Lisa Budnick is a well-known businesswoman and community activist in her South Philly neighborhood.
Budnick is the owner of Tenth Street Laundromat, located at the corner of 10th and Ellsworth streets. She began her business fourteen years ago when she was given the opportunity to buy a pre-existing, run-down Laundromat. Budnick left her corporate job once she and her husband decided to buy the laundromat, and spent two years renovating it inside and out.
“I didn’t realize I was buying a do-over, but it all just worked out,” said Budnick.
She ended up buying the entire building and decided to rent out the apartments above.
Budnick also went green on a lot of her machinery.
“I was energy-efficient before it was fashionable,” said Budnick.
Many laundromats have been labeled as “dingy” businesses because they encourage doing laundry and getting in and out. Tenth Street Laundromat, however, is promoted as a community hangout. Although the building has Wi-Fi, Budnick does not believe in cable as a means to pass the time. She has replaced television with artwork in her business.
In the beginning, she added funky mirrors to her washer and dryer doors to add some spunk. She found that many of her tenants had tremendous artistic abilities and decided to begin adding their artwork to her walls.
Budnick continues to add artwork from her customers and community members to her walls. She has art shows several times a year where she gives new artists small stipends.
“We’ve just had so many incredible things at this laudromat,” said Budnick.
There have been parties, ballet performances, concerts and several other events.
Budnick is also involved with community outreach in the neighborhood. She is focused on intertwining the Hispanic community in the neighborhood. She is involved in many of the programs the Passyunk Square Civic Association holds regarding neighborhood outreach.
A lot of her customers are immigrants and she feels that they should be embraced and welcomed.
She has always felt that she could help the community and has contributed greatly to the neighborhood. She is a Gold Member of the civic association, has helped support the ESL classes by providing scholarships, and has sponsored several community cleanups.
Budnick is grateful to have found herself with this business.
“This is my retirement plan,” she said.
Check out Budnick in South Philly Review or like her Facebook page.
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– Text, images and video by Danielle Parsons