Faces Of Nantucket: Johnathan Rodriguez

Waverly Brannigan •

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Johnathan Rodriguez inside the recently opened Rodriguez Laundry on Surfside Road. Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen

Years on Nantucket: 21

Favorite thing about the island: The community and the calmness and stability the island provides.

After growing up in the bustle of New York City in the Bronx, Johnathan Rodriguez found a sanctuary when he came to Nantucket. Since arriving on the island more than two decades ago, he has seized every opportunity to pursue his goals and become an integral part of the community. And earlier this year, he opened his own business on Surfside Road: Rodriguez Laundry.

Rodriguez first set foot on the island in 2003, having been sent from his job at Stop & Shop in Cranston, Rhode Island to work on Nantucket for the summer – which he saw as a chance to explore new horizons.

“To come to a place that was different, that was kind of the fun part for me,” Rodriguez says. “It was kind of like a fresh start.”

At Stop & Shop, Rodriguez was working in the meat department when he arrived on-island, quickly moving to the produce department. His hard work paid off and he became head clerk, or manager, of the deli department at the island’s Stop & Shop.

While working up the ranks at the supermarket, Rodriguez simultaneously began picking up other jobs around the island. He started working for Baybutt Construction, contributing to significant projects like the mid-island post office.

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Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen

Then, in 2008, Rodriguez took a job at the Nantucket Health Club. Starting as a front desk employee, his dedication and passion for fitness soon saw him transition to personal training and fitness instruction. His classes, including weight training, cardio, and core, as well as his energetic personality, became extremely popular at the club, often with wait lists of 25 to 30 people at a time.

Continuing his journey in the fitness world, Rodriguez started working at the fitness club at the Nantucket Hotel in 2016. His experience allowed him to start as an assistant manager, which he did for three and a half years while also continuing to provide fitness classes. He became the Nantucket Hotel’s club manager in 2019, helping to provide him with an idea of what running a business might look like.

“Through fitness, I learned that helping people was always important to me,” Rodriguez explains. “I’ve kept doing the fitness thing because I could help other people achieve a specific goal.”

Beyond fitness, Rodriguez has always been interested in business, and he is largely self-taught, attending seminars while learning about topics including entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance.

“I’ve learned a lot from going to my classes… and spent a lot of money on that,” Rodriguez laughs. “Pretty much a college tuition.”

Rodriguez’s investments in his personal and professional growth have paid off, with the opening of his own business, Rodriguez Laundry, on March 1st. The inspiration for the laundry service was born out of a practical need he observed while helping his wife, Kasia Rodriguez, with her cleaning business La Fresh. The laundry business aims to provide convenience for residential and commercial customers alike, offering a variety of services along with free pickup and delivery.

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Kasia and Johnathan Rodriguez inside Rodriquez Laundry. Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen

“It just clicked… we got the cleaning business at the moment, we got all these clients… [we thought] this would actually be a great idea, and here we are just winging it,” he elaborates.

To continue learning, Rodriguez is heading to yet another seminar in Los Angeles, this one about the laundry industry. During the week-long seminar, he hopes to learn more about the sales side of laundry, marketing, and how to work with other people – lessons that will be coming from other professionals in the laundry business.

“It’s not like I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’m learning as I go, every week I learn something different,” Rodriguez explains.

For Rodriguez, Nantucket has offered him a place to pursue his goals and aspirations, and in return, his work is motivated by contributing to the community. The island’s consistency has allowed him to grow within his chosen fields and ultimately make many meaningful connections, with his utmost goal being to eventually open his own gym.

“Here, I’ve been able to stick in the same place, know a lot of people, [and] a lot of people know me. I’m able to help other people, either physically with fitness, or work for them, or help them with whatever,” Rodriguez explains.

Whether through his dedication to fitness, his entrepreneurial ventures, or his personal growth, Rodriguez continually emphasizes hard work and seizes opportunities, bringing his goals within reach while simultaneously enriching the island community.

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Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen
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Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen
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Photo by Charity Grace Mofsen
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