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A True Texas Gathering Place

Paul Partyka |

SNYDER, Texas  — It’s long been said that coin laundries are many things to many people. Sure, the primary role of the laundry is to allow customers to wash and dry their clothes. But, from a social perspective, coin laundries provide a place for people to get together and develop friendships.Wash Happenin, Purple Sage Motel Laundromat Too takes the social aspect of coin laundries to a whole new level. Wash Happenin is owned by Helen Feinsod and her daughter, Celia. The building is separated, with half of it allocated to the laundry and the other part to the Purple Sage Meeting Place.Both women spend plenty of time at the Snyder, Texas, store. It was designed by Arthur Wechsler, Ed Brown Distributors. Wash Happenin is one of five top-honor stores in the 2007 Coin-Op Beautiful competition.DOING BUSINESSThe Feinsods have a small coin laundry at the motel they own, and decided that it was time to bring a larger coin laundry to Snyder, Celia Feinsod says. The store has been open for about a year. “It’s been a wonderful year,” Celia says.The coin laundry makes good use of its 2,400 square feet, with a nice blend of machines and amenities. It features 24 front loaders (including seven 18-pound washers, six 30-pound washers, six 50-pound washers and one 75-pound unit) and 27 dryer pockets (13 30-pound stacked dryers and one 80-pound dryer). Feinsod says customers seem to favor the larger washers.This is also a card laundry, and the system features voice activation, a wash-to-win system (customer reward option), and credit/debit card acceptance. The English and Spanish voice-prompt system is designed to eliminate the need for excess signage.Wash Happenin is the only card-operated store within a 100-mile radius, and it has been completely accepted by the people of Snyder, the owners say. The store is drawing people from 30 to 40 miles aways.The free-standing, attended store offers drop-off laundry service as well as pickup and delivery. Customer amenities include air conditioning, automatic door entry, a children’s play area and wired/wireless high-speed Internet access.THAT CERTAIN LOOKThe store’s exterior has stone walls with a purple metal roof to match the overall theme and inside decorations. Interior features include a concrete-sealed floor, brightly colored tables and chairs, fluorescent lighting, bright white walls and limited signage. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundant number of flowers and plants.The owners consider the contrast of the white roof and walls to the stainless steel washers and dryers to be one of the laundry’s most attractive features. The sealed concrete floor and the non-cluttered walls are also sure to have customers taking notice, the owners add.LET'S GET TOGETHERThere’s more to Wash Happenin than front loaders and dryers. The other half of the building, also about 2,400 square feet, has been allocated for the Purple Sage Meeting Place.A coin laundry sharing space with a meeting place is unusual. The huge building that houses the two businesses was a tractor supply business before the Feinsods took it over. The Feinsods realized that Snyder was also in dire need of a large meeting place. The women never considered using the building for just a laundry.The “Meeting Place” has become the gathering spot for wedding receptions, private parties, club meetings and other events that require a large area. Crossover business comes into play. Some laundry customers have even reserved the meeting space, she adds.There’s a wall between the two areas, and the meeting space features a high-definition projector that can be connected to a DVD player, laptop, VCR, movie projector and audio system.Both the laundry and “Meeting Place” are wired with several digital surveillance cameras to provide protection for both businesses. The owners can simply go online to view and record what is going on in either place. Like the laundry, this area has wired/wireless high-speed Internet access. “We get all kinds of customers here, from all walks of life. The customers really seem to like things.”COIN-OP BEAUTIFULWash Happenin was one of the top-honor washes in the annual Coin-Op Beautiful competition that was featured in the January issue of American Coin-Op. Nineteen coin laundries were honored in this year's competition. In and Out Wash, Dallas, Texas, was selected as the grand prize winner. The other top-honor washes are:    * Duds N Suds, Cedar Rapids, Iowa    * Monroe Wash & Dry, Monroe, N.Y.    * Laundry & Tan Connection, IndianapolisFourteen stores claimed honorable mention awards.The Coin-Op Beautiful competition is open to all coin laundries, new and old. Profiles of the winning stores will periodically appear on AmericanCoinOp.com and in the pages of American Coin-Op. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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