More than just a place to wash clothes: Motor City Match winner Our Community Laundromat doubles as a neighborhood resource center
- Our Community Laundromat, LLC is a black-owned, woman-owned laundromat in Detroit’s Bethune Community neighborhood
- The business offers multiple community services supporting Detroit’s youth, seniors and small businesses
- Motor City Match has awarded $11.4M in cash grants, 84% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses and 74% women-owned
- Our Community Laundromat, LLC is the 145th operating brick-and-mortar business to have opened to date
Our Community Laundromat, LLC is more than a place to wash clothes. The facility in Detroit’s Bethune Community neighborhood aspires to become a beloved space where residents can receive clean clothing and valuable community resources. Mayor Mike Duggan and city leaders today held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the laundromat, marking the 145th brick-and-mortar opened by Motor City Match.
“I hope that my business helps the community understand there is a safe space to wash their clothes. The laundromat itself does not just focus on the laundry, but Detroiters as members of the community,” said laundromat owner La Cesha Brintley. “What you give for your laundry services, you will get back. We’re going to pour back into the community,” said Brintley.
The spacious facility was constructed by minority developers and features more than 40 washers and dryers to accommodate loads of various sizes, comfortable seating and an array of fabric detergents and softeners. Machines receive around-the-clock service to ensure they always function at their best. Pickup and drop-off services are also available.
But separating Our Community Laundromat, LLC from its peers are its initiatives to support the local community. The facility’s “Wash and Read” program awards children who finish reading books coins for their family’s laundry services. The idea came to Brintley after witnessing the pandemic’s effects on early literacy due to heightened stress, disruptions and remote learning hurdles.
“The pandemic has left so many children behind that we’re going to push reading every day,” said Brintley. “Every coin that is brought into Our Community Laundromat, part of it will be used to reinvest into the community itself.”
The laundromat also provides senior citizens priority over their services every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. During these hours, seniors can participate in social activities accompanied by food and entertainment. In addition, there is a space for small businesses to utilize as a pop-up shop, free of charge, to showcase product. For Brintley, who has decades of experience in health care, the laundromat is an extension of her life calling to be a servant of the people.
"Small businesses are what help make the fabric of a community and nowhere is that more the case than what La Cesha is doing with Our Community Laundromat," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "She's not just providing an essential business service, she's providing community service. We are so proud that Motor City Match has played a role in helping to bring such a wonderful business and support system to this neighborhood."
The business, located at 15429 Schaefer, is supported by a $75,000 grant from the 20th round of the Motor City Match program. The funding contributed to Brintley’s renovation of the space.
“Laundromats have been a mainstay in communities for decades, but not all are created equal. Our Community Laundromat is not only providing an essential service for Detroiters but giving back to the community substantially," said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services for the DEGC. "We hope its opening will inspire others to make a difference in their neighborhood.”
After 21 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $11.4 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. This is all part of the organization’s greater goal to enhance the city’s economic development and beautify its commercial corridors.
Motor City Match continues to grow Detroit’s small-business landscape. Combined with its other small business programming, DEGC is creating a sustainable small business environment that nurtures new concepts and ideas. Motor City Match offers business owners a wide range of assistance in five tracks: Plan, Develop, Design, Cash and Restore. The program helps Detroit entrepreneurs plan, formalize, launch, and grow their business by providing business planning classes, site-selection assistance, financial planning, legal aid, design services, and gap funding.
Through 21 rounds of Motor City Match:
- Total cash grants: $11.4 million (Total leveraged investment: $61.6 million)
- Total business open: 145
- 84 percent are minority-owned businesses
- 74 percent are women-owned businesses
- 69 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents
About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at www.MotorCityMatch.com