Not your mom’s laundromat: Eco-friendly laundry attracts customers from all over
By ALLISON ESPIRITU
Snoqualmie Valley Record Reporter
March 10, 2010 · Updated 9:19 AM
Father-daughter team Tod Johnson and Kerrie Roetcisoender are cleaning Carnation’s laundry one green-friendly load at a time.
Johnson saw a need for a ‘good laundromat’ and opened the Tolt Laundry Company, 3941 Tolt Ave. in 2008 when Carnation’s sewer system made it possible.
Raising nine children, Johnson said his family learned to do more things with less. That’s the philosophy behind his business.
For Tolt Laundry Company, that meant securing the most energy- and water-efficient equipment that they could get their hands on.
“This isn’t your mother’s laundromat,” he said.
The business has $280,000 dollars worth of equipment — washers, dryers, high-efficiency lights, a solar collection system for the water heaters and a lint collection system. According to Johnson, the business uses 60 percent less water than a comparable laundry.
While their biggest machine can take 60 pounds of dry clothes and small machines charge about $1.60 per load, Roetcisoender said customers are in and out in about an hour and 15 minutes.
The solar collection system provides about half the energy for heat that the laundry needs, even in the Northwest’s cool, cloudy climate.
Using his background in industrial construction, Johnson installed a lint collection system that is more typical for hotels. It prevents lint residue from flying all over Carnation and into neighbors’ backyards.
Circulating the lint into tubes that drop the residue in garbage cans, the system not only keeps the waste indoors, it keeps it out of their air conditioning system, allowing that system to increase its lifespan by decades.
Customers come from as far as Renton and make a trip to the laundry a family outing.
“People love the laundromat and love the experience of coming here,” said Roetcisoender, a Duvall resident.
“They have family out here, so they purposely come here because the laundromat is so much nicer than what they have,” she said. “They get to spend time with their family while doing chores.”
Roetcisoender finds many families using their facility for bigger laundry items such as sleeping bags and comforters.
Serving a large population of families with children, about half of whom are Latino, Johnson said directions on the machines are in English and Spanish. They provide a television with a Spanish-language channel for families waiting for laundry to dry.
At the children’s play area, which helps youngsters stay entertained, Johnson found an old dryer front and remodeled it to fit a TV.
Open at 7 a.m. and closed by 10 p.m., the laundry doors automatically open and lock.
Machines are coin-operated, as everyone understands coins.
“The way my dad built it, it runs so efficiently,” Roetcisoender said. “Very rarely do we have problems. If we have a quarter jam, we’ll fix it within 10 minutes since my dad lives five minutes away.”Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Reporter Allison Espiritu at aespiritu@valleyrecord,com or 425-888-2311.