For Patrick Montgomery and his wife, running a laundry business and becoming parents were always two sides of the same plan.
“My wife was working as a preschool teacher and really enjoyed it. But when we made the decision to have a family, she wanted a job with flexible hours. So we started looking for a business that would let her stay home with the kids when she needed to,” Montgomery says.
Their first idea was vending machines, but they didn’t like the idea of driving all around the city to check 30 machines.
“Then I thought — what if all the machines were in the same place? That’s where I got the laundromat idea.”
They found an abandoned laundromat in Tacoma’s Westgate neighborhood, and nine months later the first Lighthouse Laundry opened its doors in March 1999.
“We chose the name ‘Lighthouse’ based on the scripture: “So let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God,” Matthew 5:16. We want people to know about Jesus. Take a free Bible.”
Six years later they opened a second location in Federal Way as they needed more income for their growing family.
“We’d done our laundry at the Federal Way location for years. We told the owner if he ever decided to sell he should give us a call. When we took over in 2005 it had bright orange 30-year-old dryers, 20-year-old top-load washers and some older large washers — we’ve replaced everything with new high-efficiency washers and dryers and even a new floor!”
Everything on your laundry list
What do you look for in a laundromat? A clean, safe environment, plenty of machines that wash and dry efficiently. Lighthouse Laundry has it all.
- Large machines for specialty items like comforters and sleeping bags. “Stay warm! Don’t send your comforter to the cleaner where you’ll spend a fortune and have to sleep without it for a night or two. Wash and dry your comforter here for just nine dollars in an hour.”
- Double loader washers for small loads. “Top loaders are OK, but front loaders are better. They clean clothes much more thoroughly, and have a high-speed spin to get clothes more dry. Front loaders save our customers time and money,” Montgomery says.
- Wash and dry eight baskets of laundry in 90 minutes. “Even if you have your own machines at home, the laundromat can save time and home utility costs. Get your whole family’s laundry done in less than two hours, with time to do the grocery shopping in between.”
- ATM, coin machine, snacks. “We have snack and pop machines, for the kids especially. There’s a bill changer to get quarters and an ATM at the corner of the building to get bills if you need to. We try to make it as easy as possible.”
“Thank you for doing your wash here. We really appreciate your business!”