A handwritten note taped to the storefront window tells the story.
"To all of my friends that have used my laundromat for 40 years, I would like to thank you. The landlord has given me 30 days."
One of just two remaining laundromats in Davis, the Wash Mill on East Eighth Street will close Sunday after 40 years to make way for a Goodwill and Goodwill Express location. That leaves residents in the neighborhood facing an odd irony: They will have a place to donate and buy clothes, but one fewer place to wash them.
"It's ridiculous," Amanda Weakland said on a recent chilly day outside Wash Mill in the Davis Manor shopping center. The single mother of a 9-year-old son borrowed a car to get to the laundromat, but needed no help venting frustration at its closing.
She named other stores at Davis Manor that cater to the neighborhood's students and working-class residents a Grocery Outlet and a Dollar Tree and said the Wash Mill is a natural fit.
"There are so many people who are working. It's the only 24-hour laundromat in Davis. There are so many students who use it," Weakland said. "It's sad. I don't want it to go. $3.75 to do 40 pounds of laundry? Students aren't rich. They need a place like this."
So what gives?
At first glance, laundromats would seem to be a lock here. Davis has a large university population, numerous apartments and other rentals that house college students and working-class families.
Newer apartment buildings are required by city code to have at least one washer and dryer for every five units, but tenants in older buildings do not have the same access.
Sharon Miller, the Wash Mill's owner, knows the story. "The older homes don't have washers and dryers, and there are apartment (buildings) with only one washer and dryer," Miller said. "There are a lot of people who work swing shifts. People come in from West Sacramento. They say, 'You're the only place that's open 24 hours.' "
Yet, the Wash Mill is the latest in a string of laundromats to close in Davis. Downtown's Quick Clean Center on G Street closed in November. Out west on Lake Boulevard, Soap City shut down in summer 2011.
Miller said the Wash Mill's end couldn't be avoided. Davis Manor's landlord, the San Diego-based Byers and Co., gave Miller her 30-day notice last month to make way for Goodwill, the center's new anchor tenant.
The city's economic development office said it can help Miller if she chooses to seek a new location.
But Miller said relocating is out of the question. She estimates it would take about $150,000 to move her nearly 60 washers and dryers and find a new site.
"I can't afford that," she said. "I'm like, 'Crap, this is really happening. You can't fight City Hall,' "
Then, after a pause, she added, "Or Goodwill."
Mark Bitterlin, president of Byers and Co., said the laundromat's closing is "not my problem."
Trying to attract and keep tenants in an aging discount shopping center with no anchor and a 30 percent vacancy rate is a tough bit of business, too, he said. When Goodwill Industries came calling with a request for a 10-year lease for 6,600 square feet of space, Bitterlin was quick to move.
"It's the first time in four years that the center will be 100 percent occupied," Bitterlin said, adding that Goodwill is a good fit for Davis Manor and the neighborhood.
"It's too bad that (Wash Mill) had to go, but it's for the greater good," he said.
Sarah Worley, Davis' economic development coordinator, said residents have expressed concern over laundromat closures in the city.
"There is certainly a demand. We received many emails from the community not just in the neighborhood. The demand still exists," she said. "Our hope is that someone will respond to that market demand."
Meanwhile, Wash Mill customers such as Weakland are weighing whether to haul their clothes to the Laundry Lounge in north Davis, the city's last remaining coin-op laundry, or if their buildings have laundry rooms to pay more for clean clothes.
Jonathan Fuller folded his young son's laundry on a recent Wednesday at Wash Mill. The family's wash dries on the clothesline in warmer weather, he said, but the Fullers use the Wash Mill during the wet winter months.
"I don't even know where the other (laundromat) is," Fuller said.