TICONDEROGA - Staring a bleak economy in the face, Chattie VanWert made a bold decision.
"I decided I needed to make a commitment to keep my business healthy," said the owner of Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning in Ticonderoga.
That commitment is an $80,000 investment in 14 new dryers, two new washers and other improvements.
"You can't keep a laundry healthy with 30-year-old dryers," VanWert said.
The state-of-the-art dryers and washers are high efficiency, high capacity - and quiet.
VanWert is counting on the new equipment and experienced staff to make Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning viable in the future.
"If you don't have good equipment and good service in a laundry, what do you have?" she asked. "We have great people working here; now they have great equipment."
Last year VanWert was hoping to see her business and the century-old Sunshine Corner building in downtown Ti. She decided to sell the building after the death of her husband, Jeff.
"The building and business were for sale, but this isn't the (economic) climate for that," VanWert said. "So I decided to stay in business and commit to it."
Also known as the Adkins and Scott building, the Sunshine Corner building marked its 100th anniversary in 2008.
"It was a grocery store for many years and became a laundry about 40 years ago," VanWert said. "It's a wonderful, historic building."
The VanWerts purchased the building, which has apartments upstairs, and laundry business in 1992. They made major upgrades to the building while raising their sons, Ben and Gerrit.
The building has two murals on either side of the front entrance, both painted by Jeff VanWert. One depicts Lake George and the other Lake Champlain.
Businessmen Adkins and Scott hired W.A. Gale to construct their building. A grand opening was held Nov. 19, 1908.
They sold groceries and had six apartments upstairs. The business thrived and an addition to the building was constructed in 1946 by Richard Grinnell.
In the late 1950s, International Paper leased a portion of the building for use as a converting plant.
Alfred Stanley bought the building in 1963 and opened the Sunshine Corner Dry Cleaning and Laundry.
In 1980 the building was used to store equipment for that winter's Olympic Games in Lake Placid.
In 1978 Carl and Yvonne Krauss bought the building and business, operating it until selling to the VanWerts in 1992.