By Charles Sercombe
If you call Walter’s Shopping Place a party store, you are seriously short-changing yourself.
This is indeed a shopping place — in fact make that one-stop shopping.
There are 14 services the Conant-Carpenter store provides, including postal service, money transfers, utility payments, food stamps, heck even legal documents like deeds and wills.
Beside all that, there is their incredible selection of beer, wine and liquor.
You can now add one more service: Laundromat.
“We took a survey to see what people needed, and laundromat was the top request,” said store owner Frank Ayar.
So, he built it in the same huge building that houses his party, er, shopping place. It’s around the corner of the store in a space that had been used for storage.
Inside are over 50 washers and dryers. Coming soon is dry cleaning service in yet even more space behind the laundromat.
So why so many services?
“My purpose is to serve the community,” Ayar said.
For those familiar with the store, those words ring true. His family has owned the business since 1977. If you are new to the store, chances are by the third or fourth visit Frank and the staff will know your name.
It’s more like family than a business here.
Every year the store pays it back to their customers by hosting a free July Fourth barbecue and on Thanksgiving they serve up a hot turkey meal – and we’re talking real turkey made at home by Ayar and his family.
As for the laundromat, Ayar said the thousands of customers who live near his store didn’t have a place to go within walking distance. Hamtramck has two laundromats, but both are located across from each other on Jos. Campau in the southend.
For those living near Walter’s without transportation (and there are plenty without), the walk to the southend laundromats would be a four-mile round trip.
Here at Walter’s, a basic laundry load costs $2.75, or you can drop it off and have everything done, including folding, for $1 a pound – which is quite a deal.
Ayar said that while he is committed to service, he is also basing his decisions on what’s good for business.
“The laundromat works hand-in-hand with my store,” he said.
While the clothes are getting cleaned, customers can come over to the store and do their shopping or pay a bill.
Like we said, it’s one-stop shopping here.