WEST CHATHAM — A year ago, Marc Ewell was unemployed after being laid off as a caseworker at Stroger Hospital.
Now, he is the co-owner of a Spin Cycle laundromat.
"Funny how things can change in a year. I never really thought about owning my own business until my father [Raymond] asked me if I wanted to go into business with him," said Ewell, 48, a single father of three who lives in West Pullman.
Ewell's Spin Cycle LLC, 160 W. 79th St., is in Ald. Latasha Thomas' 17th Ward.
"The alderman was also supportive of me opening up a laundromat, and I thank her for it," Ewell said.
In 2009, the Spin Cycle corporation went out of business, which allowed all of its laundromats to be bought by investors like Ewell.
Ewell signed a 10-year lease to occupy 5,000 square feet at the West Chatham Plaza, according to Crown Commercial Real Estate and Development Inc., which manages the property.
Ewell said he's only using 3,500 square feet now, though he plans to eventually expand into the remaining space. The facility boasts 29 washers and 34 dryers.
Spin Cycle is the only other tenant at the 70,000-square-foot strip mall anchored by department store Forman Mills. Previously, Chase Bank, Dominick's and a Save-A-Lot grocery store were tenants.
Adjacent to the strip mall is a Chicago Transit Authority bus garage, which makes washing convenient for Trina Hall, a CTA bus driver.
"I can do laundry before or after work now," said Hall, a Grand Crossing resident for 22 years and bus driver for 10 years. "Before it opened back up, I was going to another laundromat on 83rd and Cottage Grove. I didn't care for it, but because it was close to my home I went there. I like this place better."
Washers are free every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9 a.m., and dryers are free all day Monday, manager Renesha Walton said. The laundromat is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
"Dryers cost 25 cents per 10 minutes, and washers range from $8.50 to $2.50 depending on how many loads you want to wash," Walton said.
Yolanda Matthews, 48, said she likes the laundromat because it is clean, quiet and has plenty of parking.
"I moved to [Grand Crossing] in October, and before this place opened I was going to another place. It had too may young people hanging out there, no parking lot and the floors were dirty all the time," said Matthews, a sales consultant. "I feel safe here every week I come, and I don't have to deal with people trying to sell me stuff while I am trying to wash."