PEMBROKE, Mass. — True, a Laundromat is where a mundane chore—cleaning clothes—occurs. But that doesn’t mean your premises can’t be intriguing, vivid, even memorable.
Or at minimum, there’s something there that makes the customer smile. Unfortunately, only a few operators realize this and most establishments are dull at best and downright dumpy at worst. Yes, a small percentage of Laundromats are brand-spanking-new and up-to-date, and this is certainly acceptable. But even these modern establishments can add some unique touches.
Think of it this way. Unlike almost all other businesses, your plant is a temporary home for your customer. He or she resides there, if briefly, on a regular basis. Just as you hope your home is comfortable and welcoming, so you want your Laundromat to be people-friendly. You want to make for a more satisfying laundry experience. That includes both inside and outside.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. I’m suggesting gathering any spare money you have and add some intriguing touches. Something that might make passersby notice. A feature that will make customers nod approvingly. An effect that will create buzz around town. Something that will make your store unique.
A variation of a color change to affect mood I mentioned in Part 1 is to face one interior wall with knotty pine. Wood is soft, comforting. A customer in your store is comforted by the youthful memory of a family room. Such a response has the same effect as an aqua blue wall.
Create a modernistic wood design in the front of your shop with a scrim of out-jutting wooden edgings. Superimposed on the front is a perpendicular intercrossing of 2-by-6 boards painted black in a box-like pattern, with solid blocks of wood in some of the boxes. It makes for an interesting artistic effect. Such artistry gives the Laundromat a modern touch. If you don’t have the skill, hire an art student to create the effect.
Hang paintings in your Laundromat. They don’t have to be professional art or masterpieces; use student drawings or a neighbor’s art. They could have mat frames, which wouldn’t cost very much. Of course, the Laundromat has an attendant to minimize the chance of theft. A customer might take a few minutes to walk around looking at the paintings. In the process, he might meet another customer and begin a chat. Such good vibes usually don’t emanate from such silenced spaces, so it is good when it does. It kind of changes the atmosphere of performing a boring task into making a connection with another human being.
Another possibility is to create an outdoor mural along the side of your building. Hire talented high school students to paint the mural. How about painting the block of stores on your side of the street, which would include your shop? A row of people of different stripes and color, all joining hands, perhaps. A third possibility is a fantastical scene of mermaids and sea devils capering about at the edge of the sea. Of course, the artwork depends on the artist’s skills and proclivities. Everyone notes a mural, and its existence can’t help but bring attention to your store.
How about two-color cross tiles as a floor design? Each tile is perpendicular to each other, and the whole effect is a pattern of interconnected pieces. The dual-color effect is visually intriguing. It is different, visually absorbing, and the eye tends to run along the cracks of its zig-zag pattern.
How about a trompe l’oeil window? Paint a window on the wall showing a beautiful, undulating field with flowers and bushes outside. Only it is a painting. There is no outside. Furthermore, such a field could not exist in this urban setting. The French “trompe l’oeil” translates to “a trick of the eye.” Trompe l’oeil invariably bring smiles to viewers’ faces.
Do something to your store—one thing, at least—to bring some liveliness to your place.
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.