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Shopping experience gets cleaner with Waukegan supermarket’s laundry

Super Clean Laundrommanager Jennie Perez Beach Park shows features washing machines first time customer LuciSotelo Waukegan. Super Fresh Market located

Super Clean Laundromat manager Jennie Perez of Beach Park shows features on washing machines to first time customer Lucia Sotelo of Waukegan. Super Fresh Market located at 1700 N. Lewis Ave. in Waukegan has opened a laundromat connected to the store. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 24, 2013 6:02AM

One-stop shopping just got better at Super Fresh Market in Waukegan with the addition of a laundromat.

The supermarket at 1700 N. Lewis Ave., already has in place a Guaranty Bank branch, a barbershop, a beauty salon, a bakery, a deli, a lunch counter, a Cricket telephone store, a garden center and a service desk where you can buy lottery tickets and wire money anywhere in the world.

There also is a Famsa store where you can buy electronics, a refrigerator or furniture and have them delivered to Mexico and elsewhere. Famsa is reputed as a household name in Mexico.

But the newly opened laundromat is what sets Super Fresh apart from its competitors. It offers convenience and savings, especially to the large number of apartment dwellers in the neighborhood. Bear in mind a pair of new washer and dryer can easily cost more than $800 these days.

“We want our store to truly offer a one-stop shopping convenience for our customers,” said Eli Akiva, co-owner of the supermarket. He and partner, Zak Segev, bought the 100,000-square-foot building, formerly a Cub Foods store, in 2006. After remodeling, they opened Super Fresh Market in March 2007. Akiva manages the Waukegan store while Segev takes care of a store in Chicago.

At the spic-and-span laundromat called Super Clean Laundry at the far end of the sprawling building, customers can drop off their laundry as early as 6 a.m. every day, come to the store to shop and then pick up their laundry later. The place is served by a full-time attendant who, for a small fee, will even fold your laundry.

There are 88 Speed Queen-brand heavy-duty machines, mostly washers. Some washers can handle 80 pounds of laundry per load. The cost for washing 80 pounds is $7.50. Drying costs 75 cents for a load up to 45 pounds.

Hanging on the wall are three flat-screen television sets — one in English, another in Spanish and the third featuring children’s programs.

For the grand opening, a customer who spends $20 at the laundromat can get $5 off on grocery purchases.

Before opening the 4,000-square-foot laundromat, the owners added a floor above it, thereby gaining another 4,000 square feet, which they plan to rent. Possible tenants could be an insurance company or a law office or both, Akiva speculated.

“If that should happen, Super Fresh Market would become even more of a one-stop shopping place,” he said.

According to Akiva, Super Fresh has the largest frozen food and dairy product selections in Lake County. It also has the largest Filipino clientele in the area. He stressed he didn’t make up these claims himself. “We’ve been so told by our wholesalers,” he said.

Super Fresh boasts a weekly customer base of 25,000 people, or as Carl Waggoner, the general manager, pointed out, “That’s 25 percent of the population of Waukegan.” Translated into a daily count, the store averages more than 3,500 customers a day.

“We can handily compete with Jewel and Walmart,” said a confident Akiva.

In fact, there’s no other store in the county with shelves filled with a large selection of food products from India, Jamaica and the Pacific Rim. In tofu alone, it carries two brands offering soft and firm choices. Both are made in America, however.

And, Super Fresh apparently sells bananas by the boatload. At 29 cents a pound, that probably is the lowest price in the area.

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