LIMA — Carolyn La Rue is 79 years young and, as co-owner of American Coin Laundry, works seven days a week.
Even so, the soon-to-be octogenarian has no plans to retire again, which she first attempted in 1998 before returning as a laundry attendant.
In 2000, American Coin’s previous owner Ed Davis approached La Rue with a proposal. “Within one year, we were in business,” she said of the facility located on Sharon Place in Lima.
Initially, the facility was merely a “convenience,” she explained, because of its proximity to her residence.
The job has been a natural fit for the clothes-minded workaholic, who helped her mother with household chores – including laundry – as a child in her native Indiana.
“I’m always moving anyway,” she replied when asked about the prospect of retiring. “Who knows what I’d do otherwise.”
Her son Tim is American Coin’s co-owner and thus sees first-hand everything that Carolyn does.
“I am biased, but she manages the entire turnkey business from supply chain to personnel and most importantly customer service,” he said of his mother, who has thrived in Lima for four decades.
She continues to have friendships with an array of the laundromat’s regular customers. “Many stop in just to see her, even when they don’t have any clothes to wash,” said Tim La Rue, an Ohio State University alumnus who works for AvTech Management Systems.
“Don’t let Carolyn’s soft exterior fool you; she is as tough as they come,” he said.
There has been dedication among laundromat employees, some of whom have worked at the business for 20 years.
It should come as no surprise that Carolyn La Rue is striving to balance a daily workload while enjoying her children and grandkids, three of whom periodically work at American Coin Laundry, which is located at 2575 Sharon Place.
“We plan on continuing to service and support the community and the many business travelers,” she said, noting that the Lima Refinery’s dirty coveralls keep her particularly busy.
“I really like the people here.”