In 1934, four electric washing machines were rented in Texas, creating the first-ever laundromat. Since then, laundromats have grown to reflect the communities they serve, sometimes becoming a neighbourhood meeting place for regulars and other times a one-stop-shop for vacationers passing through. There are now more than 540 laundromats in BC alone.
Revelstoke’s new Washateria at 409 1st St. was initially founded in 1962 as King Koin Laundrette. Recently purchased by Brittany Bednarz, the refurbished and relaunched business has been servicing the community for almost 60 years. With a home-town feel and connection to the neighbourhood, the well-established laundromat has kept a foot firmly planted in its history and the other in the modern conveniences needed by its customers.
“We have updated the old and brought the business into the 21st century,” says Bednarz. Those updates now include the ability to accept debit, credit, Apple Pay and electronic invoicing.
Also added to the roster are new vending machines with eco-free products. Free Wi-Fi and charging ports for all devices, a rewarding loyalty program, and residential and commercial services are other conveniences customers will enjoy. Personal services such as washing, folding, pickup and mending remain.
The new décor reflects the respect Bednarz has for previous owners. With old antiques, such as soapboxes and washboards, the past is celebrated. Bednarz is the fifth owner since 1962. Donna Hanna first started the business and rebranded it to Family Laundry in 1969. Other previous owners include Laura Weedon, Denise Markstrom, and Anna and Rudy Sessa.
“For 60 years, women have managed this business,” says Bednarz, who is no stranger to entrepreneurship. She also owns and operates Millennial Maid, which services the residential, commercial and vacation property industry.
“The Washateria is an extension of our other services,” she says.
“Laundry is recession-proof. People need clean clothes,” says Bednarz. “It may not be the most glamorous business, but it is a vital, essential service.”
The Washateria is opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. The personal services are opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Follow them on Instagram at @the.washateria.revelstoke.