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Chatham laundry makes chore speedy

Mike Newton and Karen McDaniel, co-owners of Elite Service in Chatham, stand in the laundromat they have spent the last year turning into a reality. The business features high-efficiency washers and dryers. / Photo by Reza Marvashti

Mike Newton and Karen McDaniel, co-owners of Elite Service in Chatham, stand in the laundromat they have spent the last year turning into a reality. The business features high-efficiency washers and dryers. / Photo by Reza Marvashti

Mike Newton and Karen McDaniel this month opened what could be the most modern and upscale laundromat in the Fredericksburg area.

On March 1 the longtime business partners opened Elite Laundry and Car Wash at 312 Chatham Heights Road in Stafford County. It offers Speed Queen Quantum Gold washers and dryers, 22 of each, that will allow people to launder their clothes quickly.

The laundromat and car wash is near Earl’s True Value Hardware and is adjacent to Newton and McDaniel’s other business—Elite Service.

Newton and McDaniel have run the auto repair shop and its predecessor, a gas station, for more than 20 years. During most of that time they rented the building from well-known area entrepreneur Earl Broyles, who died in October 2011.

Newton and McDaniel in 2010 bought the buildings at 308 and 312 Chatham Heights Road from Broyles. First they renovated the Elite Service building, and over the past year they tackled the car wash and then the laundromat after a tenant moved out.

Doing much of the work themselves, Newton and McDaniel gutted the building and installed new windows and ceramic floors, bathrooms, heating and air, and electrical systems. Soon televisions and wireless Internet connectivity will be installed.

The finishing touch was the Speed Queen Quantum Gold machines. Their distributor told them they are the first business in the Fredericksburg area to have the machines.

Elite Laundry has washers offering 20-, 30- and 60-pound loads, and dryers for 30-, 45- and 75-pound ones.

The washing machines rapidly spin people’s clothes to get most of the water out, shortening the dry time. Newton and McDaniel say people can wash, dry and fold their clothes at Elite Laundry in less than an hour for about the same cost as at other laundromats. An attendant will show people how to use the machines and wash clothes for people wishing to drop them off.

The machines also offer a number of high-tech features that allow Newton and McDaniel to monitor usage, change pricing and detect any maintenance issues through any device connected to the Internet. Customers will soon be able to get a text message when their laundry is done and see in advance what machines are available.

In about a month McDaniel and Newton plan to hold a grand opening for the business, which is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. They have put in a lot of 80-hour weeks over the past year getting the new business ready and are looking forward to welcoming customers to try out the machines.

“Laundry is a chore,” Newton said, “but it doesn’t have to be the dark and dirty chore that nobody wants to do.”

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405

bfreehling@freelancestar.com 

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/business/2014/03/08/chatham-laundry-makes-chore-speedy/