Everything’s back to normal for Irene Adams at Wasche, where Carterville residents did their laundry for free when the city’s water system was down.

New laundromat came in handy when Carterville was without water

Donors covered up to $7 per verified resident on Sunday, Feb. 21

Like other Carterville residents when the city was without water for a week, Mayor Alan Griffin says, “My laundry was stacking up at home.”

Luckily, there is a new laundromat, Wasche, just to the west of Carterville in Webb City.

When the idea of letting residents use the laundromat for free came up, Griffin says council member and mayor pro tem Chris Henkle took care of it.

Like the free water distribution, donations – not city funds – covered the cost of the free laundry.

Wasche owner Irene Adams says she received the call from the city on Saturday, Feb. 20, and agreed to help from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the next day.

That Sunday, Carterville residents just had to show proof of residency to get $7 of washer and dryer use.

Adams says she is glad it was a busy day. “I know how it is not to do laundry for a week or more. I have two little girls and know how much laundry they can make.”

It was a community effort she says. She and her staff helped out operating the machines, and she says she didn’t worry about the added cost when more expensive washers were used.

The free service wound up being extended through part of Monday, Feb. 22.

Carterville’s water system resumed operation after its only well was rebuilt Tuesday, Feb. 23, and the boil order was lifted Tuesday, March 2.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, Griffin says the City Council will recognize those who donated their time and money to lessen the community’s hardship.

Wasche owner Irene Adams demonstrates how to pay for a wash with credits on a smartphone by reading the QR code on a machine.

Wasche is the German word for laundry

Naming her business Wasche makes sense knowing that Irene Adams was born and raised in Germany. She immigrated here at age 21 with her family, speaking English as well as German fluently. 

She says she and her husband, Trenton, were looking for an investment when they realized there was no laundromat on the east side of Webb City. 

They enlisted Irene’s father, Harry Zimmerling, an experienced contractor. He bought the land in the Centennial Retail and Industrial Park from the city and constructed the building. 

Wasche was among the first retail buildings to be built on East Street, which is north of the roundabout and close to the Carterville city limits.

Zimmerling could take his time constructing the building because traffic on East Street slowed to a trickle while the Center Creek bridge was under construction. The new bridge opened in the spring of 2020, but traffic was still slow because of the pandemic lockdown. Traffic has picked up and is epected to increase.

Adams says they had been unaware when they chose the location of the pending housing boom to the north in Oronogo, which will surely increase traffic by her building.

The west half of the building, which was designed with a drive-thru window for possible use as a restaurant, is for lease.

Adams says she and her husband did their research before choosing to purchase Huebsch commercial washer and dryers, which are manufactured in Ripon, Wisc.

Users are encouraged with discounts and points to operate the machines with their smartphones. iPhone and Android apps can read the QR code on each machine and pay with credits. The machines also take cash, of course.

Conveniences include WiFi and chargers. There’s also a play area to keep kids occupied.

Adams says she thought about what a good laundromat should be like when she wound up using one when her washer and dryer were broken. Those laundromats she used “never had play areas.”

She says that she, Trenton and two part-time employees keep the business clean so parents feel comfortable.

Also, Adams says she and Trenton are doing their own laundry at Wasche as a test “to see what the customer has to deal with.” 

Wasche’s doors are open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Customers arriving before midnight can stay until 1:30 a.m. (but if they walk outside they can’t get back in.)

Adams says shift workers especially like the long hours because they can do their laundry either before or after their shift.

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