This Small Business Serves Crêpes and Cleaning Together

By Mayra Monroy on February 19th, 2015 / Comments

Sheldon Cleaners has been a common convenience in the West Michigan community since 1949. The Black Bow tie trademark can be seen in cities such as Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Holland. With almost 66 years of business under their belt, the Cares Brothers are expanding the common laundromat…with a twist.

Café Louis, a French Creperie-inspired café has found a home inside of Sheldon Cleaners’ latest headquarters in Kentwood. Offering a list of services, the building serves as both a high quality laundromat and now a fully serviced café.

“The Cares Brothers started to build the laundromat about a year ago,” said Sue Chaitin, a consultant on the project. “So far it’s been really well received, people really like it.”

The Laundry Room, the name of the laundromat aspect, provides state-of-the-art high-speed washers and dryers, with free Wi-Fi, comfortable lounging furniture and flat screen televisions in almost every corner of the room. It also has a fireplace and room for poetry readings, open mic nights along with community events. Outfitted with new machines and the usual competitive prices that Sheldon Cleaners has always offered, this new facility has changed the idea of the common laundromat.

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It also gets rid of the traditional coin currency of laundromats. The machines take card currency, meaning cash and credit card can be put onto a card that is issued by a machine located in the front of the building. This creates convenience for customers who don’t want to carry pockets full of change. Dubbed “West Michigan’s Coolest Place to Do Laundry”, this isn’t your typical laundromat.

Café Louis was a concept first thought of in October by Chaitin. When it was discovered that there was too much room for just the laundromat, Chaitin was left with the extra space and an idea of what sort of restaurant would attract a large demographic.

“The laundromat side will be mostly renters and college students and the restaurant side, well it could be anybody,” said Chaitin. “Everybody likes food, so we’re hoping that it will appeal to everyone.”

The French inspired menu also houses a variety of crepe options and a sandwich and wrap of the day. The variety of food choices are either house-made or bought from local vendors. Crepes are made from a house-made crepe batter, also gluten free for those allergic. The Parisian food is inspired by “on-the-goers”.

Café Louis is also ecologically conscious. From buying locally—like the Simpatico brand coffee they buy from a roaster in Holland, Michigan or Boxed Water, water that is lighter to travel and in cardboard containers which is more ecofriendly than plastic—Café Louis and Sheldon Cleaners are striving for a smaller carbon footprint.

The Cares brothers have created an entirely new concept to a traditional ideal.

Café Louis is open Monday thru Sunday with hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday except Sunday, opening at 8 a.m.

About the Author

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy is studying communication and journalism at Aquinas College. A Texas native, she enjoys studying communication culture and the arts in West Michigan. She currently resides in Grand Rapids and works as a editor-in-chief for Aquinas’ collegiate student newspaper and a freelance journalist.