By Jennifer Pund
Nick Blanchet wasn’t looking to own and remodel a laundromat when the property came up for sale, but he knew he could make it better. Using his experience, Soapy Nicks Laundromat in Lyons is finally getting the upgrades it desperately needed with the addition of new washers, dryers, and more services. Blanchet enjoys meeting everyone that stops in, and looks forward to seeing more folks with the addition of wash and fold services.
After the historic flood in September of 2013, Blanchet was working with Sally Truit, well known local musician, artist and community member, at the Monster Shack serving Hawaiian shaved ice. Due to the many water restrictions Boulder County put in place in town, the Monster Shack was closed. “I wasn’t searching for a laundromat to own,” Blanchet said. “Boulder County shut down the Monster Shack. I was looking for something to do.”
Blanchet used to buy and sell apartment buildings after fixing them up, so he knew the laundromat is a very important amenity. “One of the first things I would do when fixing up the apartment buildings was fix up or put in a little laundry area,” he said. “I’d fix them up and make them look attractive so people would want to try it. It’s as simple as it is.”
Truitt is credited with coming up with the name. “She gets all the credit, she is very prolific with ideas.” he said. “She came up with the name, the logo, and everything.”
The corner building space in the shopping center at 138 Ute Hwy. 7 had been a laundromat with about 6 washers, all in disrepair. When Blanchet purchased the property in June of 2014, he immediately repaired all the machines, added a large load washer and more recently put in an additional seven large washers. He also added a new soap dispenser, security cameras and an ATM then changed the hours. “When I went to 24 hours, that was something that was attractive to a lot of people, he said. “It seems business has picked up.”
Blanchet said since owning this business he has become more aware of the amount of people moving in and, more so, out of Lyons, taking their reason for using a laundromat with them. “There is a lot more coming and going than I was aware of, it might be partly because of the flood, but a lot of people are still displaced,” he said. “And the flood took out the local laundromat’s clientele, all the people in the small
communities close to the river were wiped out. They were, generally speaking, the people that didn’t have washing machines and dryers so they used the laundromat a lot. The business had been struggling, so I am bringing it back from the dead.”
The owner says he enjoys meeting everyone that comes in and seeing why different people use the machines. “I have really enjoyed meeting Lyons people I would never have met otherwise; from all walks of life,” Blanchet said.
“From people doing their annual quilt washing to the people who are regulars. Some people have a little red in their water from the rocks and some people just don’t have washing machines. So it’s all walks of life,” Blanchet said. He explained he wasn’t aware of the amount of people that travel through Lyons in the summer months, but most seem to need a laundromat. “It’s pretty neat. I was sort of surprised how many people are coming and going,” he said. “I don’t think of this town as being as fluid as it seems to be.”
Blanchet is very proud of Soapy Nick’s little library. He created it as a way to provide some shade for the front washers from the large windows in the front of the building. “I started beating the bushes for best sellers since our local library is displaced and the temporary space isn’t very big,” he said. “People have been coming in and swapping books, it’s been such fun.”
Starting this month, Soapy Nicks offers a new drop off, wash and fold, pick up or delivery laundry service. It’s available Mondays and Wednesdays by appointment. “I am thinking of the people who don’t want to deal with their laundry. Maybe they are commuting and want to drop off their laundry then pick it up on their way home,” Blanchet said. The service will by charged by the pound, but will also have special rates for items like quilts, sleeping bags and other larger items.
Blanchet says the business is starting to carry itself and he has more plans to continue to keep the upgrades coming.
Information about the wash and fold, drop-off, pick-up service can be found on the black board in the laundromat or just give Blanchet a call at 303-862-2411.
Soapy Nicks Laundromat is located at 138 Main Street in Lyons.
Originally published in the November 2015 issue of the MMAC Monthly.