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Earth Day Contest Brings Big Bucks to Laundry Owner

Paul Partyka |

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Are you taking full advantage of all your business opportunities? Darryl Harvey knew what needed to be done to improve his laundry and shared this knowledge with the Knoxville, Tenn., Utility Board (KUB). As a result, he took home a check for $20,000.Harvey, owner of the Knoxville-based Northgate Coin Laundry, was the winner of the Knoxville Utilities Board “Business in the Green” contest that was part of the ninth annual EarthFest celebration at Pellissippi State, one of the Southeast’s environmental festivals. Harvey and about 70 other business owners submitted essays about why they should receive the $20,000 grant to make their business “green.”“I had a pretty good idea that I would win,” Harvey admits. “My reasoning was that I couldn’t think of another industry where energy efficiency was that important. I figured the only competition would be another laundry owner.”In the essay, he said the grant would dramatically reduce his utility usage, help the environment and result in lower-cost washing to his customers.Harvey took over his laundry at the end of 2005, and soon discovered that having plenty of old equipment with utility bills on the rise meant big trouble. “My store had been around for many years, and the equipment hadn’t been updated since the 1980s or so. The utility rates hit me like a brick wall. Plus, my competitors have a lot of new equipment.”Harvey is ready to put the money to good use. He plans on adding 13 soft-mount, high-efficiency front loaders. The remaining money will go toward a new hot-water heater.Harvey urges other operators to check with their utility companies regarding business benefits. “I have gotten good support from KUB. They give energy audits, which I have taken advantage of.” In addition, he is looking into a utility-sponsored, low-interest, fixed-rate equipment loan. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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