AZUSA, Calif. — Eddie Qaqish entered the laundromat business after a successful career in the retail auto business, where he was general sales manager of a thriving Nissan dealership. He retired from the auto industry to turn his focus to building promising retail enterprises on his own.
His first venture, according to commercial laundry distributor Western State Design, was acquiring, remodeling and reopening a liquor store in a shopping center a few blocks from his home. His “Super Liquor” store has been so successful that Qaqish plans to expand it and purchase the smoke shop next door.
A few years after acquiring the liquor store, Qaqish jumped at the opportunity to take over the lease on an old, rundown laundromat in the same shopping center in March 2019. He says the 2,200-square-foot laundromat was more than 25 years old, had a hodgepodge of equipment, no service, and had not been upgraded for years.
PLAN A: PARTIAL REMODEL AND RETOOL
His plan was to run the laundromat “as is,” remodeling it in stages. First, he thought he would purchase some new Dexter Laundry commercial washers and dryers to replace the worst of the inherited equipment, to tide him over for the short term. Based on prior research, he considered Dexter machines to be the “gold standard” for vended laundries in terms of durability, reliability and user-friendliness.
He also committed to spending as much time as possible at the store, understanding that providing top-notch service to his customers will make his business stand out.
As he operated the laundry prior to the partial remodel, he realized the value in acquiring more than just some equipment, and instead decided to install almost entirely new equipment.
A BETTER PLAN: ALL-NEW EQUIPMENT AND RENOVATION
Within no time, customers started flocking to his store to use the new Dexter machines, according to Qaqish. They were attracted to the appealing, new stainless-steel machines and loved how they worked — especially how fast they were. They also expressed appreciation for the improved and personalized service.
This early success prompted him to reequip completely: in October 2020, he ordered additional Dexter washers and dryers to replace the last of the older equipment in the store. By early 2021, when all was said and done, in consultation with Western State Design’s Steve Erlinger, Qaqish had installed 32 coin washers—11 T-300 (20 pounds), eight T-400 (30 pounds), eight T-600 (40 pounds) and five T-900 (60 pounds)—and 17 dryers—13 30x2 (30 pounds) stacks and four 50x2 (50 pounds) stacks.
Check back Thursday for the conclusion!
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected] .