It’s been over two years since a fire destroyed a popular neighbourhood laundromat in Mission. Now, on the verge of being able to welcome customers back, the owners are asking for the community’s help.
The journey to reopen Mama Bear’s Duds N Suds has been “nightmarish,” said owner Liz Levitt Durocher.
First they found out they were under-insured, then COVID hit, the price of building materials skyrocketed, along with their storage costs, Durocher said.
“In order to build, we have to do it as cost effectively as possible without (our finances) going into the ground before it finishes,” she said.
“I just need the community to come together, and we will be better, bigger and beautiful-er than we were before. I miss everybody and I can’t wait to open.”
Durocher and her husband, Trevor Levitt, are putting out a call for help, hoping for good deals on steel studs, drywall, lumber, and a sheet-metal fabricator.
The business gets its name from Durocher herself, as her seven children all call her “Mama Bear.”
She said that one of the hardest things about being closed, is the absence of the many close relationships they had with their customers.
If people with families and no money would call ahead of time, Durocher would leave out change cups or give them credit, she said.
“We managed to create all these wonderful relationships, and then it was all gone,” she said. “We’re a big family anyways.”
The business was open for less than a year when the fire happened, and the family had put all their savings into it, Durocher said.
A GoFundMe page did not reach it’s $2,000 donation goal, but Durocher said people did come in to help the family with the demolition work after the fire – work that had to be done themselves to save money.
“Sadly we were under-insured, and it’s biting us in the butt,” she said. “It’s just been a struggle for the last two years now.”
If everything goes to plan, the laundromat could be open in 10 weeks, Durocher said, “But that’s if everything goes smoothly.”
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