WHAT’S GOING ON with Village Laundry and the Empty Building on Wilson Drive?

Published Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 1:34 pm

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Folks passing by the now empty building behind Sagebrush in Boone have been curious to know what happened to Village Laundry, the business that occupied the space for several years.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

The laundromat’s first owner, Tom Ives, erected the building at 217 Wilson Drive back in 1996. The business changed hands a little less than 10 years later to David Bixby, and again in 2012 when local resident Robert Sharpe purchased it.

A native of the Winston-Salem area and an alumnus of Appalachian State University, Sharpe saw purchasing the business as an opportunity to relocate to and reconnect with the Boone community.

“The previous owner had it for seven years before me, and Tom was running it before that,” Sharp said. “I piddled around with some investing, but I finally saw it for sale online and I ran it for the last couple of years.”

Village Laundry

During its nearly two decades in business, Village Laundry offered drop-off and Laundromat services for local residents, college students, area restaurants and more.

“We served a fair amount of students. We actually had a lot of loyal customers who would come up every year from out of town. People from the horse show in Blowing Rock would always come through during that week to do their horse blankets,” said Sharpe. “We bailed out a few hotels when their machines were broken down, and we had a lot of loyal local homeowners who rented their houses out. We did a lot with other business and local restaurants.”

Under Sharpe’s management, the 3,500-square-foot building housed 38 washing machines and 40 dryers, most of which were installed under previous ownership.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

“On average, 50 persons in one day was generally a good day.” Sharpe said. “Some days, it would get so busy there wouldn’t be a machine available.”

Several months ago, Sharpe accepted an out-of-state job offer and was faced with a decision to make about the future of Village Laundry. After searching for someone to take over the business with no interested buyers, Sharpe closed the business and sold the building.

Out of Business

Village Laundry saw its last day of business in mid-November, and passersby soon saw washers and dryers being hauled off of the property.

“It kind of snuck up on me, and it came as a shock to a lot of people,” said Sharpe. “Even as I was closing and loading up the machines, there were people pulling up trying to do their laundry.”

Sharpe said he enjoyed being part of the Boone business community and will greatly miss living in the High Country, although he’s looking forward to the next stage in his life.

Watauga County records indicate the deed to the building was transferred to SkyLine Telephone Membership Corporation on Nov. 23.

SkyLine, a West Jefferson-based member-owned cooperative, has not yet released any information related to the building’s potential use.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

The building at 217 Wilson Drive in Boone, which once housed Village Laundry, is now empty. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

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