“…enjoy every sandwich.” – Warren Zevon, songwriter/musician

When Zevon uttered these quirky words of gratitude, it wasn’t in a clever lyric from one of his dozens of great songs. Rather, it came in response to a question posed by his friend David Letterman during Zevon’s final appearance on the “Late Show,” after the singer had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Letterman had asked Warren what he understood better now, facing his own mortality, than he did before. He replied simply, “Just how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

Although this could’ve been just some glib remark casually tossed out by a rock star well-known for his sarcastic wit, it became an iconic reply speaking to the importance of being grateful for both the significant and the mundane in our lives.

Gratitude and giving thanks is the theme of this month’s issue, as we hear our CLA staff’s messages of thanks – and enjoy Bob Nieman’s terrific cover story on military veterans in the laundromat business during this month of Veterans Day observances. I know that I’m particularly thankful for these brave souls who have sacrificed to serve all of us – and are now serving laundromat customers with distinction each and every week.

In this disrupted year of natural disaster, global health crisis, economic tumult, social unrest and the quadrennial political cycle – now is the perfect time to give thanks for those things that have kept us going in 2020. Personally, I’m so thankful for the health of my family, the support of close friends, the incredibly resilient staff at the CLA who have never taken better care of our members – and you, the essential laundromat owners who rose to the occasion this year by caring for employees and your customers in the face of the pandemic.

This year codified the notion that “Laundromats Are Essential.” We’ve always known this, but it took a global pandemic (and a significant lobbying effort!) to make it an official designation from state capitals to The White House. I think about this label beyond the central threshold issue of staying open during the COVID-19 closures. Our journey toward “essential” enabled me to view all that we have as an industry with a renewed sense of appreciation.

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve our neighborhoods with the basic necessity of clean clothes. We are lucky to live in a country full of opportunities for entrepreneurship. We appreciate our laundromat attendants – essential workers all – on the front lines, keeping laundromats clean and safe. We are blessed to have found the mission of the LaundryCares Foundation and the opportunity to give back to the neighborhoods we serve. We wouldn’t be here if not for the tens of millions of families who visit laundromats each week.

And let’s not forget the enterprising manufacturers and suppliers who give us the tools required to get this essential job done. For years, I’ve heard the most successful laundromat owners take time out to thank their distributors for showing them the ropes and being reliable partners in creating the opportunity of laundromat ownership.

While the world around us may feel unsteady at times, I find taking a moment to reflect and give thanks for all that we have to be a grounding exercise. From higher powers and the love of our families to full coin boxes and the gentle sound of washers humming, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year.

So, please join me in thanking all those who have helped us during 2020 – and come the day after Thanksgiving, be sure to enjoy that leftover turkey sandwich like you never have before.

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