TEMPLE, TX — It’s safe to say Jim Geisler, the manager of WaveMax on Olaf Dr. in Temple, saw triple or even quadruple the number of residents come into the laundromat on Wednesday than on any regular busy day.
It’s because after 4 days without water due to the harsh weather the week prior, the business opened its doors once again.
Then, the city called with a proposal those that the shop could not pass up.
“The chief said 'hey we got an opportunity for you,'” Geisler said, explaining the conversation he had with the Chief of Police for the Temple Police Department. “We got to thinking about all the comments that people were making in that they’re still down, you’re up but they’re still down… thinkin’ about all that we said 'yeah, were in.'”
The city gave the business and another local laundromat, Coin Laundry, $1,000 each to open its doors for all residents to utilize at no cost on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I don’t know how you put a money figure on something like this, you can’t,” Geilser said. “You know, probably what the city gave us will cover the utilities…and that’s good.”
The City of Temple has been hard at work recovering from the winter storm.
Officials said they’ve had multiple conversations with community leaders as well as city officials who are on the streets, cleaning up from the storm, on what residents need the most.
“Laundry came up as a pretty significant need and it wasn't something we had thought about or planned for,” Emily Parks, the communications and PR manager for the city said. “But when we found out it definitely was something that we mobilized very quickly to make happen.”
With the help from community partners who donated supplies like laundry detergent and softener, the city only had to spend an additional $200 to make the 2-day event happen.
”It's in the fabric of who we are,” Parks said. “It's in the culture of our organization, and it's what we want to do. Do the right thing, take care of others, that's what Temple’s about.”
Collectively the partnership washed away as many problems as they could.
”We did not realize that we didn't know what we're getting into,” Geilser said. “Yes, it was a lot of a lot of labor, but you know, it was fun. I guess the hard part was when everybody left.”
Although the free laundry services are over, city officials said they created a recovery task force that will connect those seeking help with local government, nonprofits and faith-based services.