This fall’s East Side Pride’s Spotlight features NDC graduate Lisa Johnson, of Lisa’s Wash n’ Fold (page 4).
All Washed Up, the new laundromat in North Minneapolis powered by entrepreneur Shantae Holmes, houses 44 pieces of brand new, energy efficient equipment, including 22 dryers and three sizes of both front and top loading washing machines. In addition to Shantae, All Washed Up has three fulltime employees to manage the business from 7AM to 10PM, seven days a week (office manager JoAnn Bell and attendants Shaurice and Sonia). There is also a seamstress on site and free Wi-Fi with plenty of space to relax while you wash.
The idea for opening up a laundromat came during college when Shantae received a rejection letter from the Department of Human Services, citing a criminal past as a reason not to hire her. Discouraged, but then inspired to not let her past stand in the way of her future, Shantae decided “I’m going to have to have my own business so I can hire myself!” She knew that two essential steps to opening her own business were writing a business plan and securing funding. She was referred to Neighborhood Development Center, where she successfully completed the Microentrepreneur Training program in the spring of 2008, with a solid business plan that would lay the groundwork for All Washed Up. What she hadn’t expected, however, was the financial assistance that would come from this relationship.
It had been an emotional process going through traditional banks, who all offered different reasons for why they couldn’t help. Through a coordinated effort of non-profit lenders, including the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), NEON, MEDA and NDC, Shantae was able to obtain the financing needed to invest in 3128 square feet of beautiful potential- an abandoned restaurant that had closed its doors after a shooting five years ago. Shantae has proceeded to revitalize an empty store front, converting it into a clean and friendly business that the community can be proud of.
“NDC has a mission statement that describes me, and the fact that they have a program targeted in my community was very important to me.”
She laughs and proudly exclaims “North Side!”- her roots are here and she wanted to give back. Shantae is hoping to show her community that you can have a second chance in life. All Washed Up will give a sense of renewal, trust, and a level of understanding that the North Side community is valuable, has integrity, and is worth investing in.