Users of a decades-old coin-operated laundromat on River Road are smiling now that new owners Michael and Fawn Welker have infused new life into the 1,800-square-foot location.
Michael Welker said conditions were deteriorating in the 20-year-old facility.
“From the tile all the way to the bathroom was out of order,” he said. “There was no public restroom. The toilet and sinks weren’t hooked up; the washer and dryers were stealing people’s money.”
Welker said users had complained that previous owners had been non-responsive to their concerns. In one instance, Welker said flooding occurred into the adjacent insurance agency’s office because the plumbing wasn’t up to code.
“We did spend a considerable amount of resources, bringing a lot of things up to code,” he said. “We made the bathroom more user-friendly to accommodate those in wheelchairs.”
Welker said he and his wife were looking for an opportunity to make a better income. When the opportunity presented itself to purchase City Laundry, they took it.
In the past, he’s owned and managed several coin laundries in Arizona. Welker’s parents, William and Roberta, are co-owners.
The family-owned business is called Legacy Laundry. Located at 721 River Road in the River Road Plaza shopping center, the facility includes 23 Wascomat washers and 24 Electrolux dryers, all manufactured by the Sweden-based Electrolux company known for its focus on durability and energy efficiency.
“We wanted to increase people’s ability to do laundry quickly by having enough machines for everyone, so they wouldn’t have to wait,” Welker said. “Almost like doing laundry at home. We’re keeping it clean while lowering the impact to the environment.”
Welker said the washers are run by an inverted motor which feeds a little bit of power at a time and slowly ramps up the motor to full speed, thus avoiding power surges. And washers use less water, he said.
Welker said the dryers reverse direction to keep the linens and garments from tangling. The dryers allow the air to flow through, dialing back the level of heat if the clothes are dry before the end of the cycle.
As a result, they prevent clothes from burning.
The Welkers said they plan to immerse themselves in the new business.
“We want to get to know the community and the people who are our patrons,” Michael Welker said. “We want to help them to know that, as owners, we want to be there if there are any problems, and that we have their back.”
Legacy Laundry opened March 3. Welker said free Wi-Fi is available, and music will soon add to the ambiance.
“We want our users to feel comfortable and relaxed,” he said.
Joseph Capron, who went to Legacy Laundry to wash a load of clothes last week, said he was impressed with the equipment.
“It’s a lot better than what it was,” he said.
Laura Hanes visited from Bonney Lake to wash her clothes.
“I like that it’s a bright location and very clean,” she said. “It’s a huge difference from other places we’ve been.”
Legacy Laundry is located at 721 River Road. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week. The last load is at 8 p.m. For more information, call 253-446-6176.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.