Editor's Note: A number of vended laundry projects are completed around the country each year, resulting in brand-new or rejuvenated stores primed and ready to serve customers.
As a way to celebrate the hard work that goes into designing, building and equipping a modern vended laundry, American Coin-Op created this Portraits of Success feature to spotlight memorable projects of recent vintage.
And so equipment manufacturers and distributors were invited to tout their latest and greatest coin laundry projects. Here is one of the stories they shared:
ST. CLOUD, Fla. — After deciding they wanted something a little less hands-on than their Orlando, Fla., area property management company allowed, Ed and Rachael Ellis opened their first Laundromat in 2010. After some five years of running that business, Speed Queen distributor Statewide Laundry Equipment contacted them about a new Laundromat location that had become available.
A store in a St. Cloud, Fla., strip mall had recently gone out of business, and the property owner was looking for a new owner to take over the space. It turned out the site was near the Ellis home, which would reduce their commute and give them more time and freedom to manage the business.
Speed Queen provided a detailed demographic analysis of the area to ensure there was a continued need for a Laundromat and that opening the store would be a good investment for the Ellises. While their first Laundromat was still profitable, the Ellises chose to sell it to focus on opening and running the new store they called 1 Clean Laundry.
The couple worked with the manufacturer and distributor to determine the best layout for the store. Speed Queen and Statewide provided support throughout the planning and build. Statewide’s design services enabled the Air America Services construction team to review the professional designs, obtain the proper permits and complete the build in a timely manner.
As they had for their original store, the Ellises once again worked with Speed Queen Financial Services (SQFS) to develop a customized financial plan.
“Different from a commercial bank, SQFS understood the unique needs of the laundry industry and anticipated my requirements before I even knew I had them,” Ed Ellis recalls. “For a first-time owner, their knowledge was invaluable. At the end of the day, I knew they were there to support us.”
The Ellises finalized paperwork for their new store in mid-March, and 1 Clean Laundry opened for business in mid-June.
They replaced the existing equipment with brand-new Speed Queen hard-mount washers and washer-extractors and tumble dryers, equipped with Quantum™ controls. There are 32 washers ranging in capacity from 20 to 80 pounds, and 27 dryers ranging in capacity from 30 to 75 pounds. Total capacity in the store is 2,095 pounds.
The Quantum controls provide customizable cycle options and add convenience for customers by accepting coin or card. The controls also help generate more revenue by allowing the owners to run pricing specials at different times of the day, such as a regular deal they run on Tuesday mornings—one of their slower times—to attract customers.
The Ellises receive daily e-mails each evening that provide an update on machine usage, daily revenue generated and any machine maintenance needed. Online access made possible by the controls enable the couple to manage machine operation via computer. They can be constantly connected without having to physically be in the store.
“The controls allow me to stay up to date on machine operation and revenue at all times, which has been very helpful in tracking profit since I opened the Laundromat in a new neighborhood with a new customer base,” Ed Ellis says.
To create a positive customer experience at 1 Clean Laundry, the Ellises provide additional services and amenities, including free Wi-Fi, automatic sliding doors, snack/beverage machines, attendant on site at all times, wash/dry/fold, a change machine with bill breaker, and additional items for purchase such as laundry detergent and bags.