When you think about a place that offers farm-to-table cuisine from a James Beard Award-nominated chef, fresh coffee creations from a local roaster, and local craft beer and wine by the glass, it’s fair to say the first place that pops into your head probably isn’t a laundromat.
Jay Desai, owner of Green Laundry Lounge, is well aware of how unique — or downright strange — the idea might sound.
“This type of upscale laundromat is something we don’t have anywhere else in all the Carolinas,” he said.
In fact, it’s tough to find a similar concept anywhere else in the country.
Green Laundry Lounge is far more than a laundromat with a cafe inside. Set within The Palms at Brushy Creek, the strip mall development at 3120 Brushy Creek Road just in front of the Brushy Creek Townes townhouse complex, the new laundromat concept aims to redefine what a laundromat can be.
Upon entering the lounge, customers will find themselves in an intimate space made of reclaimed wood and recycled metal designed by Greenville-based architect Johnston Design Group.
The lounge will offer cafe-style food from David Porras, the culinary mind behind the James Beard Award-nominated restaurant Oak Hill Cafe, with a menu focused on American-Indian fusion cuisine and food sourced from local farms.
“This type of upscale laundromat is something we don’t have anywhere else in all the Carolinas.” – Jay Desai, owner, Green Laundry Lounge
Coffee will be supplied by Greenville-based Due South Coffee Roasters, with a variety of pastries and other coffee cafe fare.
Local craft beer and wine by the glass will be a served in the lounge or outside on the patio, sitting on furniture from Greenville-based woodworker Soteria At Work.
First and foremost, though, every aspect of Green Laundry Lounge is geared toward ecological sustainability — from the eco-smart Electrolux washing machines to the biodegradable silverware and cups, to the modernized “wet-cleaning” form of dry cleaning that uses non-toxic chemicals to achieve the same results.
Beyond that, Desai is obsessed with ease and convenience.
Like UberEats, but for laundry
Those wishing for an old school laundromat experience of walking in with a loaded basket and a sack filled with quarters will find themselves right at home in Green Laundry Lounge, Desai said.
“Come with coins, if you prefer,” he said, “but let’s say you prefer credit card or e-pay through your phone, and we can handle that as well.”
All smartphone pay applications will be accepted, but that’s just for those looking to pay for a one-and-done laundry experience. Desai is well aware that many people, especially those in the nearby townhomes, will have their own washers and dryers — in which case, why schlep over to the laundromat?
That’s why Green Laundry Lounge is offering a subscription service. Customers can pay for a regular laundry service — say, once a week — with rates based on the total pounds of laundry they bring in. Laundry can be dropped off inside the lounge or at the drive-thru. They can track their laundry’s progress through the lounge’s smart phone app or can receive a phone call when it’s ready to be picked up: washed, ironed and folded. Free delivery and drop-off is also available for those within a certain proximity to the lounge, which is yet to be determined.
“My own family with our kids, we spend half a Saturday it seems doing our laundry,” Desai said. “With this wash and fold service, customers can save four to five hours weekly. Instead of washing and drying and folding, they can spend that time hiking, going out to eat, having fun with friends.”
Desai, who plans to open more locations in the next few years, said his confidence in the business concept has only been emboldened after seeing the shift in customers using services like Grub Hub and UberEats, especially over the past year. In that vein, he sees himself in the business of eliminating undue stress and wasted time.
“That’s why even those who are coming in to do their laundry, we want to make it a place of enjoyment, not stress,” he said. “Have a drink, relax, get some excellent food. It is a way to make laundry something you are actually enjoying.”
Green Laundry Lounge is tentatively set to open this June, beside kickboxing studio CKO Kickboxing (which is also set to open sometime this summer). Project partners include Johnston Design Group, Cely Construction, Arrowood and Arrowood, and Zuendt Engineering.