CHICAGO — The start of the New Year is a natural opportunity to reflect on the past year, so today we take a look at the top 10 stories (based on page views) posted on AmericanCoinOp.com during 2019.
(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 for 2019, starting with No. 10:
10. Electrolux Spinning Off Laundry Biz as Public Company
In February, Electrolux Professional, the professional laundry and professional kitchen equipment division of Electrolux, reported it had begun the process to become a stand-alone public company in 2020.
The Electrolux Board of Directors initiated work intending to propose that a shareholders meeting decides to split the AB Electrolux group into two listed companies: “Electrolux” for household appliances and “Electrolux Professional” for professional appliances, and to distribute Electrolux Professional shares to AB Electrolux shareholders in 2020.
9. Being Customer-Friendly, Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Conclusion
American Coin-Op reached out to several industry experts and asked them to share what they think it takes for a self-service laundry to be customer-friendly through and through.
Manufacturer and distributor representatives defined the term “customer-friendly;” discussed responsibility at the ownership, managerial and service levels; and described how a store could make itself customer-friendly through exterior appearance/signage, days/hours of operation, parking/access, seating, and more.
8. Alliance Laundry Systems to Acquire Distributor CLEC
In February, Alliance Laundry Systems reported having reached an agreement to purchase distributor Commercial & Coin Laundry Equipment Co. (CLEC). Terms were not disclosed.
Florida-based CLEC had recently expanded into the Texas market and stood as one of the largest commercial laundry equipment distributors in the Southeast region, according to Alliance.
Mike Schoeb, Alliance CEO, said at the time that “the laundry industry is undergoing a period of change and having a more direct presence makes sense in today’s market.”
7. Laundrylux Acquires Golden State Laundry Systems
In January, Laundrylux, the North American supplier of Electrolux and Wascomat laundry equipment, reported having acquired the assets of California-based distributor Golden State Laundry Systems. Terms were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to partner with Mike and Laura Hurrell and the Golden State team in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area to serve the California market and accelerate growth,” said Laundrylux CEO John Sabino.
6. Facing Competition in the New Year, Part 1 - Conclusion
Miami area store owner Laurent Broda described how 2018 quickly became a challenging year for him when a competitor opened its doors within a mile of his Laundromat. Broda decided to learn more about his customer base through simple surveys and conversations before taking action.
Through his research and experience, Broda identified the top three areas for improvement and new ideas: enhancing comfort; making his location easier to find; and improving customer communication.
5. Goin’ with Cohen: The Entrepreneurial Sweet Life, Part 1 - Conclusion
Columnist and former American Coin-Op editor Laurance Cohen traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, where he met American expatriate Thomas Landenberger. Every time Landenberger visits his newest coin-op, it’s a day of airport connections and a long-haul flight.
Landenberger, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, now shuttles across the Atlantic between his patriotic-theme Florida coin-op called Veterans Coin Laundry and a pair of self-service laundries in Italy’s Tuscany region. Despite the distance, Cohen learned that connecting with store operations for tech-savvy Landenberger was just a click away.
4. Pointers from Paulie B: Understanding Why a Customer Chooses a Laundromat - Conclusion
Himself a retired store owner of 40-plus years, Paul Russo said because different people are attracted to different things, there are quite a few factors at play when a customer chooses one Laundromat over another. It’s usually related to how much value, or perceived value, a customer can get for his/her money.
Russo assessed several factors at play, including a location near a customer’s home or work; eye-catching signs and storefront; a clean store with equipment that looks and works like new; recommendations from friends and online reviews; a great website; water levels; water and drying temperature; a sense of safety; friendly employees who like to smile; providing an opportunity for customers to multi-task; parking; and customer comfort.
3. Marketing & Customer Relations: Hit Your Target - Conclusion
The widespread use of the Internet and proliferation of mobile devices in today’s society has given self-service laundry owners plenty of ways beyond the traditional to reach their communities and promote the services they offer. But whatever tools you use, traditional or otherwise, their true value lies in their ability to aid you in identifying your target audience and helping you understand what motivates them to use your business.
Marketing experts Jennifer Schulman and Dennis Diaz talked fundamentals like key performance indicators, calls to action and measuring message effectiveness.
2. 24/7 Laundry Operations: Running Smoothly Round the Clock - Conclusion
Deciding to keep your laundry business open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, introduces certain challenges. There are labor and utilities costs related to staying open round the clock, and leaving stores unattended during overnight hours presents opportunities for vandalism, or squatting by the homeless.
Store owners Rich Peot of Kentucky, Scott Wolfe Sr. of Louisiana, Sharon Sager of California, Victor Racicot of New Hampshire and Luke Williford of North Carolina offered glimpses into how they approach operating a business that never closes.
1. In Memoriam: Bernard Milch, Founder, Laundrylux
During the first week of 2019, the industry lost a true pioneer. Bernard Milch, the retired founder of Laundrylux, died at the age of 93.
Milch was a Holocaust survivor who came to the United States to start a new life. He later obtained the sales and marketing rights for a Swedish manufacturer’s Wascator equipment in the North American coin laundry and institutional markets. Electrolux purchased Wascator in 1973 and credited Milch and his team for its growth in professional laundry in North America.
Milch retired as CEO in 2007. His company, Bermil Industries Corp., which distributed the Wascomat and Electrolux brands of commercial and professional laundry equipment in North America, unified its equipment offerings under the Laundrylux trade name for purposes of marketing, advertising and communications in 2010.
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