533. The Commons – November 6, 2021 – Detroit, MI

The Commons exudes community spirit! I experienced that firsthand during my visit to the East Side-based laundromat/coffee house.

The Commons is owned and operated by MACC Development, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the residents of Detroit’s 48214 zip code. It’s located on the ground floor of a pretty brown-brick building on Mack Avenue, below the MACC Development offices.

I opted to experience both the laundromat and café aspects of The Commons. I had a comforter that needed laundering, and I was excited by the prospect of sipping a cappuccino while I waited for it to be washed.

Walking into the place, I admittedly felt the nerves of a new kid walking into the first day of school. There was a lot I needed to learn. Where would I get change? What size washer would my bulky comforter fit in? Where should I put my laundry basket so it was out of the way? And where were the restrooms?

These questions were graciously answered by The Commons staff members. I could get change from the quarter machine just beyond the coffee counter. They thought my comforter would fit in a four-load washer (it did, but barely, so I opted for a six-load washer). I could put my laundry basket in one of the wheely laundry carts they provided and wheel it over to where I was sitting. And the restrooms were through the exit door at the back of the shop and required a key for entrance. (May knowing this information ease your new-kid jitters should you decide to visit!)

Those staff members were welcoming from the get-go. They greeted me right when I walked into The Commons, explaining how I got a free coffee or tea just for doing laundry (how cool is that?). If I preferred one of the specialty drinks instead, they explained, I’d receive a $2 discount on one of those.

In addition to offering a variety of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, The Commons serves food, including delicious-looking cookies, pastries, ice creams, smoothies, and sandwiches. A drop-off laundry service is also offered.

Once I figured out how to use the washers (which was easier than I’d expected), I used the $2 discount to order that cappuccino I’d dreamed of. I sipped it in a seat at the end of the barista counter, reading as I did and listening to patrons I presumed were regulars chatting with the staff and each other. There was a convivial spirit to their interactions that I found heartwarming. According to its website, The Commons aims to act as a community space. It appears to be achieving that aim.

Did some of that community spirit rub off on me? Walking into The Commons with my laundry basket, I was stopped by a man driving by who asked if I’d like help carrying the load in. I was touched by his generosity. And a fellow patron chatted me up for several minutes while waiting for his drink. Who knows, maybe with another visit or two, I’ll be a part of the fold!

7900 Mack Ave.

Detroit, MI 48214