Nathan Robertson knows a thing or two about the Ely community. As a fifth generation Robertson to grow up in Ely, he’s become used to the small town way of life and finds value in taking care of the community that has taken care of him and his family for longer than he can remember. So when an opportunity came up to become the owner of the Soak N Suds laundromat almost three years ago, he figured he should jump on it.
“It comes down to pride in the area. We get a lot of visitors and snow birds who come through the area and they come in here and tell me that they know they’ll always have a clean place to do their laundry during their trip,” Robertson said.”I want people to come to Ely and see that it is a nice area and have good experiences at the local businesses and the best way to do that is to have it run locally.”
But like most ambitious new business owners, Robertson found out the hard way that running a small business is not a passive experience.
“The thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that there is always more work than you expect that you have to do,” he said.
Not that he’s a stranger to hard work. His father runs a business in town as an optometrist, his grandfather did the same before that. But Robertson bucked the trend and now juggles several different professions.
“I’m a construction manager by trade, but I also work at the railroad and work here so things stay pretty busy,” Robertson said.
His days usually start at the laundromat in the morning, making sure the place is clean and ready for business. Robertson stresses the cleanliness of the laundromat because he said it helps break people of the stigma they tend to have when they think of a “laundromat.”
“When people think of a laundromat, it usually isn’t in a good way. I don’t want that, that’s why it’s always clean and always has at least one person there to help people if they need it,” Robertson said.
But the appealing look of the business isn’t the only thing that sets his laundromat from the norm.
“We also offer drop off and pick up service for laundry. It is really popular with miners and people who don’t always have the time to spend doing their own laundry and makes things much more convenient,” the owner said.
But when it comes down to what is most important, Robertson said that he values his staff the highest. Since he has other work that he facilitates in addition to the laundromat, it’s key to find good help to run it when he can’t be there. That, Robertson said, has been one of the best parts of owning his own business.
“I have great people that work here and provide a great experience for our customers here,” the owner said.
Soak N Suds is located at 1625 Ave F. For more information about the laundry drop off service, or for hours, call 775-289-2292.