Student laundry service readies for expansion

Students who still ship their dirty clothes home for their mothers to wash can get a cure for their laundry room phobia.

Soapy Joe’s Laundry Service, which two GW graduates started last semester, increased customer numbers this spring and is looking to expand even further next year.

This semester, 170 students use the service, which picks up, washes, folds and delivers laundry within a day. About 80 students used Soapy Joe’s this fall.

GW graduates Spencer Lewin and Neal Rosenshein started the business last summer, after leaving the University. The students came up with the concept for Soapy Joe’s as undergraduates fed up with wasting time watching the dryer spin.

Although Rosenshein left the business for graduate school in California this year, Lewin said he currently has four employees working for him and already signed two others to work over the summer on expansion plans. Lewin said Soapy Joe’s will expand to Georgetown and American universities in fall 2004.

Lewin said his business grew over the summer because “it makes logical sense to use the service.”

“We’re not trying to break kids’ banks here … get your shirt washed without losing it,” Lewin said.

The service costs students $239 per semester or $448 per year to get 20 lbs. of laundry washed each week. In residence halls, students pay $1.25 per load; if students do two loads of laundry a week over the semester, it would cost $75 per semester or $150 per year. That makes Soapy Joe’s $164 more expensive for a semester and $298 more expensive for a full year, but the service includes detergent and manpower and accepts Colonial Cash.

The service also offers dry cleaning, charging $8.50 for a suit or $7 for a dress.

To use the Soapy Joe’s service, students can sign up online at http://www.soapyjoesdc.com or by phone at (202) 498-5004

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