By JIM MISUNAS
LARNED — Welcome to a high-tech laundromat.
Larned’s newly-opened Santa Fe Laundry has introduced technology to the old-fashioned custom of washing clothes. The Santa Fe Laundry is equipped with giant washers, free WiFi and a cable-equipped television. Video cameras provide around-the-clock security.
The co-owners are Justin Hewson, Justin Hammond and Janet Hammond, who provided morning donuts and evening barbecue during recent grand opening festivities.
“We can monitor everything from home,” Hewson said. “We’re really excited to provide a service that will bring people to town.”
The owners have talked to several out-of-town and out-of-county customers, who appreciate the capacity of the machines and technology.
“We ran the numbers and they looked pretty good,” Hewson said. “We know people who were driving through town for laundry to Great Bend. When there are three of us, if one of us gets excited, then they can get the other two excited.”
The owners were pleased to rehabilitate a property which had previously served as a local restaurant. The restrooms are handicap accessible.
Commercial Laundry Services from Wichita provided the machines and training. Santa Fe’s double- and quadruple-load washers are equipped with digital technology and error codes that owners can receive immediately through a wireless network. The technology measures wash and dry times. If wash or dry times are off, it’s easy to switch to a nearby machine that is operating efficiently.
The efficient spin cycles in the 40-pound washing machines deliver drier clothes, which require less drying time. They also require less water than older machines. A wash cycle takes 35 minutes.
“These machines will clean four times what you can do at home,” Hewson said. “The efficiency on these machines is very good. We want to keep everything clean and looking good.”
The technology allows customers to visit the facility 24 hours a day, and doesn’t require the presence of personnel around-the-clock.
“It’s nice to have the machines all Wi-Fied together,” he said. “When a washer goes down, you can put a machine out-of-order and make the machine next-to-it available. You can operate everything from home.”
It took a while to renovate the building.
“It took longer than we expected,” Hewson said. “There was a lot to do. I learned a lot I didn’t know about laundry machines.”