TACOMA, Wash. — Every year, across many neighborhoods in the country, a new Laundromat opens its doors, ready to answer the laundry needs of those in the community.
But before the first washer is loaded, much work, preparation and planning has to be taken care of to ensure the success of the coin laundry.
Some will spend a month or two applying a fresh coat of paint and investing in a few equipment upgrades before they open their doors, while others will spend months upon months gutting and completely rehabbing a space to make it their own.
Some operators start completely from scratch, scouting the ideal location and building their dream coin laundry from the ground up.
Here, you will read about the process several store owners took to draft and establish their ideal coin laundry—from concept and design, to the renovation and construction work, and to the long-awaited day when they could finally open the doors.
Though each took a different path, all tell tales of how hard work led them to design their own success.
MR. BUBBLES LAUNDROMAT
A self-proclaimed “neat freak,” cleanliness has been in the roots of Susie Boyd’s line of work, being a former owner of a commercial janitorial company, according to Laundrylux.
Despite being a first-time Laundromat owner, she knew who could help launch her first store, Mr. Bubbles, in early 2013—her husband, Rich Boyd, a 22-year veteran in the self-service laundry industry, and owner and president of SeaTac, Wash.-based CESCO Laundry Systems, a Laundrylux distributor.
Susie had competition to face, however, with five competing laundries in the Tacoma, Wash., area. Despite this, she had a vision, Laundrylux says, and just kept thinking about what her ideal Laundromat would be.
After looking at 20 other stores, Boyd found a store that met her vision of the right location with lots of parking, Laundrylux explains.
“I liked the idea of retooling an existing store since it would be less expensive than building something new,” she says. “Most of the utility work was already in place, plus it had a small but solid customer base, so the ramp-up time would be shortened as well.”
In a matter of 75 days, Boyd gave the 2,000-square-foot store a “complete overhaul,” according to Laundrylux—from replacing the equipment to opening up the aisles, which gave way to a “roomy folding area,” while picnic-bench seating was created.
About working with her husband for the renovation, Susie Boyd says, “Rich has designed, installed and sold some of the finest large coin laundries in Southern California and Arizona.”
“We make a great team,” says Rich. “Susie has an excellent understanding of this business and was clear about what she wanted in her Laundromat.”
The store’s Electrolux Professional equipment mix includes four 45x45-pound stack dryers, nine 35x35-pound stack dryers, 13 22-pound washers, a dozen 45-pound washers and four 62-pound washers.
Mr. Bubbles also utilizes equipment from American Changer, Vend-Rite Mfg., Setomatic Systems, DSC, Mag Lock Door Lock System, Zmodo, R&B Wire Products and LG.
It can be said that Susie’s venture into the industry has been a family affair, as her son, Wesley, helps her with tasks, like emptying lint filters or sorting bills from the change machine.
“Actually, he was the main reason I wanted to get into the laundry business in the first place,” she shares. “Wesley is 17 and has a brain disorder. As a parent of a special needs child, I regularly found myself thinking about his future.”
Response to her laundry continues to be “overwhelmingly positive,” says Laundrylux, so much so that Mr. Bubbles received the 2014 Best of Tacoma Award in the Laundromat category.
“With five laundries within a mile of each other, being selected for this award was an incredible honor for us,” Susie Boyd says.
Check back throughout the month for more Designing Success: Portraits of Memorable Coin-Ops!
Store owners, do you have a unique story to tell about your laundry? Equipment manufacturers, distributors or suppliers—did you play a part in the creation of a new store, or in giving an existing store new life? Send me an e-mail at [email protected] with all the details!