Hi Allen, Imo the small rural laundromats are all dieing so I would not pursue anything in a town under 10K people.
A town of 16K people can likely support two similiar laundromats or one very good one. I would definitely not look to build new. I would research and see which is the best location and has the best potential (they may not be the same). Once you’ve honed in on your target, contact the owner any way you can. Unattended stores often have the owners cell number on the wall, that’s the first place I’d look. Other options are property records and speak with the building owner. They may own the mat but if not the mat owner is a tenant so they’ll definitely have their contact info.
Explain that your looking to his new in the community but would consider acquiring an existing store and renovating it. This will get everyone’s attention and create chatter.
From there sit down for lunch with the owner and see if you can work out a win/win for everyone. Don’t assume that price is their only motivation, it often isn’t the case. I hope this helps. Best wishes