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Patrick Dougherty

    Showers in Laundromats!

    I’m a Theology major and had an experience on the streets of Los Angeles a big city if you will, while feeding some homeless folks. I always ask if they need any prayer for a need. I make sure I pray right then and there for them. One day a man told me what we all need is a place to take a shower. I asked him what he meant. He said that a Laundromat would be an ideal place to have private truck stop style showers. They have electricity, hot water and are easy access. Of course, I prayed with him for his needs, and his loved ones too.
    With the Covid-19 shutdowns, it is resulted in higher homeless due to many factors primarily economic. The result is that there are simply more people living in their cars than ever before.
    Recently observed something in a Laundromat that had two private pay showers inside. What, you say? I was on vacation in Inyo County California this is a part of the Pacific Crest Trail a popular west coast hiking trail for really serious hikers, and actually came across the only known private Laundromat that had 2 pay showers inside for their customers or the public. The shower access was controlled by the attendant, when they were on site. This was operational when the worker was engaged fluffing and folding.
    This really blew me away, when I saw it, brilliant a win win. I talked with the owner and discovered some very interesting things I would like to share with you. For safety the showers are temporarily closed due to Covid-19 restrictions in the County. However, they expect to open them again soon.
    I don’t have to tell you that Laundromat owners are always looking for cash flow to pay the bills, and things that provide a needed service.
    I will share what the owner said they have a worker “Fluff and Fold” service, and that worker also cleaned the showers. They charge 5.00 per shower and that includes a towel to utilize. Interesting.
    I was recently camping and discovered a campground that charged 3.00 for 7 minutes. They did not provide a towel. But I from the experience discovered that 7 minutes worked well for both men and the women separately that used the shower. It was enough time for both to soap and shampoo. The timer kept things moving along. The average shower total time was about 10-15 minutes total due to dressing and getting their items together.
    For this laundromat, prior to Covid-19 the showers were being used, daily. What? That’s right people were using the showers daily 7 days a week.
    So, in building a new laundromat, or even renovating one, give consideration to adding two or three showers to your plan. Unlike your home, a pay shower a person needs a private space to dress, hang clothes on a hook and sit. Please consider having one that can accommodate a wheelchair. I know this sounds difficult but it’s a lot easier than you think. It’s an ADA shower area with fold up bench and a shower head that can be moved, and it can still be used by a non-challenged person. They are easy to clean too.
    Laundromats have infrastructure for showers already. This could work well especially your area.
    Folks, this is a really good service that generates income. I don’t have to tell you that it all adds up. People who need showers also need to do their clothes, and if you have a one stop shop, it can work for you too. This could easily generate at 5.00 per shower, this could generate more income for you, while providing a needed service.

    Based on this its a win, win. Needed service, that generates income. The local county did not have issue, no planning challenge either.