Imagine this… you are doing your laundry, drinking a coffee and checking your emails on your computer while the kids are watching a video. Kind of sounds like home, except it isn’t. It is a commercial laundromat in the centre of Sooke with 50 high efficiency washers and dryers where you can finish a load in one hour. All of this after you have run your car through the car wash without ever getting out of the driver’s seat.
This is the plan being worked on by JCB Holdings, who is Bruce Logan and Jerry Liedtke. They are also the owners of the Village Food Market mall.
Doug Wittich is the front man doing all of the leg work to get this development up and running.
“A grocery stores solidifies that you’re in a town and a laundromat solidifies it a second time,” said Wittich.
The whole concept is far more advanced than back in the 1990s when a laundromat was located at the corner of Church and Sooke Roads and all of the waste water ran straight into the harbour. The new development will be energy and water efficient, high tech and a social centre.
He said right now, all of our water goes into the storm drains, but with this new concept the water will be completely enclosed and will be treated once before it goes into the sewer thereby avoiding putting chemicals into the ocean.
“That’s a big part of it.”
Wittich said the Sooke Family Resource Society had carried out a feasibility study and survey and found the need was definitely there for both a car wash and a laundromat.
“The feasibility study was successful enough,” said Wittich. “But it was beyond the Sooke Family Resource Society to consider with the cost and size. That’s how we got started. It was clear that it was required and it was clear that if it was not done correctly it would simply fail. The need is huge.”
He mentioned people in the community of Shirley who have limited water, people in rental suites with no access to laundry and dark and dingy basements where laundry facilities exist.
The bright, well lit 3,000 sq. foot laundromat will be the biggest on Vancouver Island with 50 high tech computerized energy efficient machines, using one-third the amount of water used by a home washing machine. It will have a coffee shop/cafe, children’s play room with toys, televisions and videos on a loop, WIFI and television in the main laundry area. A full one-day drop off laundry service and dry cleaning drop off complements the laundromat. Add to that a website where you can check to see if there is a machine available. It will be fully manned and operate the same hours as Village Foods.
“It’s a bright, clean, safe, open concept place with automatic doors,” said Wittich. “JCB made it clear that they want it to be the best and comfortable for everyone.”
The car wash will have both a touchless and a soft-touch drive through and a couple of bays with wands where customers can wash their ATVs, boats, trailers, recreation vehicles, etc. These systems use less water and less chemicals and the client can decide which system they want to use. It will use a card system, much like a punch card which you can fill with any amount of money.
“This system will use the greatest technology available,” said Wittich. “There’s no use setting up something with five year old technology.”
The cost of this enterprise is well over a million dollars. “The JCB guys live in this community, they brought us the new mall, a modern presence for Sooke. It’s not all about money, it’s about a service being brought here.
“I’m really pumped on this thing,” he said. “I want it to be a place people will not avoid, a lot of effort is being put into the comfort thing. It’s going to be an incredible thing to bring to Sooke.”
Wittich expects the laundromat and car wash to be open in the spring of 2013, pending approval by the District of Sooke.