MD laundromat starts untact laundry service

The dry cleaning market is yet another industry that has accelerated the adoption of contactless service methods as coronavirus cases continue to rise across Maryland.

Amy’s Laundry, located at 271 E. Main St. in Westminster, is believed to be the first full-service laundromat to provide contactless pickup and delivery dry cleaning to Carroll County residents at no additional charge.

Laundromat owner Amy Doody has been on Main Street since 2018. But this year, she says she and her laundry attendants began washing, folding and bagging clothes after customers complete requests online at

“The response to the new service has been positive, but [the service] is new,” said Doody. “People like the idea of having their clothes dropped off to their house so that they don’t have to come in contact with others.”

According to Doody, when the pandemic first hit, her business certainly slowed down –– like many other local businesses across America –– and people needed assurances about the efficiency of the sanitizing methods after each use.

At Amy’s, all clothes are turned inside out, treated with the appropriate enzyme depending on the stain, separated and dried, folded to a 9-inch by 12-inch board, and then either hung or packed into bags for customers.

But after some thought, Doody began to think about how she and her staff could offer their service process without even needing to see their customers. And in November, Amy’s started picking up the laundry from various homes across Carroll County.

“I believe this is an essential service for our area,” said Donna Dressel, a Carroll County resident. “With the current concern over COVID, it’s nice to know there’s a company out there with our best interest at heart. Knowing that my clothes come back sanitized and safe for my family to wear is amazingly reassuring.”

The widespread coin shortage has largely affected retail and grocery stores. And laundromats can also be added to the that list.

The Federal Reserve says the pandemic is disrupting the coin supply chain and coin circulation, and now coin-operated laundromats in Carroll County are finding other ways to maneuver around the shortage.

Before the pandemic, in July of 2019, Amy’s had already converted from a coin-only laundromat to card-operated laundromat. Customers have the ability to purchase a laundry card and directly add money from via credit, debit or cash using the payment system inside of the laundromat.

In addition to the removal of all coin-operated machines, the staff has placed markers on the floors for people to stand and separated folding tables to be socially distant, while customers are inside the facility.

Once customers began to experience the safety measures put into place, business at Amy’s began to resume.

“Once people realized that we were probably one of the cleanest places you could go, business picked back up again,” said Doody. “And knowing that we return clothes sanitized and folded to the 9/12 standard is incredibly satisfying to them.”

owner of a Dry cleaner gets 2 years in prison for arson

The owner of a Sarpy County dry cleaning business that went up in smoke two years ago is being sentenced to prison.

Michael Mckernon

On Thursday Michael McKernan, owner of Wardrobe Spa that exploded in 2018, was sentenced to two years in prison for arson. McKernan was sentenced to two years for arson and one year for defrauding an insurer. The sentences will run concurrently, and with the “good time law” in effect, he could be released in a year. 

Following the explosion of Wardrobe Spa dry cleaners, McKernan sought to recover money from two insurance companies. An investigation revealed his business to have lost $100,000 in its first six months. Investigators later determined the act was arson, and the Sarpy County Attorney’s Office filed charges against him in 2019.

Court documents show that McKernan drilled holes into gas lines for a dryer and furnace. That leaking gas ignited, causing the explosion and fire that destroyed the building.

McKernan pled “no contest” in September. His lawyers asked for no jail time and only probation, but the judge said that wasn’t a sufficient punishment for potentially putting lives at risk. “This was a sentence that could carry probation, imprisonment, or a combination of the two, so we were prepared,” said Mallory Hughes, McKernan’s attorney. “It sounds like the judge reviewed everything that was sent to her and structured what she thought was a good sentence.”

Ben Perlman, deputy county attorney said he “thought it was a fair sentence for the seriousness of what happened.”

“There’s no question that people would’ve shown up. They would’ve been not in the parking lot — they would have gone right up to the building to find out where the gas smell was coming from. It could’ve been a lot worse,” he said.

McKernan’s wife was in the courtroom for the sentencing Thursday morning and cried as she watched her husband being led away in handcuffs.

LaFrance Cleaners gets $120,000 for equipment upgrade

LaFrance Cleaners has closed on $100,000 in bond financing from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, as well as a $20,000 grant from the agency.

LaFrance Cleaners received $120,000 to replace its aging equipment

The funds will be used to replace the dry-cleaning business’ aging equipment, which uses perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen. It will also allow LaFrance to use newer, more environmentally conscious solvents.

“LaFrance Cleaners is making an important investment to improve its operations and promote a healthier environment, and we applaud their commitment to taking the right steps to improve air quality,” said Christina O’Keeffe, executive director of Air Quality Development Authority, in a statement. “We are committed to supporting Ohio small businesses, like LaFrance Cleaners, that want to exceed the current standards of the Clean Air Act.”


Founded in 1945, LaFrance Cleaners is a third-generation business with its central site on Glenwood Avenue in Youngstown, as well as two stores – in Boardman and Poland – and seven pick-up and delivery routes.

“I want to thank the OAQDA for making it possible for us to upgrade our technology to eliminate the use of [perchloroethylene] at our dry-cleaning plant,” said Stephen Weiss, owner of LaFrance Cleaners. “They were easy to work with and helped us throughout the application process.”

The Air Quality Development Authority’s Clean Air Resource Center offers financing packages that are structured to suit the needs of individual projects, incentivized with tax benefits using conduit bonds and grants to to help small businesses cover a portion of the principal amount.

Car crash, fire destroys Chocowinity Mayor’s dry cleaning shop

A car hit a dry cleaner, right when the shop’s owner — Chocowinity’s Mayor — and the town’s Police Chief were inside.

9 On Your Side Digital Reporter Victoria Holmes was on scene soon after it happened.

Mayor James Mobley Jr., Police Chief Ralph Whitehurst, and the driver were the only ones involved in the incident. 

No one was seriously hurt. In fact, the driver was able to walk out of the car to a medic’s stretcher. 

State troopers may have an idea what let to the collision and fire. State trooper Matthew Hauser said “the driver indicated to me that he hadn’t had anything to eat today. It could be a medical condition. He’s in the hospital now, receiving treatment for a little bit of back pain and some scrapes.”

Chocowinity Dry Cleaners has been operating in the town since 1951.

Mayor Mobley is thankful everyone involved avoided serious injury, but this crash and fire has cost his family a lot — their livelihood.

Soil samples at former Macy’s contain dry-cleaning chemicals

Sampling conducted at the former Macy’s in Burlington shows the soil does contain potentially harmful chemicals inked to a former dry-cleaner in the area, but officials say it doesn’t mean the building is unsafe.

The former department store is under consideration to relocate Burlington High School students in February after the high school building was deemed unsafe because of PCBs this fall. Vt. Department of Environmental Conservation officials say they found chlorinated solvents in the soil from the former business. Perchloroethylene, also known perc, has been found at numerous other sites around the state and has been linked to cancer.

Friday, the DEC will test the air quality at the site. Officials say the results of those tests will determine if the former Macy’s is fit to house students. They say a vapor barrier was installed when the building was constructed, which is meant to prevent soil gas from migrating into the indoor air. These tests will also tell if it’s working.

The Burlington School District has agreed to a tentative lease depending on the outcome of the tests. Officials have said it’s not an ideal learning space and will cost taxpayers at least an extra $10 million, but board members hope the community will embrace the new location.