You are here

Counting Down Our Top 10 Stories from 2021 (Part 1)

The year’s most-read articles on

CHICAGO — As we begin a New Year, this is a natural opportunity to reflect on 2021 and the Top 10 stories (based on page views) posted on during the year.

(In instances where the Top 10 story was part of a larger series, we have provided additional links so you can easily read the entire article.)

Here is our Top 10 list for 2021, starting with No. 10:

10. LaundroLab Franchise Launches

February brought word of the launch of LaundroLab, a modern Laundromat franchise concept intended to provide a safe, welcoming and convenient customer experience while creating new business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Alex Smereczniak and Dan D’Aquisto founded on-demand laundry service 2ULaundry in 2016 to cater to busy professionals and families, raising $10 million in venture capital. Within two years, 2ULaundry had expanded beyond Charlotte, North Carolina, where it was founded.

It needed a new kind of facility to manage the thousands of pounds of laundry being managed daily. Smereczniak and D’Aquisto worked with Electrolux to create The Laundry Room, designed to bring innovation to laundromats. Now, the LaundroLab model is open to business owners across the Southeast.

9. Can a Laundry’s Name Make a Difference?, Part 1 – Conclusion

In his Pointers from Paulie B column, writer Paul Russo said choosing a name for a new laundry depends on strategy. And he compared and contrasted industry names (laundromat, coin-op, washateria, etc.), business names (the legal company name registered with the government) and trade names (the name used to operate the business).

8. Self-Service Laundry Business Valuation, Part 1 – Part 2 – Conclusion

Understanding store valuation—determining the fair market value of a self-service laundry business—is key to the investor planning to buy or the store owner looking to sell. American Coin-Op spoke to three experts about the topic, including how the coronavirus pandemic had impacted store values.

John Vassiliades, Carol Dang and Larry Larsen answered questions about valuation methods, influences on valuation, how frequently an owner should assess their store, the impact of competition, and ways to maximize store value.

7. Is It Time to Retool Your Laundromat?, Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Conclusion

If your self-service laundry looks a little worse for wear and your customer base has thinned out a bit, it might be time to make a change in an attempt to capture (or recapture) market share and boost revenue.

At American Coin-Op’s invitation, several representatives from vended laundry equipment manufacturers answered some questions about the nature of retooling projects and what operators stand to gain by making over their stores.

They defined a “retool” and looked at how various aspects might impact deciding to retool a laundry or not, calculating if a retool makes financial sense, project scheduling and timing, and more.

6. Speed Queen Building Flagship Franchise Store

In February, commercial laundry equipment manufacturer Alliance Laundry Systems announced that its Speed Queen brand was constructing a Chicago flagship store in support of its laundromat franchise model.

The store officially opened during a July ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located at 6808 W. Grand Ave. on Chicago’s northwest side, it boasted 12,250 square feet of space, and featured washers with capacities ranging from a single load to 100 pounds and tumble dryers up to 45 pounds. All told, there were 266 machine pockets.

“We are beyond excited to introduce this flagship store to the Chicago market,” Dan Bowe, general manager of North America franchising and retail operations for Speed Queen Laundry, said on the day of the ribbon-cutting. “From its size and scale to the store’s bright aesthetics and touchscreen technology, this franchise model truly transcends the idea of what laundromats can be.”

Check back Tuesday to see the Top 5!