WICHITA — Dan Schmidt is nothing if not an experimental Laundromat operator.
The Lost Sock owner is having mixed success with his latest endeavors.
First, he tried to provide some entertainment at his 1902 E. Pawnee Lost Sock with pool and video games.
"The focus was to get the kids occupied on something other than playing in the carts," Schmidt says.
Now, the games are a little too much of a focus.
Schmidt says he's heard from some customers that the Laundromat has "turned into a pool hall, and there's people in there playing video games more than doing laundry."
Though he says some people say, "This place has turned into a casino," with lots of noise, he says there are others who are enjoying it.
"There's both sides of the fence."
Schmidt is one month into a one-year contract for the games. He's not sure if he'll keep them after that.
Over at his Lost Sock at 5455 S. Hydraulic, Schmidt says he's made a substantial investment in the greenhouse that was already on his property when he purchased it in 2009. He says he's using the heat from the greenhouse to help quickly heat his dryers.
"It's tied right to the Laundromat."
Now, Schmidt is heading to Florida to learn about using fish water to feed hydroponic plants.
"I'm going to class this week on it," he says.
Schmidt is visiting a self-sustaining farm to learn about raising fish behind the greenhouse and using the water that the fish fertilize to feed his plants. He then plans to purify the water to feed the fish and eventually sell them. Schmidt is still learning how the entire process works.
He'll be in class for two weeks.
"It's really intensive."
Schmidt says he had a vision when he purchased his Hydraulic property.
"I saw all the potential in the world," he says.
"I've always liked greenhouses and plants and trees. It's just appealing to me – more than the laundry business."