By DAVID GREEN
The recent closure of Morenci’s Laundromat brings to mind the precarious situation that many small communities face. When an important service is gone, many residents head out of town to fill their needs. They take with them their dollars that could be spent locally.
It’s hard for anyone under the age of 60 to remember when every small town had most anything a person needed. Clothing store, car dealer, jewelry store, appliance store, hotel, cabinet shop, shoe store, dry goods shop, variety store, farm implement dealer, etc. In many cases, there were two or more choices in each category.
As society became increasingly mobile, making a living by operating a small-town business became more and more difficult. Today, only the most basic services generally remain, and even those grow increasingly rare. With each business gone, other merchants are affected by the loss.
A 2002 Census Bureau report found that 80 percent of Americans now own a washing machine. That still leaves dozens and dozens of area families who depend on the services offered by a Laundromat. Even those who own a washer and dryer occasionally make use of a Laundromat for extra large items or when their own appliance is broken.
At Morenci’s laundry facility, Ohio license plates were often in the parking lot, showing the value of the business to residents in the surrounding area. That, in turn, shows the value of the business to other merchants in town. If someone drives to Morenci to wash clothing, they’re likely to buy something at the grocery or the hardware store or from a restaurant.
The owner of Morenci’s Laundromat hopes to have the business back in operation soon, but he’s not interested in doing it himself. A new owner will have to be found. Meanwhile, a lot of people will be heading for Adrian, Wauseon or Lyons to clean their clothing. That loss will trickle down to other business owners and make it just a little harder to maintain the vital services that every small town needs.
Is there anyone out there interested in owning a Laundromat?– January 5, 2006