Laundromats still valued in an age of convenience
A washer and dryer are conveniences often taken for granted, but both Marion County’s coin laundry businesses provide a vital service for those without their own appliances, Hillsboro resident Bob Patterson said.
Sticker shock over appliance costs spurs Patterson to make a weekly trip to Marion Dry Cleaning and Laundry.
“I’d much rather come to the laundromat than to buy one,” he said. “That’s $2,000 right there.”
A laundromat is important in areas where many people rent homes, said Linda Martinez, who owns the Wringer, Peabody’s coin-operated laundromat.
“It’s much easier financially for them to come up with a few dollars each week to do laundry than it is to go out and purchase an appliance,” she said.
Many residents don’t have time to do several loads of laundry a week needed for a large family, Martinez said.
“There are a lot of households that do not have a washer and dryer,” she said. “Especially with families that don’t have a lot of children and they don’t have a lot of time.”
Hillsboro does not have a laundry service, so residents without their own washer and dryer to travel to Marion or Peabody.
Even people who do laundry at home appreciate the service when one of their machines stops working, Patterson said.
“Maybe the people who have washer and dryers at home don’t care about doing wash over here, but sometimes I’ll be doing my laundry and someone’s dryer doesn’t work,” he said. “They’ll wash their laundry at home and then use the dryers.”
Keeping the washer and dryers open 24/7 is a good option because customer needs don’t run on business hours, said Billy Rosiere, who owns Marion Dry Cleaning and Laundry with his wife, Donna.
“People work all day,” he said. “The only chance to clean their clothes might be in the evening after they get home.”
The business is also a social center for many people, Patterson said.
“It’s more than just coming up here and doing laundry,” he said. “You get to see people and talk to them. You might run into people you haven’t seen in a while.”
Rosiere lived in Marion County during the 1950s and ’60s, but said his wife is more likely to chat with customers.
“She gets into visiting with people, especially the ladies who come in,” he said. “Plus, she has a better memory than me.”
Despite being rural businesses with limited populations nearby, both businesses maintain success by catering outside their immediate communities.
The Rosieres’ dry cleaning business takes them to Hillsboro, Council Grove, and Herington to pick up clothes for pressing.
“It’s pretty important since we’re the only dry cleaning in Marion County,” Rosiere said.
Customers appreciate the dry cleaning because they can’t always press their own clothes, Patterson said.
“You need to have services like that,” he said. “Not everybody can afford a steamer for home.”
While the Rosieres bought their business 16 years ago, Martinez has owned Peabody’s coin laundry a year and a half, and it’s been in operation since 2011.
The high efficiency machines and soft water at The Wringer have customers traveling to Peabody from as far away as Newton, Martinez said.
“It’s busier today than when it first started,” she said.
Last modified Jan. 23, 2020