By MATT WELCH, The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) — Kim Craig wanted to create a revitalized space for people to do their laundry.
So, she opened Let’s Get Fresh Laundromat, which operates on the “honor system.”
Craig said the building was once a laundromat “many, many years ago.” After buying the property, she turned one side into an apartment and the other side into a new laundromat.
“I thought, why not revitalize the idea of a laundromat? I like to be community-oriented in things I do, so I thought, why not make a nice, clean, contemporary laundromat,” she said. “I did my best on that part so people would feel safe with lots of lights and security.”
Craig said she researched ways to run a laundromat and decided to give the honor system a try.
“All the washers and dryers are there for use and across from them is a Square (digital payment system) where you check yourself out,” Craig explained. “Customers load up their cart and swipe their card and it checks them out. There’s also a mailbox for people to put cash in.”
When a customer comes to the door, they send a text to get a keyless door code. That code gives customers access to the laundromat’s coinless machines and products. The customer will keep the code as long as they are a good steward of the establishment.
Craig said she doesn’t have any reservations about using the honor system.
“I really think, for the most part, do the right thing, because it feels good to do the right thing. A couple people here and there might get away with something, but as long as my numbers add up to pay the bills, I’m pleased. I really believe if you make the space look good and clean, people are going to want to pay for the service.”
Let’s Get Fresh charges $5 to wash and dry a single load of laundry. If you just want to wash or dry a load, it’s $3. Additionally, it’s $3.75 to steam and press clothing on two LG Stylist Steam Machines. Customers can steam and press up to five or six pieces per cycle. Tide Pods are available for customers to purchase from a vending machine for $1.
The space also offers snacks, a coffee bar and a place to sit and do homework or research on a Mac computer.
“I think it turned out exactly like I wanted it to,” Craig said. “I like to buy buildings and refurbish them. Downtown Winchester is more historical, but I like to come at it with a more contemporary look — it just sort of reflects my personality.”
Craig said she has not-so-pleasant memories of using a basement laundromat when she was a child, so she wanted this space to be more inviting.
She also understands it fulfills a community need.
“I’d read that most people who use a laundromat are typically on the lower socioeconomic scale, and I want everyone who uses our laundromat to feel respected. You have to use a laundromat if you don’t have a washer and dryer; it’s a necessity,” she said. “I’ve really been enjoying getting to know the customers. It’s been rewarding to feel like they’re happy to be there.”
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