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Bringing a Laundromat-Cafe Vision to Life (Conclusion)

Pandemic paused project completion by a few months

EVERETT, Wash. — When someone enters Bims Laundry Cafe, they’re struck by an attractive interior featuring modern décor and lighting, along with comfortable tables and chairs. They’re greeted by the smell of coffee and fresh-baked falafel, which may make them feel like they’re in a trendy coffee shop/cafe.

But the walls of gleaming commercial laundry equipment visible beyond the front section of the store make it clear that this is no ordinary cafe. It’s also a state-of-the-art Laundromat.

Owner David Swissa envisioned creating a warm and welcoming space that would not only provide an essential service but also function as a community gathering place. He turned to laundry specialist Rick Hall and his team at Western State Design to help make it a reality.

COVID-19 DELAYS OPENING BY THREE MONTHS

For the laundry portion of his laundry-cafe, Swissa decided to buy four 20-pound washers, four 30-pound washers, five 40-pound washers, four 60-pound washers, two 90-pound washers, seven stack dryers with 30-pound pockets and five stack dryers with 50-pound pockets, all from Dexter Laundry.

Swissa also decided to utilize the company’s DexterLive management system, including the DexterPay payment app.

He was hesitant about ordering the large-capacity washers at first but is now glad that he did. He says they’re the most-used machines in his store.

“Single guys come into the Laundromat and don’t want to be bothered sorting their laundry, so they’re happy dumping one big load into one of the big Dexter washers and getting it done all at once,” he says.

Inevitably, this project hit a few bumps in the road on its way to completion. Swissa spent almost a year trying to find just the right space, in the right neighborhood. He finally found a location in a busy shopping center featuring popular businesses such as a drug store, a hardware store, and a 24-hour recreation center.

The biggest challenge was ill-fated timing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Swissa signed his lease in October 2019 and immediately started renovating the space, with a plan to open the store in early April. But when the pandemic hit the area in early March, his subcontractors stopped coming to work and the renovation ground to a halt. In addition, many city workers were furloughed, making it impossible to get permits and schedule inspections. So he had to wait.

Swissa says that it was eerily quiet during that period. The shopping center’s huge 300-space parking lot was largely empty, and there were few people out and about.

He finally opened the doors to Bims Laundry Cafe in mid-July. He says customers rave about the business in person and in online reviews. Their comments frequently touch on the brand-new laundry equipment and Bims’ customer service. Other high points include the ambience, amenities and cleanliness.

Swissa says he’s pleased with how the store turned out and that his regular customer base is growing quickly. He manages the store himself with help from family members, so there’s always someone on hand to address customers’ needs.

And that falafel? He makes it himself from scratch using fresh, all-natural ingredients. He’s proud to explain that his falafel is baked, not fried, which means it’s healthy and nutritious as well as delicious.

So for the customer who wants to enjoy a tasty snack or a gourmet coffee while washing their clothes, Bims Laundry Cafe checks all the boxes.

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.