No more change: Carrollwood laundromat goes digital

- Anyone who’s ever been to a laundromat knows the struggle of having enough change to wash and dry clothes.

That’s about to be a thing of the past at a Laundromat in Carrolwood, where they’re changing in the change for an app.

Washlava is the first laundromat in the country to go totally digital. Customer Cora Sheilds came armed with coins.

“I have a purse full,” she announced, only to find out they wouldn’t work. “Instead I have to use a phone!”

An employee at Washlava will help newcomers get started.

Once downloaded, the Washlava app asks for credit, debit, or prepaid card information. Prepaid cards are available for purchase – so cash in those quarters.

Then customers can select and pay for services with their smartphone or tablet.

The owner of Washlava says they've only lost a few customers who didn’t like the change, but overall it’s been well received, with more than 600 customers signing up in the first month.

A successful trial run at the University of Florida to expand services to the student market went well. And they are planning to start up in NYC.

The owner came up with the concept after a break-in.

“The change machine was ripped out of the wall, quarters all over the parking lot… So I began to check for solutions beyond coins,” he said.

How does the solution work? Washlava's top tech guy showed us how there are panels installed in the top of each machine, with essentially a little computer inside.

“It's got Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a modern computer inside every one of these machines,” CTO Dexter Weiss explained. “This is our board. We custom make it and it speaks to the inside logic of this washer. We know when it starts or ends cycles and it constantly communicates with our system up in the cloud.”

The cloud replaces the coin as laundry spins into the digital age.

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