Yummi Café Laundromat is a small business with a big heart and an even bigger vision. What began as a neighbourhood café and Toronto laundromat has grown into a community outreach program designed to serve people with an essential service when they need it most – free laundry. Inspired by their mission and vision, Yummi Café Laundromat was selected as our Doing Good category winner in our 2022 Tails of Triumph Contest. Let’s get to know this amazing company.
How it started
Yummi Café Laundromat was established in 2015 to provide a hip new laundry experience in Toronto.
Founded by Nancy Seto and her husband Connor – two successful former project managers/executives who wanted to build a life around their children within their local community – Yummi Cafe Laundromat was created as a community hub. They offered an array of laundry services and products, including wash and fold services and eco-friendly options, alongside a full-service café. The café offered hot and cold beverages, food and snacks, over 30 flavours of Kawartha Dairy ice cream, a wide variety of authentic Bubble teas and free Wi-Fi to encourage customers to linger and enjoy the space.
Adapting to their community’s needs
Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy and Connor witnessed its devastating social and economic impact on their community firsthand – as well as its impact on the city, province and country at large. They realized that clean clothing and bedding were essential in the fight against COVID, so they developed a “Free Laundry Access Program” which enabled anyone negatively impacted by the pandemic to visit Yummi Café Laundromat to do their laundry (wash, dry and use the café’s detergents) for free.
Setting their sights on expansion
The program proved to be very helpful locally, so the couple set out to expand it. They started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money. They were featured in a positive CBC News segment which garnered considerable attention, helping them to collect donations. They successfully expanded the program by partnering with another like-minded laundromat owner located at the other end of Toronto.
Envisioning a national community outreach program
Their business is constantly evolving and changing.
Being responsive to these changes and approaching them with open eyes and an open heart goes beyond just building business success. It is a long-term commitment to transforming our community, supporting all of our neighbours, being inclusive and diverse and setting a positive example for our children.
The success of their program has demonstrated the ongoing need for their free services and made them think that they’re not thinking big enough. They plan to expand nationally through corporate partnerships and community organizations in the coming years. They hope the national program will aid all communities and individuals facing poverty, homelessness and the adverse effects of acute economic downturns.
We were proud to recognize Yummi Café Laundromat in our 2022 Tales of Triumph Contest. They are more than just great local place to hang out and do laundry. Their business helps deliver more for Canadians in need.
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