As shortage cuts its cache of coins, local business sees change

As you might imagine, a laundromat is one of the businesses feeling the effects of a nationwide coronavirus-driven coin shortage.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 6:33 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you've been out buying groceries or food, you've probably noticed many places asking for exact change.

Since commerce is suffering from the pandemic, it's causing a coin shortage across the country.

One local laundromat is even recycling its coins to make it through.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Ethan Andrews, who owns Lucy's Laundry with his wife.

Although he loves money that folds, it’s the money that jingles that has kept his business intact for nine years.

"I actually got a call from our local banker who was asking me if we had quarters we could give the bank," he said.

He says after giving a couple thousand dollars worth of quarters to help out, "We started running short, so I actually had to go back to the bank and get some of those back."

He didn't realize how much the quarter shortage would impact his business.

He says the business has Apple Pay and credit card options, but that doesn't benefit people who don't have a card.

It takes $2.75 — 11 quarters — to wash one load, which has some people digging deep in their piggy banks.

"Anybody who has been out knows that any store you go into, they want exact change or they want you to help them out with change. They will buy your money," Andrews said.

Experts say the coin shortage has been caused by an overall decline in commerce, especially cash transactions at brick-and-mortar businesses where coins typically enter the economy. The safety precautions of the pandemic still have many people working from home and shopping online, using electronic transactions to pay for goods.

With quarters, nickels and dimes not going around as freely as they usually do, Andrews ' business had to make some adjustments.

"We had to recycle the quarters more often, so where as typically we would do it once a week, we had to do it two or three times a week to keep up with the shortage," Andrews said.

It’s a shortage he hopes will continue to wash away over time.

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