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Tumbling along: Homey New England laundromat nears 1-year anniversary

Press Photo by Bryan Horwath Vivian Hernandez, who along with her husband Dave Hernandez, owns The Tumbler laundromat in New England, stands in her place of business on March 3. Vivian and Dave also own a laundromat by the same name in Bowman.

When searching for new business possibilities a couple of years ago, Vivian Hernadez suddenly had a light-bulb idea.

“I was thinking about doing some sort of cleaning business and it just came to me in the middle of the night,” Hernandez said. “We used to have a laundromat in New England. That’s how it all started and soon we got ahold of the Small Business Development Center in Dickinson.”

After learning about what they would need to start a laundromat business of their own in New England, Vivian and her husband, Dave, soon got on a path that would lead to the opening of The Tumbler, which laundered its first load of dirty clothes in August.

Located on the small southwest North Dakota town’s Main Street, Vivian said the idea behind The Tumbler is for it to serve as a friendly neighborhood place where customers can wash their clothes and not feel like they’ve left home.

“For New England, a facility this size really is too much. But we’re hearing and we’re hoping that things will get more and more busy around here,” Vivian said. “We also get some business from Dickinson, I think, because we have a family friendly business with an area for kids and a place to watch TV. We’re hoping to get more of that oilfield traffic as well.”

A roomy, clean and neatly decorated space, The Tumbler offers all the laundry services one would expect from such a facility, along with a flat-screen TV and small lounge area, children’s play area, and men’s and women’s restrooms.

“There really is a lot going on in New England these days,” Vivian said. “There are new apartments that are getting ready to come online and a young couple just bought a business across the street from us. What we were hoping for was for a place that was nice and homey and a place that people would take care of. I think, for the most part, that’s happened.”

Though it looks nothing like one of the infamous Oil Patch laundromats frequented by Bakken workers, Vivian said her facility has three different oilfield laundry-ready machines — special industrial-strength detergent is also available. The Tumbler even has an on-site attendant.

“The community has been very helpful and it seems like people here love the facility,” Vivian said. “One thing we’d really like to expand on is our wash, dry, fold service, where people can bring their stuff in, I weigh it, and then wash, dry and fold everything for a fee. I’m not sure people really realize we have that service available.”

In addition to the New England location, Vivian said the couple also recently purchased a laundromat in Bowman, which also now goes by The Tumbler moniker.

“The location in Bowman has been doing very well,” Vivian said. “We think our New England location could eventually that well, too. We have good parking here and I think it’s a place people like.”

Down the road, Vivian said there could also be a nearby self-serve car wash as the couple — who live about 15 minutes south of New England — own an L-shaped lot on the site that houses The Tumbler.

Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., The Tumbler also offers free Wifi service and is monitored by cameras day and night.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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