'Wash, dry and fold' laundry service offers convenience for a few coins
Teresa Murray is willing to clean everyone's dirty laundry. A new laundry service, "Wash, Dry and Fold," began at McQuade's Marketplace on Sept. 24. The service, operated by Teresa, comes as a new offering in addition to the existing dry cleaning service.
Customers may drop off bags of dirty laundry at the courtesy desk inside McQuade's Marketplace on Clarke Street. Teresa provides the service on Monday and Thursday, so clean linens and clothes may be picked up the following day. The charge is 75 cents per pound.
Last week the laundry technician said she was ready to open for business, and welcomes everyone to visit McQuade's and try out the new service. "All you have to do is drive down here, drop it off and let me take care of the rest," Teresa says with a confident smile.
Olivia Pratscher from Work Adjustment Vocational Evaluation Services (WAVES) acts as mentor to Teresa while she is getting her feet planted in the business. Pratscher will work alongside Teresa, helping her to feel comfortable running the service on her own.
Teresa already feels good, because she's been thinking about the idea for a long time. "It was a dream of mine to start my own laundry business," she says.
WAVES, a supported employment agency operated through the Adeline LaPlante Memorial Center, has provided educational guidance and business training links for Teresa in support of her dream. She completed a one-year internship in the wash and fold business at Pier Cleaners. She voices confidence in managing the new service. "Take a break, and let me do the work for you," she tells her clients.
Teresa was introduced to the vocation-related service center when she was still in school. She was evaluated for career skills and abilities, and the laundry business was a good match. Teresa studied all aspects of the business, including daily management and financial matters, according to Pratscher.
Teresa, now 20, has lived on her own locally since she was 18, and has worked for McQuade's for the last four years. According to store manager Maurice Browning, Teresa is a committed entrepreneur. "Teresa does well," he praises.
She performs her duties as a full-time clerk at the grocery store, and then spends her free days operating the laundry service. "I study Spanish in evening classes at CCRI," she adds. She returned recently from a trip to Costa Rica to attend her brother's wedding, and the language studies came in handy. "It was like a Cinderella story, only better, Costa Rican style," she said.
With a full schedule, Teresa has no complaints. When asked if anything difficult or weird has occurred, she noted that someone stole some laundry detergent and softener sheets. The incident made her realize she needs to keep a closer eye on the public area where she works.
"I was a little skeptical at first, but then thought, why not?" Browning says with a smile. The company supports Teresa in her venture 100 percent, he adds.