Local business owners offer cash for coins amid shortage


LA MESA, Calif. — Businesses all over San Diego County are feeling the pinch of a coin shortage, and some owners are coming up with unique ways to make up for the limited supply.

Laundromats that run on quarters are no exception.

“We’re seeing fewer coins in our machines. They’re starting to sell out, which is unprecedented,” said Christine Clippinger, co-owner of Sudz Laundromat in La Mesa.

Clippinger and her co-owner — her sister, Haley — say over the past few weeks they’ve noticed a surge in people coming in to make change, but not using their machines.

“Sometimes people just need quarters, which is OK. But if it’s gotten to the level it has, it does affect our ability to provide our service to our customers,” Clippinger said.

The sisters are now using social media to offer cash for quarters, plus a bonus.

“We offered a 5% bonus to anyone who sold quarters to us in order to incentivize them. I’ve been running all over town, just meeting our neighbors,” Clippinger said.

As far as the coin supply goes, one expert says it’s really not a shortage as much as it is a lack of movement.

“I would say because of the COVID-19 impact, consumers have not been out and shopping as they typically have in the past,” said James Gaherity, CEO of Coinstar. “There’s $48 billion worth of coin in circulation today in the U.S. and it’s just not moving around or it’s not in the right places where the demand is today.”

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