Wash­ers get loaded with booze at the laun­derette

Daily Star Sunday - - WIRED - ■ by RACHEL SPENCER sun­day@dai­lystar.co.uk

A LAUN­DERETTE is putting cus­tomers in a spin by serv­ing booze as they wash their smalls.

The Old Cin­ema Laun­derette and Bar was orig­i­nally a 1950s cin­ema and is now a fully func­tion­ing laun­drette.

But it also hosts con­certs by lo­cal bands and serves craft beer, pros­ecco, G&Ts and cock­tails.

The quirky busi­ness is the brain­child of Kathy Turner and her hus­band Richard, both 55, in­set.

Kathy, who left her job as a youth sup­port worker, said: “I’d al­ways liked the idea of run­ning my own laun­derette.

“Grow­ing up, my grand­par­ents had a guest house and my job was to take the tow­els to be washed on a Satur­day.

“I loved the idea of hav­ing one and it be­ing like my own lit­tle soap opera, with peo­ple com­ing in to chat as they did their wash­ing.

“But I wanted it to be a friendly place with stylish in­te­ri­ors where peo­ple could re­lax, read a magazine, have a nice cof­fee and a chat, like you might have at the hair­dresser’s.”

Kathy and Richard, an NHS chil­dren’s men­tal health nurse, took over the old cin­ema in Giles­gate, Durham, and re­stored it with a nod to its his­tory.

It has a dress­ing room for the loo, retro wash pow­der packs, a pi­ano, and posters from clas­sics like Singing in the Rain and 12 An­gry Men, plus a signed pho­toof EastEn­der­sle­gend Dot Cot­ton.

It was so invit­ing that peo­ple asked to use it for po­etry events, then mu­sic gigs, and Kathy sug­gested they bring their own wine and beers from the nearby off-li­cence. Then they had the idea to ap­ply for an al­co­hol li­cence and to serve drinks them­selves.

Kathy said: “The bands even bring their own wash­ing! We get peo­ple who come in and have a beer or a wine while they’re do­ing their load, or even just for a drink. It’s a real part of the com­mu­nity. Our cus­tomers are a lovely mix. “There’s stu­dents, where their par­ents might put £100 in our ac­count and set up a tab for them to have their wash­ing done, so they know that they will have clean laun­dry! “Then there’s the older gen­er­a­tion who used to come here when it was a cin­ema. We had one man who met his wife here back in the day.”

She said: “I don’t think we would have sur­vived just as a laun­derette.

“It’s im­por­tant to of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent and it’s evolved into some­thing which is a dream for us both.”

SOAP ’N’ GLORY: Serv­ing drinks and, be­low, a band plays gig

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