Up-Town on the highway

THE KIMBALL FAMILY, from left, Molly, Hazel, Reid and Elsie (Meg is not pictured), were all smiles at the open house for the new family business, Up-Town Laundry, which opened last week. Photos / Per Peterson

Tracy once again has a laundromat

By Per Peterson

Reid Kimball isn’t cleaning up on Hwy. 14, but you now can.

Kimball last Thursday celebrated a soft opening for his new laundromat, Up-Town Laundry, which is located in the building that was home to Miller Implement Co. in the 1940s and ironically is a stone’s throw away from Tracy’s former laundromat, owned by Richard and Dorothy Stelter.

“It feels pretty good,” Kimball said during his open house last week. “It’s been a long time. It’s been an everyday event for the last two years, and now that it’s finally open, it’s a little surreal.”

The opening brings closure to a business venture that began downtown in the former Asian Market building next to the Tracy Post Office. Kimball worked to renovate and restore that building for his new laundromat earlier this year, but issues, specifically parking, moved him to look elsewhere (he still owns the downtown building).

“We started over two years ago with the downtown building, then made the move to here,” Kimball said. “It’s nice to be open.”

The layout in the building on the highway, he said, was also more suitable for a laundromat. Plus, the parking is far more convenient for customers.

“The parking situation (downtown) wasn’t good,” he said. “I need parking, have to have it.”

Kimball said Minnesota Chemical, the company he worked with on the original design concept in the downtown location, advised him as part of its site survey that the downtown building would be anything but good for business.

“I was gone for two weeks for my training and someone called me and asked if I was opening a laundromat on Highway 14 and I said no,” Kimball said. “From that point on, I knew that I would always be looking over my shoulder waiting for someone to open a laundromat on the highway. The  only thing that would put a downtown business out of business is the same thing on the highway. That’s just the way it is.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.