Retailers are igniting "creative cross-pollination" in Cape Town, reports Sarah Khan in The New York Times (1/25/14). An establishment called I Love My Laundry appears to be "a glamorous wine bar or supper club … at a glance it seems that the only nod to the location’s peculiar name is the clothslines strung with artwork, prints and pillowcases for sale, or the price tags attached to wine bottles with clothespins … I Love My Laundry is a dim sum bar. And an art and wine shop. And a weekly private fondue party." Last but not least, it is a laundromat.
"Cape Town is a small city, and anything arty, unusual and stylish just works here," says Clayton Howard, I Love My Laundry’s owner. "Something that doesn’t work is franchises," he continues. "Locals prefer supporting small, privately owned businesses. The more quirky or diverse, the more successful." In part this is because of the "natural creativity" indigenous to Cape Town (it is the World Design Capital 2014). It’s also because "the global economic downturn has forced entrepreneurs to generate revenues in original ways."
Other local hybrid retailers include Pedersen and Lennard’s, which "sells minimalist furniture alongside a range of coffee, pastries,” and Haas Design Collective, a combination restaurant, art gallery and advertising agency. Los Meurtos Motorcycles is "biker shop-meets coffeehouse-meets-film-production studio” … and the House of Machines is "a men’s lifestyle store and café/bar." At Latitude 33, the mix is restaurant, art gallery and apparel. "Some people come for the restaurant then come upstairs and buy the clothes," says Gareth Walford. "Others come for the clothes then buy the art. It’s all helping each other."