The latest business to come to Columbia is taking a high-tech approach to a familiar type of business.
That new establishment is Columbia Laundry, located at 287 Southwoods Center.
“It’s something that’s definitely needed in the community,” said owner-operator Mark Trost, who also noted Monroe County has not seen a new laundromat in years. “We thought we could really make a difference and offer a lot of bigger machines and more technology behind the whole business.”
Trost, who also owns a recently remodeled laundromat in Freeburg, said there are multiple ways Columbia Laundry is on the cutting edge of its industry.
It has washing machines that can hold anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds and dryers that have up to 50-pound capacity.
Those machines are all able to be controlled remotely via the internet, meaning Trost can take machines out of order, start them up and more from his phone to provide better customer service.
The machines are also more efficient in terms of energy use and the time it takes to do a load of laundry, as Trost said people can be in and out within an hour.
“People’s time is valuable,” the Waterloo resident noted. “We took a maximal approach as far as efficiency goes.”
A final high-tech feature of the machines is customers can pay with coins like normal or use an app similar to PayPal.
The amenities at the laundromat are also modern, as there is free Wi-Fi, big screen TVs, automatic locks, LED lights inside and out and a plethora of security cameras.
Making all that happen took about a year, as Trost used local contractors to convert three bays at Columbia Car Care Center, which he also owns, into the laundromat.
“It was a pretty big project,” Trost said. “We had to go to the architect and there was a mechanical engineer involved.”
Two bays of the self-service car wash are still open and operational.
That work has now paid off, as the laundromat is ready to serve customers from 5 a.m. to midnight.
“If you want a nice, clean, secure environment to come to, that’s what we put out there,” Trost said.
For more information, visit facebook.com/ColumbiaIllinoisLaundry or call 314-420-1477.