WORTHINGTON - Following its March soft opening, new Worthington business Laundry on 10th will host a grand opening from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Owner/operator Maria Thier said when she closed her previous business, she began doing research for her next venture. She received strong feedback that Worthington residents would be interested in having a laundromat in the downtown area.

“It was completely out of my comfort zone,” said Thier of the laundromat business, but she continued to explore the possibility.

When she learned how many people live within a mile of the 10th Street location - along with considering the campground facilities at Olson Park - Thier grew even more interested in opening a laundromat. After talking with some downtown rental unit property owners who were supportive of the idea, she decided to pursue the new business.

“They say you should keep learning throughout life, and here we are,” Thier said. Since beginning work on the laundromat in November, she opened Laundry on 10th in just five months.

The stigma of using a laundromat is fading from the American mindset, Thier said, as younger generations seem to prefer not to own washers and dryers. It also helps that a laundromat doesn’t compete with the Internet, she added.

Thier didn’t want to have a traditional laundromat. She wanted to personalize it to the community of Worthington and the downtown area.

As she was planning her new business, Thier surveyed people about what they hated most about laundromats. The answers revealed three common complaints: laundromats are dark, dirty and hot. She determined to solve each of those problems in her facility.

One of the ways she guarantees cleanliness is by not staying open 24 hours a day. Thier said it’s important to her to set aside time to clean every day.

Laundry on 10th is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with last wash at 9 p.m. Thier comes in every night during the nine o’clock hour to clean.

“It’s a whole new level of clean,” she said.

“I consider this to be like my house,” Thier added. “I’m not going to invite someone into a house that’s dirty.

“I take pride in the building and the business.”

Thier has been thoughtful about offering the best possible customer experience. Laundry on 10th offers four sizes of washing machine and three sizes of dryer.

All the washing machines are Speed Queen brand, made in Wisconsin. Thier said the manufacturer told her the machines are virtually indestructible.

The largest size of washing machine can accommodate three king-sized comforters. Thier said the machines are also ideal for hockey equipment (everything but the skates) and outdoor fabric. Some people come to Laundry on 10th to wash items they don’t want to put in their own washing machines.

For people doing laundry for a whole family, big machines can make a huge difference in time commitment. A wash and dry cycle at Laundry on 10th takes just an hour.

Thier planned her business with families in mind.

“There are always kids at a laundromat, and it’s boring,” she said.

To accommodate this need, Laundry on 10th offers children’s books and toys, things that won’t damage the machines and can be washed. Thier rotates the books and toys that are available so regulars have something new to explore.

“Kids are always welcome here,” Thier said.

Laundry on 10th also features a TV, free wi-fi and a charging station with cords for various devices.

“I’m excited to see what the future holds for us,” Thier concluded.

To celebrate her business and to give back to the community that has made it possible, Thier is hosting “a grand opening with a cause” at Laundry on 10th on Tuesday.

The ribbon cutting with the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce will take place at 11:30 a.m. Door prizes will come from local Worthington businesses.

Laundry on 10th will have a pork sandwich lunch, including a drink, available for purchase throughout the event. Proceeds from the lunch will go toward MK5K, an event that benefits the Southwest Crisis Center.

Thier believes in “empowering the safety and wellbeing of women and children” and intends to continue supporting the Southwest Crisis Center as her business grows.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, the grand opening will feature Emmie Lolkus, who will teach a free Damsel in Defense seminar to educate attendees about vigilance and self-defense.

“It’s about making sure people in the community are safe,” Thier said. “I encourage anyone to come.”