By Leslie Collins
March 7, 2012
Not every laundry mat features a wall of video arcade games, but Chuck Cuda and John Conforti don’t want their customers to become too bored.
“I mean, customers need something to do. No one wants to just sit here and watch their clothes go around in a circle,” Holiday Laundry Co-owner Cuda said.
In addition to the wall of video games, there’s a flat screen TV mounted to the wall, snack machines, plenty of seating and a modern day jukebox.
When co-owners Cuda and Conforti took possession of the laundry mat, 3407 Independence Ave., in May of 2011, the laundry mat looked less than stellar.
“It was a rat hole,” Cuda said. “All of the machines were bad.”
“It was a total dump,” Conforti added. “The dryers were literally 60 years old. No one knew how to work on them. It was a total nightmare.”
In addition to faulty machines, customers walked on a grungy, chipped tile floor and light fixtures were broken or missing. Snack machines stood empty and the change machines were out of order.
For the new owners, this was unacceptable. Together, Conforti and Cuda spent seven months renovating the space, never shutting down the laundry mat. One section at a time, they renovated the space and added new washers and dryers. They fixed the change machine, gave the walls a fresh coat of paint, replaced the flooring, light fixtures and ceiling, and installed new seating. They also installed the video game arcade, TV, jukebox and security cameras.
“Just seeing it transform from the grungy place it was to how it looks now and coming in and having the customers thanking us and telling us, ‘Hey, you guys have done a wonderful job,’ that’s the best part about it,” Cuda said.
Asked why they decided to operate the laundry mat in Northeast, Conforti, said he owns another laundry mat in Kansas City, Kan., and wanted to operate one along Independence Avenue. Cuda, a commercial real estate agent, helped long-time friend Conforti find the space and suggested they become partners in the venture.
“I had no problem with it,” Conforti said. “I’ve known him all of my life. We used to play golf together before I had kids.”
Conforti said their goals for the business are to continue operating a laundry mat that’s bright, clean and safe, and one that customers can enjoy coming to.
“We want to continue to gain respect from the community and gain customers through improvements we make to the building and the business itself,” Cuda said.
Holiday Laundry features 52 washers, 57 dryers and a wash and fold service. The wash and fold service is available seven days a week and costs $1 per pound with a minimum 20-pound requirement. Customers receive same day or next day service. A variety of detergent is also available for purchase and soon, the laundry mat will offer a punch card where the 11th wash is free. Holiday Laundry will now offer a free cup o’ joe, anytime. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday.