A new look for the laundry

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Zack and Vanessa Janis look at business as more than a way to make money.

The couple along with business partner Dennis J. Breneman recently acquired the former Sno-White Laundry at 211 N. Jefferson. Zack Janis said the partnership with Breneman was originally formed to manage rental properties, but they also wanted ways to serve the community.

“This business is a need,” he said, adding some people don’t have washing machines and dryers or home equipment occasionally breaks and the laundromat fills a gap until the problem is resolved.

It was important to the partnership to maintain the other services the Sno-White Laundry provided the community beyond coin operated washing machines. People can leave laundry for an attendant to do and pick up the clean clothes later. The laundry also serves as a drop off for people needing dry cleaning since the last dry cleaning establishment in Paris closed in 2015.

Vanessa Janis explained the dry cleaning is transported to Courtesy Cleaning, Terre Haute, Ind. The twice-weekly dry cleaning service guarantees clothes left before 10:30 a.m. Monday are back by 3 p.m. Thursday or garments left by 10:30 a.m. Thursday are returned by 3 p.m. Monday.

She said in the future they may install pressing equipment at the business for better service and a quicker turn around since more than 90 percent of the dry cleaning requests are for pressing rather than full cleaning.

A rumor that Kevin and Teresa Newcomer were thinking about selling the laundry prompted Zack Janis and Breneman to think about options. They did not want to risk the last laundromat in town closing. Their first idea was to build a new facility in a high traffic area but a price tag of more than $500,000 canceled that notion.

After confirming the Newcomers were interested in selling, a deal was worked out to buy the business and property.

The official transfer occurred around Oct. 1 and J’s Laundry started operation. The name comes from the last name of Janis, their children’s first names and their business partner and his wife have J as their middle initials.

With the acquisition came a desire to make some physical changes to the site and a commitment to community dictated how the work was done,

“We knew we couldn’t take it down for the people that use it,” said Vanessa Janis.

Instead of shutting down to remodel, the business remained open during the work. Installing a new tile floor did require closing half the building for one day and the other half a second day.

Other changes visible to the public include a redone exterior, phasing in new washing machines, improved LED lighting for better security, new vending machines and large screen televisions to provide distraction while waiting for the clothes to wash and dry.

Some things out of the public’s sight are a surveillance system, a computerized management system for more efficient tracking of left laundry, dry cleaning and bookkeeping and replacing pipes to improve water pressure and provide cleaner water to the machines.

“We wanted to give it a fresh, new look,” said Zack Janis.

What hasn’t changed is the four attendants employed by the Newcomers have remained with the new management.

“They’ve been very helpful with the transition, and they have been accepting of the changes we wanted to make,” said Vanessa Janis.

J’s laundry opens at 5 a.m. daily with an attendant on duty from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. when the business closes for the night. It is a 365-day-a-year operation.

“We are open on holidays so people can still come to do their laundry,” said Vanessa Janis. “That seemed to work well on Thanksgiving. There are no attendants on duty or drop off on those days.”