Avery wasn’t what you’d call your typical guy. He was a person out of his time and place.
He liked to dress in neatly pressed slacks, penny loafers and button down shirts. With a paisley cravat neatly tucked into his collar which, on the surface, doesn’t sound odd except he lived in a rural farming community in the heartland of Florida.
He didn’t really fit in with the 'overall' set is what I'm saying.
Neither did his house. Amid the small concrete bungalows built to shelter the migrant workers, Avery built a palatial compound that included: the main house of seventeen rooms, an Olympic sized swimming pool replete with a bath house containing three bedrooms, a five car garage (although he only owned two cars) and a sprawling English garden that would rival the palaces of any European country.
He wasn’t a sugar plantation owner. He wasn’t the son of a sugar plantation owner. As a matter of fact, no one knew where Avery came by his apparent money.
And yet, the people in his small community didn’t resent him. On the contrary, they liked him quite a bit.
He was pleasant and gregarious, always willing to help a neighbor. But the thing they all agreed they liked most about Avery was his sense of humor.
His sense of humor was, at its best, unusual. At its worst still incredibly funny. And he had the means to exhibit his humor when it suited him.
In the summer of ’01 it suited him. He decided to open an establishment. He had noticed the residents of his small town had limited occasions or places to socialize. So he took it upon himself to give them somewhere to go and have a good time.
Why not open a café, he thought.
But not just ANY café. Why not provide somewhere to go where you could have a good time and still be productive. And that’s when the brilliant idea hit him. Why not have a café where you could sit and relax and chat with friends while doing your laundry? It was the PERFECT idea! You had to sit around and wait in a regular Laundromat anyway. Why not make it a pleasant experience? And why not, he thought, have it be a place where you could get a nice meal and a drink?
And so it came to pass, in the summer of ’01, Avery Gotlieb opened the first and only (to anyone’s knowledge)
COIN WASH AND SEAFOOD CAFÉ
(ed.’s note: In the state of Florida, in a small inland town, there stands an unobtrusive white washed concrete building with a hand painted (in red) sign that reads: COIN WASH AND SEAFOOD CAFÉ. I saw it with my own eyes. We didn’t stop to investigate and I’ve wondered ever since what it would have been like if we had gone in.)