Monday, July 08, 2002

Late-night entertainment


Pool, big-screen TV, video games . . .and laundry

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORTH COLLEGE HILL — The clock on the wall shows 12:15 a.m. on a weeknight as Donald Bush,32, and his 9-year-old son, Donald Bush III, face off in a friendly game of pool.

        “I know they're making money,” the senior Bush says as he adds quarters to the table's coin slot for a second game.

        The father and son are not in a pool hall. They're passing time at a self-service laundry while their clothes wash and dry.

        The North College Hill Super Laundry at 1585 Goodman Ave. is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is equipped with a host of diversions for patrons waiting for their clothes.

        In addition to the pool table, there are two big screen televisions, four smaller televisions, a juke box, video games, vending machines and a prize arcade.

        Mr. Bush says he and wife, Kim, were headed for the laundry, and their son “wanted to come along to play the games.”

        The Bush family has a washer and dryer at home, but a trip to the Super Laundry — which has 78 washers and 72 dryers — has its advantages.

        “It was either this or keep running down to the basement,” says Mr. Bush, after he explains the rules of 8 Ball to his son.

        Many of the laundry's customers feel the same way.

        “Believe it or not, the majority of our customers have their own washers and dryers,” says Carolyn Trotter, 44, of Westwood, the attendant on duty.

        Why do they forsake their own appliances?

        "It's quicker, and the kids enjoy the experience,” Miss Trotter says. “That pool table stays busy.”

        The attendant's job?

        “Keep the place clean and take care of the customers,” says Miss Trotter, who wore a vest that read, “May I help you?” on the back.

        Part of the attendant's job is helping customers, including 46-year-old Steve Nixon of North College Hill, to electronically put money on the “smart cards.” The credit card-size plastic cards are required to operate the washers and dryers.

        Mr. Nixon, busy loading his clothes in several washers, is a first-time visitor to the laundry.

        “This is the only time I can get away from the kids,” says the single father, explaining his late night/early morning trip.

        The night time is also the right time for 23-year-old Kristen McGeorge, of College Hill.

        “I was working all day and I have a uniform I've got to wear tomorrow,” she says.

        In another area of the laundry, Elise Speeg, 47, of Springfield Township, is folding clothes.

        “I'm getting ready for vacation,” she says. “The old washer and dryer broke at home.”

        Mrs. Speeg has some help.

        Brothers Deandre Blackman, 11, and Rahman Spears, 7, are there with their mother, Sherese Washington, 28, of Cumminsville.

        “We helped her fold all her clothes, put them in the bag, and took them out to the car,” Deandre said.

        And what about the $7 apiece they earned from helping Mrs. Speeg and others. “(We're going to) save it until we're grown so we can be rich,” he says.

        For those wishing to avoid the chore, the laundry provides a drop off service. An attendant will wash, dry and fold the clothes for85 cents a pound, with a 10-pound minimum.

        “It's basically the men,” Miss Trotter says of the customers who use the service.

        The owners of North College Hill Super Laundry — Warren and Elizabeth Remle, of Ross Township — also own laundry facilities in Norwood and Westwood.

        Years ago the couple, who are in their early 50s, chose the laundry business as their retirement project. They purchased the Norwood location in 1992 and the Westwood location in 1994. They had the North College Hill location built and opened it in May.

        Their business philosophy?

        “We try to maintain the cleanest, safest and most technologically advanced laundry,” Mrs. Remle says. Their North College Hill location, she says, is the only commercial laundry in the Midwest that uses smart cards.

        Charles Gardner, 53, of Finneytown leans against a dryer watching the Tonight Show on the big-screen television, rather than watch his clothes go around and around in the dryer.

        “My wife needed some stuff. So I came down and did it,” he says, explaining his late-night foray.

       If you have a suggestion for Night Watch, call William A. Weathers at 768-8390; fax 768-8340; E-mail bweathers@enquirer.com

       



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