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Amid coronavirus, Westminster laundromat adds contactless dry cleaning service for Carroll County residents

The dry cleaning market is yet another industry that has accelerated the adoption of contactless service methods as coronavirus cases continue to rise across Maryland.

Amy’s Laundry, located at 271 E. Main St. in Westminster, is believed to be the first full-service laundromat to provide contactless pickup and delivery dry cleaning to Carroll County residents at no additional charge.

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Laundromat owner Amy Doody has been on Main Street since 2018. But this year, she says she and her laundry attendants began washing, folding and bagging clothes after customers complete requests online at AmysLaundry.com.

“The response to the new service has been positive, but [the service] is new,” said Doody. “People like the idea of having their clothes dropped off to their house so that they don’t have to come in contact with others.”

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According to Doody, when the pandemic first hit, her business certainly slowed down –– like many other local businesses across America –– and people needed assurances about the efficiency of the sanitizing methods after each use.

At Amy’s, all clothes are turned inside out, treated with the appropriate enzyme depending on the stain, separated and dried, folded to a 9-inch by 12-inch board, and then either hung or packed into bags for customers.

But after some thought, Doody began to think about how she and her staff could offer their service process without even needing to see their customers. And in November, Amy’s started picking up the laundry from various homes across Carroll County.

Laundry attendant Breanna Waning finishes a drop off order at Amy's Laundry in Westminster Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Amy's Laundry is offering drop off laundry service as well as contactless pick up and delivery to help their customers during the covid 19 pandemic.
Laundry attendant Breanna Waning finishes a drop off order at Amy's Laundry in Westminster Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Amy's Laundry is offering drop off laundry service as well as contactless pick up and delivery to help their customers during the covid 19 pandemic. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“I believe this is an essential service for our area,” said Donna Dressel, a Carroll County resident. “With the current concern over COVID, it’s nice to know there’s a company out there with our best interest at heart. Knowing that my clothes come back sanitized and safe for my family to wear is amazingly reassuring.”

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The widespread coin shortage has largely affected retail and grocery stores. And laundromats can also be added to the that list.

The Federal Reserve says the pandemic is disrupting the coin supply chain and coin circulation, and now coin-operated laundromats in Carroll County are finding other ways to maneuver around the shortage.

Before the pandemic, in July of 2019, Amy’s had already converted from a coin-only laundromat to card-operated laundromat. Customers have the ability to purchase a laundry card and directly add money from via credit, debit or cash using the payment system inside of the laundromat.

Laundry attendant Breanna Waning unloads a dryer while handling drop off laundry service at Amy's Laundry in Westminster Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Amy's Laundry is offering drop off laundry service as well as contactless pick up and delivery to help their customers during the covid 19 pandemic.
Laundry attendant Breanna Waning unloads a dryer while handling drop off laundry service at Amy's Laundry in Westminster Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Amy's Laundry is offering drop off laundry service as well as contactless pick up and delivery to help their customers during the covid 19 pandemic. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

In addition to the removal of all coin-operated machines, the staff has placed markers on the floors for people to stand and separated folding tables to be socially distant, while customers are inside the facility.

Once customers began to experience the safety measures put into place, business at Amy’s began to resume.

“Once people realized that we were probably one of the cleanest places you could go, business picked back up again,” said Doody. “And knowing that we return clothes sanitized and folded to the 9/12 standard is incredibly satisfying to them.”

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