Lou Cizauskas is a Bright Light
Lou Cizauskas is a Banner Bright Light
Louis Cizauskas was raised on the west side of Grand Rapids and at age 18, joined the U.S. Army. His three older brothers, all in the armed forces, told him not to enlist, but to volunteer for the draft. So being the obedient little brother he was, he took their advice. Two weeks later, he got his draft letter and went overseas. He spent 13 months overseas in Korea, where he was present to see the captured sailors of the U.S.S. Pueblo spy ship released.
“You know that show ‘MASH’?” Cizauskas said. “Where that takes place, Uijeongbu, South Korea, is a real city north of Seoul. It's where I was stationed.”
Cizauskas said he was a pole lineman, but that his time in the army was really pretty mellow. After 20 months in the service, he returned to Michigan and attended college on the GI Bill. He attended Grand Rapids Junior College (now GRCC) and Ferris University and received his associate degree in the liberal arts, getting what he called a well-rounded education.
He married his wife, Diane in 1973, and they had two children. The Cizauskases live just over the Barry County line in Bowne Township, where they have planted themselves for 30 years now.
Twenty-five years ago, Diane was wanting a change in her occupation as a legal secretary, and their neighbor, who ended up becoming their daughter's father-in-law, was selling the Superette on Michigan Avenue in Hastings. Cizauskas decided to buy it for his wife, and she made a lifestyle shift that has provided Hastings with a stable business ever since.
After many years in the wholesale paper business, being part of Jaycees and teaching catechism at his church, Cizauskas began to think about what he would do if his job situation were to change. The industry was morphing, and he was a little concerned. He began to plan just in case, and one day, after 28 years at the same job, his company was bought out and his position was eliminated. He decided to buy the laundromat on Court Street and begin a new adventure.
“I worked all day, seven days a week for the first three to four months, just to learn how everything functioned,” Cizauskas said.
Now he knows everything there is to know about running a laundromat. Hastings Launder Center has provided people of the area a place where they can be comfortable as they do their laundry.
“We are just a big family here,” Tama Allerding, long-time employee said. “The longevity of the employees here proves that we have the best boss in the world.”
Every day, Cizauskas gets up at 3:30 a.m., gets himself ready, goes to the Superette and takes care of things like trash and other daily duties and heads over to the laundromat to open it by 7 a.m.
“I have such a great team that runs things and keeps everything so clean,” he said. “At this point, I am pretty much on call all the time, but I have more freedom because of the people that work with me.”
Cizauskas and his wife now take time to attend sports and other activities of their six grandchildren. When asked what he likes the best about owning the businesses, he answered that the variety of people he meets and the chance to talk with them and interact has been the highlight. They hope to eventually be able to travel when they retire.
For his contributions to the community, Louis Cizauskas, is a Banner Bright Light.
Best advice ever received: Be content but never satisfied.
First job: Cutting grass and weeding in the family garden. I got paid a few bucks for that.
Favorite TV program: “Cheers” – I like humor.
Favorite book: I like any self-help books.
Favorite teacher: That would be my science teacher, Rocky Stone, in ninth grade at Harrison Park Jr. High. He just made it interesting and he seemed to know so much.
Person I'd most like to meet: Gen. George Marshall, who basically ran World War II. He is so respectable and did so much for the country.
If I could have any superpower, it would be: Being invisible would be kind of nice.
What I'd tell a high school graduate: Get skilled in a trade. You can take it anywhere you go. It's something that is not going to be taken over by computers. It's also very satisfying to see the fruits of your labor.
Favorite dinner: Pizza with everything but anchovies.
My biggest challenge: Just getting out of bed at my age is a challenge.
The greatest president: Eisenhower was a great leader who did a lot for the country. He was quiet and unassuming, but got the job done.
I'm most proud of: My kids.
What I'd do if I would won the lottery: Not tell anyone. Retire and travel.
Favorite cartoon character: I've really been liking the “Pickles” comic strip. I also like Bugs Bunny.
Favorite childhood memory: There are so many of them. Just being a kid with nothing to worry about, hanging out with my buddies at the park and playing in the creek were some of the best times.
Hobbies: Playing in the dirt at my house because we just remodeled and there is lots of landscaping to do. I like to putz around the house and yard.
Greatest thing about Barry County: As a business owner, it's really an easy place to do business. We have great programs, people and infrastructure to support local business.
Each week, the Banner profiles a person who makes the community shine. Do you know someone who should be featured because of volunteer work, fun-loving personality, for the stories he or she has to tell or any other reason? Send information to Newsroom, Hastings Banner, 1351 N. M-43 Highway, Hastings, MI 49058; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.