Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Laundry business

Back in 1983, I had been working for Jack Rodrock in Leoti who owned a chain of convenience stores that were named JJ's Country Stores for a couple of years. I thoroughly enjoyed the work so when Jack asked Stan to leave his job and manage the store in Tribune with me as his underling, we jumped at the opportunity.

We got started just before wheat harvest. Back then, many more harvest companies hit the road every summer to cut wheat and make money. So when they arrived in Tribune and discovered that there was no laundromat available to wash their clothes, a friend of mine and I grabbed the chance to offer our laundry services. Great idea! Right??? Wrong!!!

I have absolutely NO idea how many people brought their clothes and left them for us at the store!!! While we were not working, Cathy and I hauled them back to our house and threw them into the washing machine. Problem was that we were not as organized as we should have been. (Remember that we were both very young and this was the first time that we had ever considered this "career". By the way, it was our LAST time also...)

Looking back, I have no idea why we did not THINK first. We just grabbed clothes and threw them into the washing machine, then into the dryer, then folded them. Shoot! We never even bothered to sort the clothes first. Jeans, shirts, underwear, towels, sheets, etc were washed and dried together. Oh! And did I bother to tell you that we didn't even use a marking system to keep track of what clothes belonged to who??? Billy Bob's laundry was laundered right along with Jim and Jerry's laundry. Then...after all of the laundry was folded, we had not the slightest idea who owned what!!! Mercy! Those harvesters were anything but happy about their clothes. They ended up coming to our house and rummaged through all of their MANY clothes trying to find their belongings. For days this went on. For days, we ended up having to pay THEM so that they could go out and purchase new replacements for the ones that they had brought to us.

As you can imagine, this ended up not being a successful money-making idea. Our get rich solution made us even poorer than before. LOL!!! Stan and his brother, George, who was staying with us at the time, ended up with a few items of clothes that no one claimed that they wore. The rest of the unclaimed articles went straight to the thrift shop unless they were too grubby to pass on to anyone else. (Some of these men came out ahead! LOL! They brought in clothes full of grease and holes and wound up with a brand new wardrobe.)

The following summer brought in more harvesters with dirty clothes... This time, we suggested that they go 21 miles east to Leoti where a very nice laundromat awaited their business...


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