By James Bash
For the Hollywood Star News
If you’ve ever watched your laundry being spun at 450 G-force, you would be excused for standing back just a bit in case you thought that nuts and bolts might go flying about. But the ultra-fast spin cycle is just one of the fascinating things at Spin Laundry Lounge, where you can enjoy a pint of beer or play Ms. Pac-Man while your clothes are being cleaned. The new business, located in a former metal-fabrication shop at 750 N. Fremont St., has put a new twist on what a Laundromat is all about, freshening up the business model with an emphasis on offering a sustainable service in a community oriented setting.
Spin Laundry Lounge, a clean and cheerful establishment, includes a café with complimentary Wi-Fi, plus a loft with arcade games provided by Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade. Spin is the brainchild of Morgan Gary, who lives in the nearby Albina neighborhood.
“The idea for Spin came from my personal laundry experiences,” Gary said. “I wanted to take the very wasteful laundry industry and make it as sustainable as possible. I also wanted to recreate the entire Laundromat experience. The Laundromat should be an inviting, comfortable community space where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while you wait.”
After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Gary moved to Portland and fell in love with the city, which appealed to her passion for sustainability and green living. Gradually, her interest in starting a new kind of Laundromat became the focus of her studies at Marylhurst University, where she received an MBA in Sustainable Business in 2012.
As part of her MBA thesis, Gary researched a number of commercial washers and dryers with an eye on water and energy savings. The Electrolux machines that she chose for her business are the most efficient in the world and Energy Star rated. Each washer is equipped with AWS (Automatic Water Savings) that weighs each load and calculates the right amount of water to use. They can do a wash from 16 minutes to 25 minutes, depending on the cycle selected. They also have a complimentary 60-second sanitizing rinse that cleans the machine before you put your items in. That’s perfect for anyone with sensitivity to the chemicals and fragrances traditionally found in laundry products.
The extraction cycle uses 450 gravitational-force to pull almost all of the water out of your clothes. That saves time with the dryer.
The dryers have reverse technology that allows them to switch direction, which helps to remove wrinkles and speed up the drying process. With just three quarters, you will typically get all of your drying done in 18 minutes. The large dryer can dry a comforter or two in about 20 minutes.
All of the machines can take credit/debit cards or cash. They will even send you a text message when 10 minutes are left in the process and when the wash is finished. You don’t have to bring your detergent with you, because Spin provides free natural soap with each wash.
“Our soaps are free of chemicals and fragrances,” added Gary. “But customers are welcome to bring and use their own soaps, if they prefer.”
For busy people and some businesses like restaurants and hotels, Spin offers a wash-and-fold service. The cost for that service is calculated by the pound.
“We also have a deal called the Spin Special,” said Gary. “You can purchase a Spin laundry bag for $15, and put all of your items in it. As long as the bag closes, we will neatly pack it back in the bag for only $30, which is quite a discount.”
While you are waiting for you clothes to be cleaned, you can enjoy the café, where you can purchase salads and panini and wash it down with a cappuccino or a glass of wine. Other available beverages include beer, cider and kombucha on tap.
Gary hand-selected all of the food, which is organic and local. You might even catch a Blazer or a Timbers game on the projector.
The community oriented aspect of Spin extends to small things like the row of unmatched socks hanging on a clothes line.
“We save everything that we find for two weeks before donating them to a local charity,” explained Gary. “It’s all part of the sharing economy.”
Spin Laundry Lounge is open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight. For more information, visit spinlaundrylounge.com or call (503) 477-5382.