Fair Oaks Laundry’s Favorite Color? Green! (Part 1)


(Photo: Continental Girbau)


Fair Oaks Laundry owner Gary Thompson (left) thanks consultant Van Merrill for his assistance in developing the Pasadena, Calif., store’s customer-friendly design and concept. (Photo: Continental Girbau)

Haley Jorgensen |

California store offers time savings, efficiency, cleanliness

PASADENA, Calif. — An eco-inspired full-service laundry where people feel comfortable, safe and clean, Fair Oaks Laundry works hard to deliver on its tagline—Clean. Green. Express.

Occupying a highly visible street corner near Old Town Pasadena, Calif., Fair Oaks Laundry draws customers from all walks of life. The eco-friendly laundry combines high-efficiency, high-speed Continental Girbau laundry equipment with a gamut of craved services and amenities appealing to professionals, singles and families alike.

“Now, rather than using a dirty coin laundry, customers can enjoy checking their morning e-mail while having a cup of coffee,” says owner Gary Thompson. “Focusing on a great customer experience is at the core of our business model, and it’s paid off for us.”

The 4,500-square-foot laundry is card-operated, fully attended, and offers fluff-and-fold, pickup and delivery, vending machines, free Wi-Fi, video games, flatscreen TVs, and a 60-minute wash and dry. It’s the culmination of his vision: a laundry offering time savings, efficiency and cleanliness.


Thompson’s efforts to create an environmentally friendly laundry keyed on its equipment—ExpressWash washers and ExpressDry dryers—which are designed to drastically cut water, electricity and natural gas usage, while offering customers a quick wash and dry.

“I wanted to use the best equipment we could find,” he says. “I wanted a freestanding washer store, because energy costs continue to rise. Those without freestanding washers are suffering, because utilities are costing them more.”

At Fair Oaks Laundry, the ExpressWash freestanding washers reportedly provide greater energy efficiency than traditional hard-mount washers. They also reach extract speeds of 354 G-force, which allows customers to wash and dry loads in less than an hour. The high-extract washers remove more water per load when compared to traditional hardmount machines, which produce extract speeds of approximately 75-200 G-force, Continental says.

Loads dried at Fair Oaks dry 40-50% faster but use less natural gas and electricity, the laundry reports. Because dryers run less often, they experience less wear and tear, and use less natural gas. This allows Fair Oaks Laundry to serve more customers per day, which is especially critical during busy weekend hours.


“Clothes come out of the washer almost dry,” says Thompson. “People are shocked at how quickly their laundry is done, and they are happy to pay for that convenience, because time is money. They think we have really good dryers, which we do, but I tell them it’s really our washers.”

After 18 months, Fair Oaks Laundry was already exceeding the national average turns per day, with just 14% of revenue consumed by utilities, Continental says. That’s really good in any laundry, according to Thompson, but especially one that’s so big.

Fair Oaks features 45 ExpressWash washers, six 75-pound-capacity PowerLoad washers, and a mix of Continental dual-pocket stack drying tumblers in 30- and 45-pound capacities.

Also lessening the laundry’s carbon footprint are solar tubes and T-8 lighting; high-efficiency heating equipment; a roof that better insulates for less cooling and heating inside; plus low-flow faucets and toilets.

“Even if it costs more money, it’s worth it if it lessens our carbon footprint,” Thompson says.

Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!

About the author

Haley Jorgensen

Public Relations Writer

Haley Jorgensen is a public relations writer for commercial laundry equipment manufacturer Continental Girbau.


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