An Akron business that's in its 130th year of cleaning and pressing garments for its customers has added a new spin to its services.
City Cleaners Dry Cleaning and Laundry opened a laundromat Feb. 8 at 1608 W. Market St. in the Wallhaven commercial district.
The self-service operation, which is within a mile of hundreds of apartments on the city's west side, fills a void in the neighborhood that was created when a coin laundry closed around the early 2000s at the nearby Westgate Plaza. Another 152 apartments are planned as part of a new development at 120 S. Hawkins Ave., just a few blocks to the south of the site. In the absence of a laundromat, residents' nearest coin laundry options had been Highland Square and the Merriman Valley.
The addition of the laundromat expands the footprint of City Laundry at the address, taking over an adjacent space that had been vacated by an electronics repair business and, before that, a series of bank branches including U.S. Bank, Star Bank and TransOhio.
The new laundromat is equipped with high-tech steel washers and dryers, but "coin laundry" has become a bit of a misnomer; customers can also pay for services at the individual units using credit cards.
Users can also download the Fascar app to alert them on their cellphones when their laundry cycles are completed. That allows visitors to grab a bite at nearby restaurants, pop into Acme Fresh Market or Whole Foods for groceries, visit other shops or just cross West Market Street for some outdoors time at Hardesty Park.
"I was asked multiple times about opening up a laundromat," said owner Jeff Sitz, 38, who is in the fourth generation of his family to run City Cleaners. "To me, it seemed like there was a need for it in the community."
Offering self-service cleaning is a step in a new direction for a business accustomed to handling the heavy lifting and labor for its customer base, including free pickup and delivery services.
"The community so far has responded very well to the opening of the place," he said. "Lots of people come by during the evenings and weekends."
The laundromat also features a children's area with a bookshelf that doubles as a free library; the donated new and gently used books are available for kids to take home and keep if they pick up a title that they can't put down. In a Facebook post, the company said it is accepting children's book donations for the shelf at all of its locations. City Cleaners also has dry cleaning shops in Fairlawn, Green, Wadsworth and Hartville.
City Cleaners continues to focus on its professional dry cleaning and laundry service as its main operation, and also offers several other community services, including:
• A complimentary shirt, suit and tie cleaning for the job-seeker who presents a resume.
• Cleaning all American flags free of charge.
• Collecting gently used or "nearly new" formal dress donations for financially challenged high school students through the Glass Slipper Mission in conjunction with Nolas Day Spa and Salon.
For more information about the laundromat, call 330-864-9722.
Brandon Bounds can be reached at 330-996-3762 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Bounds on Twitter at brandonbounds_.