Betty Lynne Burwash has operated The Mat in Crossfield for a year. She took over the business that had been operating in town for almost eight years, and gave a small business seen in almost every town a unique spin.
The Mat is a laundromat located on Railway Street in Crossfield. For years it operated like a typical laundromat; it washed and dried clothes, garments, and residential and industrial laundry. Today, The Mat’s website describes it as a Laundry and Social House.
“We combined the historical laundromat with a cafe, gathering place vibe,” said Burwash, who has a background in design and architectural technologies. “My creative side definitely had an influence on my vision when I first put the offer in.”
The retro vibe that Burwash has imbued in The Mat is clear; the coin operated self-serve washer and drying machines are painted in a calm yellow and aqua blue. A counter in the store sells snacks and drinks and there is plush seating by a window that allows you to look out across Railway Street. Paintings adorn the walls and merchandise like hats and stickers featuring the phrase, Dirty Hands, Clean Money, are featured on racks and at the counter.
The Mat’s staff work to provide wash and fold services for all their customers. Their focus is not limited to certain items, instead the laundromat lists residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural items among the washing services they provide. The Mat even offers special operating instruction and special sensitive soaps and softeners. It also offers special pickup and delivery on washing orders.
When asked about the response from the local community about the change to the historic business, Burwash said, “It’s a great community to be a part of and to be a small business in a small town in Alberta is great. There are certainly challenges with many small businesses, but in a supportive community it certainly makes it a lot easier.”