ELKINS, W. Va. — Every year, across many neighborhoods in the country, a new Laundromat opens its doors, ready to answer the laundry needs of those in the community.
But before the first washer is loaded, much work, preparation and planning has to be taken care of to ensure the success of the coin laundry.
Some will spend a month or two applying a fresh coat of paint and investing in a few equipment upgrades before they open their doors, while others will spend months upon months gutting and completely rehabbing a space to make it their own.
Some operators start completely from scratch, scouting the ideal location and building their dream coin laundry from the ground up.
Here, you will read about the process several store owners took to draft and establish their ideal coin laundry—from concept and design, to the renovation and construction work, and to the long-awaited day when they could finally open the doors.
Though each took a different path, all tell tales of how hard work led them to design their own success.
SIS’ CLOTHES SPIN LAUNDROMAT
A two-hour drive northeast from West Virginia’s capital of Charleston lies the city of Elkins, home to Sis’ Clothes Spin Laundromat, and what Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says, to the best of his knowledge, is the first “fully accessible Laundromat in the state,” according to Maytag Commercial Laundry.
Owner Clif Schoonover’s motivation for the store was Ryan Dasher, son of girlfriend Brenda Dasher. Ryan became a wheelchair user at age 12 due to a rare neurological disorder, says Maytag.
“I wasn’t concerned with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance until it became a priority for my son,” says Brenda. “When something happens to you or a loved one, you start paying attention. You make adjustments to ensure there’s an opportunity to experience all life has to offer.”
With the help of Tim Jackson, sales manager for Hildreth’s Commercial Laundry Equipment, Schoonover and Ryan spent six weeks designing the 2,400-square-foot ADA-compliant store, with the goal of making it 100% accessible to those in wheelchairs, as well as those with other disabilities, says Maytag.
Built from the ground up, the store was up and running in eight months, officially opening in August. Schoonover chose to not disclose the cost of the overall project.
With the assistance of Hildreth’s Commerical Laundry Equipment, the store’s ADA-compliant equipment mix includes 11 Maytag Commercial Laundry multi-load stack dryers (MLG45), four Maytag Commercial Laundry Energy Advantage dryers (MDG78), 10 Maytag Commercial Laundry Rigid-Mount 40-pound mutli-load washers (MFR40), six Maytag Commercial Laundry Rigid-Mount 60-pound multi-load washers (MFR60), and seven ADA-compliant single-load front-load washers (MHN30).
In addition to ADA-compliant washers and dryers, Sis’ Clothes Spin Laundromat is designed so that Ryan can manage the business by himself, according to Maytag.
The company explains that the water shut-offs and electrical boxes are within his reach, as is the change machine. Also, there is plenty of room for him to get his wheelchair behind the dryers, if necessary.
The folding tables are also 36 inches off the ground, making them easily accessible for chair users, as well as others, to fold laundry.
In addition to catching the attention of other business in the area, the project has “turned many heads and opened eyes to the need for truly ADA-compliant stores,” Maytag says.
“As a result of Sis’ Clothes Spin Laundromat, other businesses are very interested in making their stores more easily accessible for those with disabilities,” adds Maytag.
Check back throughout the month for more Designing Success: Portraits of Memorable Coin-Ops!
Store owners, do you have a unique story to tell about your laundry? Equipment manufacturers, distributors or suppliers—did you play a part in the creation of a new store, or in giving an existing store new life? Send me an e-mail at [email protected] with all the details!