GJ Daily Sentinel Sept 13, 2018
By Joe Vaccarellie
By Eddie Anthony's own account, he should be dead, or spending his life in jail.
A little more than a decade ago, Anthony was homeless and mostly slept under a bush near St. Mary's Medical Center. He was addicted to drugs and begged God to kill him nearly every night.
"I was a junkie. The worst of the worst, you know?" he said.
But then Anthony met Holly, the woman who would become his wife.
They moved in together and she encouraged Anthony to get a job. But just prior to the economic downturn in 2008, he was laid off and was left scrambling to find something different.
Then he found an idea after his brother offered a friend $50 to pick up dog poop from his backyard. Anthony volunteered for the job and found another friend who offered the same deal. After placing an ad in The Nickel want ads to pick up a yard, he received a call from his first customer who asked him to come back every week and pick up poop.
Now, Oopsie Poopsie is celebrating its 10th anniversary and Anthony, 39, has two other full-time employees on his staff. Between the three of them, they clean more than 100 yards per day, five days a week in the Grand Valley, Delta and, now, Montrose. And he hopes to branch out farther east when he can.
Anthony was initially surprised there was such a demand for this business, but once he realized there was a need, he was determined to see it take off.
"I was going to make it this way. It's all I had going for me," Anthony said. "When I put an ad out, people were already looking for it."
The going rate is $39 per month for four visits. The limit is three dogs and up to an acre of land. However, Anthony has been known to help out the elderly or disabled for no charge. He's also been hired by several property management companies and HOAs to clean up areas and change out dog waste stations along trails.
Gina Cantrell is one of Oopsie Poopsie's longest customers. She has Anthony come out twice a week to both her home, where she has two dogs, and her real estate office, where she and an employee each bring their two dogs every day.
"I thought it would be a good thing to do," Cantrell said. "It's something you have to do every week to keep your yard nice and clean and keep the neighbors happy. We work an awful lot so it was difficult."
Most of the time Anthony just comes and goes, but sometimes he stops in and chats. When he's finished cleaning a yard, he leaves a note that says to call if the clients find anything he missed.
Cantrell said Anthony also picks up her neighbor's yard for free, as the homeowner is blind.
"I can tell you that Eddie is the salt of the earth," she said. "He is one of the nicest people I've ever met."
Anthony started with a tri-colored Honda Accord. Now, he has a truck complete with a sign and logo for the business, designed by another longtime customer.
The back of the truck is full of bags of poop contained in a rubber bin. He takes the bin to the landfill each day. He said Oopsie Poopsie's drop-off record is 1,300 pounds of poop in a day.
One of Anthony's employees is his nephew, Jermaine Long, who works five days a week and cleans between 30 and 35 yards per day. He's been with the company now for about a year and a half and had been asking his uncle for a job for some time.
Now, he's happy to see all of Anthony's work paying off.
"I'm actually really proud of him. He made our whole family proud. Even through the hard times, he worked as hard as he can. He doesn't stop," Long said. "Things just keep getting better and better for him. He's one of hardest working people I know."
Anthony credited his family, along with his wife, for believing in him, even through his toughest times. While he knows he wronged many people who were close to him when he was addicted to drugs, Anthony said his family continued to forgive him and supported him as he launched the business.
As he thinks back on when he would beg God to kill him, he said instead he now thanks God daily and said he has learned the world operates in a different way.
"You can't just beg God for stuff," Anthony said. "You have to get out there and do it."