Clean and Fresh Laundromat, Decor and More open in Monona

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Also joining the Monona business community is Clean and Fresh Laundromat. Those in attendance at the ribbon cutting were Monona City Administrator Dan Canton, MCED Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, MCED board member and business owner Kelly Bulman, MCED Board President Brent Formanek, MCED Director Ali Werger, Ashlee Johanningmeier, Monona Mayor Barb Collins, Monona Councilwoman Randee Blietz and Alex Steege with FreedomBank. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Decor and More was welcomed into the Monona business community last week with a ribbon cutting. In attendance at the event were Alex Steege with FreedomBank, Monona Councilwoman Randee Blietz, Monona Chamber and Economic Development (MCED) Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, Monona Mayor Barb Collins, MCED Director Ali Werger, Chelsi Brainard, Ashlee Johanningmeier, MCED Board President Brent Formanek, MCED board member and business owner Kelly Bulman and Monona City Administrator Dan Canton.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Two new businesses have joined the ranks of the Monona business community, with the opening of the Clean and Fresh Laundromat and Decor and More at the corner of Main and Center Streets.

The laundromat, opened by Kenny Johanningmeier, was the brainchild of his daughter, Ashlee Johanningmeier, who also opened Decor and More with her friend, Chelsi Brainard.

“We were in here cleaning up and I thought it would be an amazing spot for a laundromat,” said Ashlee of the area at the front of the building that now houses Clean and Fresh. 

Ashlee said she shared her idea with her dad awhile back, but the plan never materialized. She recently prompted him to consider the idea again.

“The building was empty and we thought, ‘What can the city use?’” she said. “I talked to him and he agreed. Within two weeks, we had everything.”

“It’s a nice, spacious area,” Ashlee added. Residents have five washers and driers available to them and will be able to get change on-site. There is plenty of room and counter space to sort and fold laundry.

The laundromat, with it’s wood-paneled walls and sunlight streaming through the windows, also offers a relaxing environment for patrons. There’s a television, as well as a space to sit down and get work done or read a book or magazine.

Clean and Fresh Laundromat will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

In the back of the building, people can check out Decor and More. A variety of home decor items are available in the intimate retail setting, including refurbished windows, signage, wreathes, jars, rustic stars, tables and shelving, and more.

“All the wreathes are hand-made,” Ashlee said. “That’s where I started.”

From there, she moved on to using chalkboard paint, putting a strip on different-sized jars, allowing people to label them for their own use, like storing coins or nuts and bolts.

Now, Ashlee said she’s really into creating decor using old windows. For these, she paints the window frames and places different sayings and images on either the frame or glass. She covers parts of some of the windows with chalkboard paint, leaving room to write reminders, lists or other things.

“I do a lot of thrifting and searching [for items],” Ashlee said. “Then I tweak them, adding a little bit more and a little bit more.”

Ashlee said deciding to open the store with Chelsi happened quickly.

“There was this empty space, so I said, ‘You’re crafty, I’m crafty. Let’s start a business,’” Ashlee related. “It was a fast decision, but it’s been nice.”

She said her interests and Chelsi’s give the store a good balance of items.

“I like a lot of stars and primitive stuff,” Ashlee said, whereas Chelsi has a more modern style. She works with tables and creates items using wooden pallets, like wine racks. Chelsi also enjoys creating pieces for kids rooms.

Ashlee also has her own salon, so, for the time being, Decor and More will be open from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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