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New owners renovate T. Falls laundromat

 

Callie Jacobson

NICE AND CLEAN - Improvements at the Whistle Stop Laundromat include new washing machines and vending machines for customers.

New owners Charlie and Christine Munday have been giving the laundromat in Thompson Falls some special attention since they bought it in November of last year. Officially named the Whistle Stop laundromat, the building has remained open during renovations.

Originally from San Francisco, California, the Mundays moved to Montana for a change of pace and settled, buying a house between Trout Creek and Thompson Falls. They were in the market to buy a local business and began shopping in the surrounding area. It was by chance that they found the laundromat listing while browsing properties through Realty Northwest and made their move.

The renovation projects completed by the Mundays included adding two large vending machines for drinks and snacks as well as removing a front wall to let more natural light in and create more space. Charlie also installed new LED light fixtures that are motion-operated for energy efficiency. The existing machines required some small maintenance and updates to get them working well. A coin-operated detergent dispenser now hangs on the wall for convenience. The dispenser was previously out of commission, but after a thorough cleaning, the coin slide is back in working order. Four machines were replaced and Munday is still expecting a large 55-pound washing machine and a 65-pound dryer that can handle larger jobs.

"We had a lot of questions as to whether we were going to get bigger machines for comforters and larger heavy-duty blankets," Charlie explained.

As a fifth-generation Californian, Charlie has set up a successful electrical company servicing San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The current social and political climate in California was a large motivation for their move and the Mundays were ready for a change. They started their search further west, browsing some options in Idaho, before continuing to Sanders County. Since the move they have enjoyed the beautiful country and met members of the community that have been very welcoming, they said.

"You aren't going to get rich owning a laundromat," Charlie said. "I view it more as providing a service to benefit the community."

Other improvements planned include a new awning for the front and more signage to help the laundromat stand out and be noticeable to traffic traveling both directions. The laundromat will remain open during further renovations.

 

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