For most people, laundromats are typically and understandably associated with the simple task of doing one’s laundry and leaving. However, one such business in Lansing, Michigan, was the site of a lot more than that on a recent Monday.
In mid-January, the All Washed Up Laundromat in Lansing saw a group of volunteers come together to do something nice for the homeless population of the city: Washing their clothes, according to a report from Central Michigan television station WILX. The three-hour event was a smashing success, in which volunteers lent some quarters and manpower to do more than 100 loads of laundry to the area’s disadvantaged residents. It seems people were more than willing to pitch in several dollars and a few hours of their time each because of how much it could mean to others.
“If you think about it, it’s maintenance of your car or doing your laundry or paying your electric bill or something, it sometimes takes food off the table,” Mike Karl, who founded the group Homeless Angels and organized the event, told the station. “We wanted to do something simple, something easy that would give back to the community and doing your laundry service is one of them.”
A big community benefit
Whether people in the general public realize it or not, laundromats have long been something of a local gathering place, where residents might see any of the same people a few times a month, but not necessarily learn anything about them. With this in mind, more laundromat owners are trying to do more with their space than simply allow people to wash their clothes for a small price. While some are converting a portion of their floor space into cafes or bars, others are using them as community centers, or for religious gatherings.
And while the financial benefits of doing just about anything to increase foot traffic for more or less any business is obvious, the positives for laundromats may extend even beyond that. Making a company feel more like an active part of the community can do more to ensure ongoing success than just providing a few additional amenities to patrons might. As a result, the more that can be done in this area – outreach – the better off a laundromat is more likely to be in the long run.