Elk Creek Car Wash & Laundromat Under New Ownership

Photo by William Billingsley

The Elk Creek Car Wash & Laundromat is under new ownership, and they’re pulling out all the stops as they modernize and expand what the car wash and laundromat property can do. Such improvements run the gamut, including a wash-and-fold laundry service, installing wireless Internet and credit card readers in the laundromat, and even an auto detailing service. The new owner’s also announced that there’ll be a food truck present on Fridays.

But just who is this mysterious new owner who purchased this venture all of a sudden?

Meet 24-year-old Seth Snyder, hailing from Basin in Bighorn County.

“For the last few years, since I was 19, I was doing traffic control for road construction. Just before I moved here, I ended up being a superintendent developing traffic control plans,” he said of his background.

He spent about a year in that role, but over the course of that year he began looking at owning some kind of real estate to diversify his investments. Like many first-time investors, he seriously explored owning multi-family homes, but it wasn’t until his father suggested that he take a look at commercial properties that he stumbled upon the Elk Creek Laundromat on a website.

“So I saw this, and took about 4 or 5 months to figure out how it would work out well and whatnot, and it made sense,” he said.

So he pulled the trigger on the purchase, despite not having any prior experience in running a car wash, laundromat, or even a business. But what he lacks in experience, he makes up for with enthusiasm and grit.

“It was worth it, just getting out here and doing it,” he added.

Snyder’s also been hard at on transforming his purchase, making one of the laundromat bays into a space where he can work on his auto detailing orders. Despite the aforementioned lack of experience, he does have professional detailing experience from someone who had been in the business for twelve years. And even though he’s only been here for less than a month, Snyder’s detailing service is booked out for a week-and-a-half already.

“I actually got a call for another request just before you got here,” he said.

More specifically, Snyder defined his auto detailing service as including three different categories: interior, exterior, or full.

“A lot of people want interior details done, and what that is going through, starting from back to front, we go through with scouring pads, we get anything deep out of your carpets, shampoo your carpets, shampoo your upholstery, stains out of the roof, shine up vinyl; if you have leather, we clean and condition it. I use an air gun, so any crack and crevice that you’re not gonna typically get the dirt out of, I can. And then afterwards, everything gets completely shined and polished,” he explained at length.

“As far as exterior goes, it’s the same thing on the outside. We do a major wash, pressure washing, and I even go back through with a hand. One, just to really get it, especially on the front bumper to get the bugs off, polish up your chrome, shine up your wheels, get the undercarriage…I mean everything,” he added.

His prices depend on the size and cleanliness of the car being detailed, but Snyder’s estimate was about $120 to $180. That might seem steep, but Snyder explained that he spends about 8 to 10 hours on each full detailing service and that he’s flexible in working with customers.

He’s also set up a “Wash and Fold” service where, for a fee, Snyder will do your laundry for you. The rates are based on a minimum fee of $6 before the weight-based rates kick in, but he provides all of the dryer sheets, detergents and bleach himself. Not one to be inconsistent, Snyder will also separate your whites.

Despite how ambitious and time-consuming these twin additions might be, Snyder explained that it is just him down here, although his father will be down in the future to help him out. He explained that, if things take off, he has no problem hiring help as demand dictates.

It isn’t all about innovation though, as Snyder talked at length about the overdue updates for the automatic car wash, the disused vacuum and more. Unfortunately for Snyder, his maintenance backlog is also a race against time as winter looms. But he’s doing all he can, even as he knows that some of the more aesthetic changes, like giving the place a fresh coat of paint, will have to wait until the spring.

He’s been hard at work getting to know the community and letting them know that the place is under new ownership. As a result, he’s noticed more than a few people have told him that they’ll start using the services again.

Snyder has also taken a liking to the community as well, adding that his impression of Kemmerer thus far is that it is awesome, adding that everyone he’s met has been “completely supportive and intrigued.”

“My plan is to definitely get embedded in this community and show that I’m here and ready to make a change and impact and help,” he said.

For Snyder though, being embedded in the community isn’t just about getting out there— it’s also about attending the city council meetings.

“I’ll be going to all the city council meetings…I want to know what’s going on in the city, and what people are doing. Especially as a business owner, I want to know about the decisions being made here,” he added.

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