By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
To Paul Cucinella, who already owns several businesses in Madison, the coin laundromat on Rutledge Street isn’t just another coin laundromat; it’s part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the downtown of a community he knows and loves.
“We live in downtown, we work in down town and we invest in downtown,” Cucinella said of his latest project, the remodeled coin laundromat on the corner of Rutledge and Shelby. “And we love Madison.”
Cucinella and his wife live in the historic white two-story house that they purchased and restored several years ago. With its broad front porch and enormous screen porch on the side, it is a gracious, old-fashioned spot of charm that the Cucinellas call home, next to Madison Cleaners, across Shelby Street from the laundromat, catty-cornered from Ron’s Barbershop and within shouting distance of the post office – right in the heart of downtown Madison.
They also purchased and restored the two-storey cinderblock building behind the post office, where Ron’s Barbershop is now; however, when they first bought it, it was a dilapidated eyesore of a place with a reputation for illicit drug activity.
Today, it is more familiar to everyone as the cheerful, sunny-yellow building adorned with a large mural of the American flag, housing several new, successful small businesses. Ron’s Barbershop is in one end, with its black and white checkerboard windows facing west on Shelby. Around on the side is the Act 2 Community Resale Shop, a fundraiser thrift shop for the New Testament Church Center, and the Exclusive Hair Salon, each contributing to the revitalization of Madison’s downtown economy.
The renovated laundromat is “the next phase of what we’re trying to do for downtown,” said Cucinella. He had owned the building for years, but not the business; when he finally took over, he began a complete remodeling job around the first of November, gutting the place of the old fixtures and machines and putting in all new state-of-the art washers (20 in all) and dryers (16).
“Since talking to the customers (after the remodeling) I’ve realized just what a need this was in the community,” he said. The customers are thrilled with the remodeling that has provided them with a clean, well-lighted place where they can bring their family’s laundry.
The Madison Coin Laundry’s operating hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and wash and fold service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Laundry attendant Theresa Smith is on hand to greet customers as they come in. Smith, who attends the same church as the Cucinellas (New Testament) just started with the laundromat about a month ago.
The laundry is the latest step toward revitalization, but not the last. Cucinella hopes bring more business and more people back to downtown Madison and hopes others will do the same, making their community a growing, vital place where small business can thrive.
“It’s just a good feeling,” said Cucinella. “That you did something for your community.”
Remodeled Laundromat Part Of Revitalization Of Downtown Madison
By Lynette Norris