Neatnik's invention gets its doo; Brother of ‘Monk' actor selling dog cleanup device
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MCT) - When it comes to fussiness, no one picks up all the little pieces and arranges them exactly where they belong _ in art and in ordinary life _ like the Green Bay, Wis., Shalhoub boys.
Monk, all in all, would make a pretty good business partner for Tony's real-life brother, Dan, who specializes in an especially finicky type of cleaning and, on the side, has developed an offbeat invention with particular appeal to the germ-averse.
"I'll tell you, I run across a lot of people who are Monk-like because I think everyone is, to one degree or another," Dan said.
And he ought to know. Dan Shalhoub, who grew up in Green Bay with Tony and eight other siblings, makes his living doing one of those picky-picky-picky household chores that require meticulous attention _ cleaning window blinds.
"It's not your average kind of business," he said of his Milwaukee-based firm, White Glove Ultra-Sonic Blind Cleaning. "It's rather odd. Ultra-sonic blind cleaning? What is that?"
What it is is a process that involves taking down the blinds, immersing them in a tank filled with soft water and biodegradable detergent and subjecting them to sound waves that bombard the grime away.
Dan Shalhoub, who can rhapsodize about the beauty of window treatments such as Luminette sheers, has been running White Glove for 21 years.
"And I guess I have my own little quirks," he said.
One of which led to his most recent effort in the careful-cleanup realm, a business venture built on an invention he calls the Sha-Poopie.
THE TROUBLE WITH TERRIERS
Its origins lie in the acquisition by Shalhoub's wife of a West Highland terrier, Pippin. This was strictly a spousal decision. Shalhoub had never owned a dog, never wanted a dog, and confirmed after one walk that he hated cleaning up after a dog.
Revulsion being at least a distant cousin to invention, Shalhoub got a golf-ball retriever with a telescoping handle and rigged a plastic bag to the business end. This he tactfully positioned beneath Pippin's business end as the dog prepared to eliminate, and ...
"Bingo," Shalhoub said. "That was the birth of the Sha-Poopie."
After undergoing design and engineering, the device now features a basket that holds removable plastic liners with snap-shut lids. Fully extended, it looks like a little toilet on a stick.
"I will not walk the dog without this thing," Shalhoub said.
Monk, if he ever could tolerate barking and shedding in the first place, probably would do the same.
Most dog owners, however, have yet to follow Shalhoub's path. In about a year and a half of selling the Sha-Poopie on his Web site ($19.95, with extra liners at $8.95 for 30) and in a few stores, he has moved roughly 300 units.
But he's hopeful. He's gotten help from Tony, who pitched the Sha-Poopie during an appearance on the syndicated "Bonnie Hunt Show."
And there must be some people out there who fear germs, hate dirt, and would no sooner get near doggie doo than they would let a picture hang crooked on a wall.
ON THE WEB
© 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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