2014-11-18 / Front Page

New laundry business opens in Biddeford

By ANGELO J. VERZONI | Special to the Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — Booms Laundry ”“ one of the newest additions to the city's downtown area ”“ opened at 250 Elm St., between the Hannaford supermarket and St. Joseph's Church, on Oct. 27.

The Laundromat has 22 washing machines and 20 dryers, as well as vending machines that dispense change, laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softener and laundry bags. It also offers dry cleaning, a wash-and-fold service, cable television, free Wi-Fi and plenty of seating.

“We're offering a clean, comfortable environment,” in which people can do their laundry, owner Steven Richards said in a telephone interview Monday.

Richards, 47, grew up in Exeter, New Hampshire, and moved south to Texas when he was in his 20s. He spent a large chunk of his life traveling ”“ to places like Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan ”“ but he said he always missed New England.

“I like the change of seasons. I like the snow. I like the trees. I like the people,” said Richards. “So I moved back to this part of the world for that reason.”

When he decided to open Booms Laundry, figuring out where to do so was a process of careful consideration.

“It wasn't just a matter of, ”˜Oh, let's just go here,'” he said. “We did a lot of shopping.”

Richards said his father, who lives in Texas, has a lot of connections in the Biddeford area, and that played a major role in his decision to open the Laundromat here.

“He kind of pushed me in the direction of being here in Biddeford,” Richards said of his father, “so he can come back and visit with his friends and family.”

Thus far, Booms has received entirely positive reviews on its Facebook page, with six five-star reviews and one four-star review.

“Booms Laundry is a cut above the rest,” wrote one customer; “very clean and friendly service,” wrote another.

Rows of energy-efficient, stainless-steel washers and dryers line the tiled floors and eggshell-brown walls at Booms, and plants, artwork and a fish tank inhabited by several tiny, orange Nemo lookalikes contribute to the Laundromat's homey ambiance.

Booms is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. ”“ but customers should start their last load of laundry by 8:30 p.m. For more information on the Laundromat, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/boomslaundry or call 415-4160.

Richards currently has two part-time employees, and he is trying to “drum up business” to keep both them and himself busy, he said.

— Angelo Verzoni is a freelance writer for the Journal Tribune.

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