Up until recently, those living on Pine Island without the luxury of home laundry facilities were hard pressed to find a place to take their wash. Many were made to bundle up their laundry and lug it somewhere off the island, but now they need only travel as far and the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza. Now open is Island Laundry and Dry Cleaning.
“We noticed last May that the laundromat at the plaza had been closed, but at that time we hadn’t quit decided to buy it,” said co-owner Karen Garside. “Recently however, we decided to negotiate with the property owner to get the business up and running again. Our goal for the new laundromat is to make sure that it has a clean and friendly atmosphere.”
Karen and her husband Ken Garside relocated to the area five years ago from Massachusetts when Ken sold his business to retired to the Pine Island area.
“We have been coming to Florida for vacations for many years and about 10 years ago we stumbled over Pine Island and fell in love with it,” Karen said. “It is our hope to own a home in St. James City and become true islanders.”
The couple spent several weeks cleaning and improving the old facility.
“It was a big job, but we had a lot of great people who pitched in to help us clean and paint,” Ken said. “We are very pleased with the way the place turned out and we hope that the islanders will like what we’ve done.”
A drop off and pick up area for dry cleaning customers is located at the front of the building as is a small consignment shop.
“We weren’t really sure what we were going to do with the space at the front of the store until we were approached to open it up as a consignment shop,” said Ken. “We are willing to try different things and fill any niche that needs to be filled. We are always open to suggestions.”
In the laundromat, patrons will find several over-sized Whirlpool washers and dryers and, according to Garside, a washed and dried load of laundry will cost $3 per load. For those who would rather have their laundry done for them, Island Laundry offers a wash, dry and fold service for a reasonable price.
“We are making an effort to make the laundromat a pleasant place to come to. Nobody really likes to do laundry, but we hope they will feel comfortable while they are here,” said Ken. “So far the people who have come in are very pleased with what we have done and are happy with what they see.”
According to Ken, the laundromat is never unattended and he is very meticulous about maintaining a clean and safe environment.
When we lived up north I owned and managed a restaurant and I treat this place in much the same way,” Ken said. “Every night all of the machines get wiped down and we clean the floors and bathroom to make sure it is presentable for the next day. Our plan is to be here for a very long time and we hope the islanders will support us.”
Ken said that he felt that the dry cleaning service created a good balance with the laundromat.
“We think it is a good balance an compliments one another. The dry cleaning is sent out to our other laundromat in Naples and if we get anything we can’t handle here we send it out if that is what it takes to get the job done,” he said.
Island Laundry and Dry Cleaning is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 282-8287.
Islanders won’t have to trudge off-island to do washing chores as Island Laundry and Dry Cleaning is now open at the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza at the island center.