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Enhancing Store Security (Part 1)

Tips and strategies to mitigate risks in today's self-service laundries

CHICAGO — Safety is among the reasons that customers choose a laundromat, so a vigilant staff supported by crime-deterring tools like security cameras can play an important role in a store’s success.

While digital security threats often dominate the discussion today, physical security threats can have equally devastating consequences for small businesses. Protecting your premises, assets, employees and customers from physical security risks is crucial to maintaining a safe and secure environment.

Before implementing any security measures, it’s essential to conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities. When making this assessment, consider factors such as location, the area’s crime rate, customer flow, and existing security infrastructure. By understanding the specific risks your laundromat faces on a given day, appropriate security measures can be tailored accordingly.

This article will explore the greatest physical security threats faced by small businesses today and provide practical tips and strategies to help mitigate these risks; there could be some overlap, depending on the risk at hand.

By being mindful of these threats, laundromat owners can better safeguard their operations and ensure the well-being of their business.


These are the primary physical security threats to small businesses. Criminals may target small businesses due to perceived vulnerabilities or the potential value of their assets. To mitigate the risk of theft and burglary, consider the following measures:

Adequate Lighting — Ensure that your premises, both inside and outside, are well-lit. This deters criminal activities by minimizing hiding spots and making the surroundings more visible to both employees and customers.

Illuminated areas are less attractive to burglars and vandals, reducing the risk of theft or property damage. And good lighting helps prevent accidents, such as slips and falls, by providing clear visibility of potential hazards.

Well-lit spaces also create a welcoming ambiance, making customers feel comfortable and confident. A visually appealing environment can also enhance the perception of a laundromat’s overall quality, including the cleanliness of clothes washed by its equipment.

Consider installing motion-sensor-activated lights to conserve energy while providing additional security during off-hours.

Install Security Systems — Invest in a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance cameras, burglar alarms, and motion sensors. Displaying signage to indicate the presence of these security measures will act as a deterrent to potential criminals.

For example, The Washing Well Laundromat in Jefferson, Iowa, installed five VORTEX cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the business. Three interior/exterior turret cameras are being utilized in the store room, inside the laundromat, and at the rear parking lot locations. Finally, two interior/exterior remote focus dome cameras are being utilized for the front parking lot and inside the laundromat.

Apart from aiding in facility security, the cloud-based system enables the owners of Washing Well—open 24 hours a day with minimal staffing—to check on the location remotely to help them determine if the laundromat needs any attention such as cleaning, snow removal, or general maintenance.

Install Security Mirrors — Strategically place security mirrors to eliminate blind spots in your store. Mirrors can provide a broader view of areas that may be blocked by laundry equipment or bulkheads. They also assist in improving visibility for both employees and customers, enhancing overall store safety.

Secure Entrances and Exits — Strengthen access points by using high-quality, commercial-grade locks and deadbolts, as well as reinforced doors and windows. Once installed, regularly inspect and maintain doors and locks to address any potential vulnerabilities.

Consider implementing access control systems, such as key cards or biometric scanners, to limit entry to only the persons you choose.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion!

Enhancing Store Security

(Images: © birckoff/Depositphotos, © tele52/Depositphotos)

Enhancing Store Security

This cloud-based video surveillance system enables the owners of Jefferson, Iowa-based The Wishing Well Laundromat to check on their location remotely to help them determine if the laundromat needs any attention, while also providing security for the owners’ and customers’ property. (Photo: Vivotek Inc.)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].