately leased horse stable in Mechernich-Lessenich and our half-timbered farmstead in Mechernich-Antweiler as well as the property freshly acquired in the spring of 2021 (for my animal feed store).
If only anything in the schedule had worked out better in the past, the car wash would have been destroyed. That would not have been a good start.
Now the craftsmen had other priorities! In August, however, at least the chippings and paving were delivered and we were able to complete the parking area by the end of October. After that, the sidewalk was lowered and repaired. Nobody had replaced the defective sidewalk slabs with new ones after the underground cable was laid. So we repaired the sidewalk on our own initiative. Our own share of the costs for the planning and construction of the parking areas and the preparatory installation for the washing station was around 20,000 € for building materials and craftsmen. Almost everything was done on our own initiative and without wages.
Now the date for the installation of the washing station was set: November 16, 2021. I was so excited! After all these years, from the idea to the planning to the installation, we were really close to the goal. Then the shock! The installation that the crane truck unloaded looked somehow used, had dents and the clear varnish (later it turned out that it was a protective film weathered by UV light) was peeling off. "They must have thought, that's enough for the backwater in the Eifel!", I thought and was really horrified. The manufacturer's fitters became quiet and took their distance. Unfortunately, it was not until after the wash station had been unloaded that it became known via telephone calls that the carrier had not been handed over the new machine at the pick-up point, but a machine that was actually supposed to be sent to France for reconditioning. A few days later, the machine was picked up again. The new date was then to be November 24, 2021.
The brand new washing station was delivered and connected on the deadline. The small 8 kg machine had a defective inlet valve, so it could not start its service until 1-2 weeks later. The large 18 kg industrial washing machine and the 18 kg dryer were immediately very well received and used. I myself use the large machine for my horse blankets and work clothes of my husband.
In the future, pet owners, athletes, workers, but also the ordinary citizen can wash their laundry in Mechernich-Antweiler. The washing machines need (depending on the selected program) about 35 minutes and the dryer is ready from 20 minutes.
The washing station aroused the curiosity of the citizens of Antweiler. One or the other has already used it for bulky textiles or for laundry that simply shouldn't go into their own washing machine. The industrial washing machines wash so quickly and cleanly that people are happy to use them and wait for the laundry while they read a book in the car, watch a movie on their smartphone, have a chat or go shopping at the pet food store in Antweiler. In 2022, an ice cream parlor is scheduled to open a few houses away. Life is coming back to Mechernich-Antweiler, where the last small supermarket (the future Antweiler pet food warehouse, which is currently being continued provisionally in a delivery vehicle and with just-in-time deliveries after the flood until the store is renovated) closed its doors a few years ago due to the retirement of the operator. So in the town center you will find in the future a pet food store, a self-service outdoor washing station, our vacation apartment, the new ice cream parlor, the artist Gina Jacobs and ceramic art by Beate Krupp and Robert Lehrenfeld.
If it weren't for the lack of flood protection measures for Antweiler and an outdated and improperly constructed sewer system along with the feed of the Krebsbach into the canal, one could find a place to feel good in Antweiler due to the fear of further flooding caused by climate-related increasing heavy rainfall events.
A self-service outdoor washing station that covers such a wide range of users is regionally unique in the Euskirchen district. According to my estimates, it is currently used both by pet owners and by people who want to wash their normal laundry. I was surprised at how high the proportion of the latter is. However, this probably also has to do with the countless households that have not yet been restored after the flood disaster.
Laundry can be paid for with debit or credit card as well as cash (suitable coin and note insertion, machine does not change). New: payment with Google Pay and Apple Pay possible.
Access is handicapped accessible and the detergent is environmentally friendly without phosphates, dyes and preservatives.
If the installation of the expensive system is not worthwhile for the manufacturer, the washing station is withdrawn again prematurely before the end of the contract. The person providing the space gets a small commission, from which - depending on the model - he also has to pay the energy costs. We had signed for the variant with energy costs and now just by it a little bit the afterglow. However, I don't see the whole thing as a financial enrichment but as a chance to revive Antweiler a bit, and I myself also profit from the plant in front of the door, but not least perhaps also through one or the other additional animal feed customer. Optionally, we could have bought the plant, but that was not up for discussion.
In case of malfunction, the manufacturer offers a hotline, whose phone number and e-mail address can be found on the washing station. I am happy to help with the operation where we can, but point out that we are not the owner and therefore the responsible parties if there are problems. I am also happy to contact the manufacturer on behalf of the user to clarify any problems.
Professional industrial washing machines guarantee satisfaction !