VNL Investigates: Fargo laundromat bans kids

“These kids were crying in their car. You could just see the sweat... It was so heartbreaking.”
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:22 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A Fargo woman is asking for change after witnessing a single mother struggle to do laundry at a laundromat that doesn’t allow children inside. She says the mother was faced with a choice, give her kids clean laundry or have them sit in a hot car for hours.

“We’re lucky those kids made it. They were here for 3.5 hours out in that car, and they wouldn’t even let them inside to go to the bathroom.” said Tanya Janich, a frequent customer at Fargo’s Finest Coin Laundry.

Every month Janich helps her friend do all of her laundry, but on July 14 Janich said she watched a single mother have to leave her 3 kids between 6- and 2-years old in the car. The mom had to do laundry, but couldn’t bring her kids inside.

“These kids were crying in their car.” said Janich, “You could just see the sweat... It was so heartbreaking.”

With temperatures in the 90′s, Janich said she knew she had to step up and help the mom out.

“I was so angry I just wanted to unbuckle those kids and bring them right in.” said Janich.

She gave the mom $20 to get the kids ice cream, and also confronted management. But Janich said she wasn’t satisfied with their lack of willingness to help their customers.

“There’s tables in there. Those kids could have sat at those tables with a mask on and covered their face instead of sitting in a hot car for 3.5 hours.” she said.

Fargo’s Finest Coin Laundry owner Marie Nordhougen said they’ve had the no children allowed policy for more than a year. Their reasoning being children can’t be vaccinated yet so they aren’t allowed in to protect other customers.

Nordhougen said she offers children who have to wait outside water and chips, but Janich said that wasn’t the case for the family she witnessed.

Janich said she worries about other parents who can’t afford childcare.

“People don’t have... Not all of them have the opportunity to leave their kids with a babysitter or have the financial ability to pay for a babysitter,” she said, “If changes aren’t going to be made... there’s other laundromats in Fargo that do not have these stipulations.”

Nordhougen said the no children rule will stay in place until “COVID is over.”

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