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.
Why would I spend money for nothing? you ask. Isn’t the rule of business to refrain from spending, unless a gun is aimed at your head? you ponder. Yes, but your facility needs to be welcoming. That is part of the contract of getting a person to spend two hours there, week after week. Brightening up the place is part and parcel of the offering.
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 not suggesting a makeover with new equipment, replacing the floor, and a new drop ceiling with LED lighting, which might run $150,000. 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.
Here are a few ideas. My eyes swerved to a colorful green scene as I drove by. Underneath I saw the word “Laundry.” I stopped to investigate. Above the company sign was a swath of green leaves, the width of the sign, maybe 15 feet, and it was visually arresting. It is enlargements of photographs of leaves. What does that have to do with laundry? Nothing, except that it provides a feeling of outdoors. Which is not a bad aura for an indoor Laundromat experience.
A newcomer riding by would discover that a Laundromat was there just by the sheer vibrancy of the sign. That might bring new patrons. A customer coming into the store to do his laundry would have a calmer attitude and be more apt to cope when matters go wrong. A passerby would be grabbed by the visual ingenuity of the scene, and perhaps be encouraged to switch his Laundromat of choice. Someone giving directions would mention the photography, which makes it an easy landmark to spot. Some customers waiting for their laundry to finish might be inspired to go outside, look at the montage and feel soothed.
It is funny that the green-leaf theme doesn’t really relate to laundry. A more appropriate motif might be running water. Perhaps a river scene of sparking blue water roaring over rocks on the banks would be more appropriate. In fact, this is how clothes used to be cleaned. Women bent down by the riverbed, scrubbing their clothes in the cold, clear, rushing water. So consider that effect, if the photography montage appeals to you.
How about painting an interior wall aqua blue? It would look cool and feel calming. It exudes “clean,” perfect to tie in with the theme of cleaning clothes.
What difference will an attractive wall mean? you ask. Say I was a customer doing his laundry. And let’s say a washer didn’t accept a quarter. In a dingy place, I might have gotten mad, kicked the machine and concluded that this is nothing but a shoddy operation. But in a calming environment, I might have looked at the wall, shrugged, and tried another quarter. Hopefully, the machine works the second time around. See the difference. Scenery matters. Colors can alter your mood.
Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!