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Building Coin-Op Success on Key Demographics (Conclusion)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/DougSchneiderPhoto)

Dan Bowe |

RIPON, Wis. — Choosing a Laundromat location based on commercial co-tenants can help provide incentive for customers to visit. On average, customers spend 90 minutes in a Laundromat. Give them an opportunity to multitask; by locating next to grocery stores, “dollar” stores, convenience stores, auto parts stores or check-cashing stores, Laundromats allow customers to get their laundry done and run errands at the same time.

Aside from providing added convenience, co-tenants can also help a store owner market his or her laundry, and they provide added visibility. Offer complementary deals, such as a half-price wash with the purchase of any full-size detergent at the local convenience store. This relationship can be mutually beneficial; cross-marketing can incentivize customers to frequent local shops while they are waiting for their laundry to finish.

Perhaps one of the best examples of location choice is SuperWash Laundromat in Pearsall, Texas. As part of the Eagle Ford Shale, a rock formation in central Texas where oil has been discovered, the town of Pearsall has seen a huge population increase in the past year. What was once a small town in the heart of central Texas has become a booming oil town and a central hub for shale oil mining families.

Laundry owner Sonia Trevino-Ornelas has spent her entire life playing various roles in her family’s businesses (they also own several rental properties, appliance and furniture stores and a used car lot). In 2012, as the mining population continued to grow rapidly, Ornelas recognized the need for a Laundromat. The town’s laundry was far too small and under-maintained to meet the new demand. Identifying a business opportunity, Ornelas decided to convert one of her family’s previously owned properties into a Laundromat.

“Mining families moved in quickly after the oil boom, and many did not bring washers and dryers,” she says. “Families are never sure how long they are going to stay, as the industry is largely migratory and requires the workers to move to retain employment. The influx of renters provided the perfect opportunity for us to launch and maintain our laundry business.”

Location and population demographics also largely influenced the types of machines, services and amenities Ornelas chose to provide.

She worked with distributor Texas Laundry Service Co., based in Pasadena, Texas, to lay out her Laundromat and determine the ideal equipment mix. With 99 machines and a wireless control system, Ornelas gives her customers a variety of options, including time-of-day pricing deals and a “heavy soil” option for miners to get the extra dirt out of their clothes.

While there is no such thing as the perfect location, working with a full-service manufacturer that has invested in resources and can provide the expertise to identify and navigate key strategies for success is important.

New investors should find manufacturers that can provide location demographic analysis and laundry room design services, which will help play an integral role in the success of a new Laundromat.

About the author

Dan Bowe

Speed Queen

National Sales Manager

Dan Bowe is the national sales manager of Speed Queen’s commercial division. He oversees regional sales managers, develops policies and procedures, cultivates distributor partnerships and participates in the development of new products and services. To learn more, call 800-590-8872 or visit speedqueen.com.

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