CHICAGO — With a little creative thought, vended laundry owners and operators can utilize a variety of inexpensive ways to improve their stores and attract new customers.
To prepare, try walking around your store as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Why? Because you might take your store’s appearance for granted if you’re in and out regularly. But your customers—and prospective customers—surely don’t. They’re drawn by convenience and service, yes, but also by appearance.
Examine these key areas with a critical eye:
Is your signage large enough? Does it stand out from other nearby signs? Is it vibrantly colored and well-lit?
Having signage that is unique is important when your store is located in a strip center, especially if any of the surrounding businesses are vacant. Can the public see that you run a “Coin Laundry” or a “Laundromat”? Those terms must stand out.
If you have a freestanding store, you can maximize the use of signage in your windows. You may be tempted to use tempera paint with a do-it-yourself approach, but invest in having the signage done professionally.
Is the area around your store landscaped? Is it at least well-maintained? Virtually any exterior can benefit from a fresh coat of paint every so often.
What is your store’s parking availability? Do you have ample spots? Is the lot brightly lit? Are there cracks or potholes in the parking lot surface? How accessible is your store to the average person? Does it have a ramp for the disabled?
Are your windows clean and free or chips and cracks?
If your store looks doesn’t look great on the outside, why would someone want to come inside and do their laundry there?
Often, an owner can improve their store’s image simply by wiping down their machines and keeping the floor clean, so give your store a good cleaning.
When was the last time you painted inside? Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways for a business to update its décor.
Neutral colors will expand your decorating options over time, but taking the plunge and bathing your walls in bright hues like fire engine red or kelly green will bring excitement.
Whatever color you choose, make certain the kind of paint used will be easy to clean. Select a paint that’s washable and doesn’t show dirt easily.
A well-lit store showcases the equipment and improves security. If your store is dim, it might be time to invest in new lighting. Good lighting with new ceiling tiles can make a huge difference.
People don’t want to drop their clothes on a dirty floor, so keep it clean. Virtually any type of flooring can work in a laundry as long as it’s maintained. Cement floors are easy to put in, and sealing it will make it easier to clean.
Vinyl tile is a bit more expensive but can last for years if cared for. Ceramic tile wears well and doesn’t require the same level of upkeep but it will cost you more up front.
From top to bottom, there are opportunities for you to create a gathering place that’s functional and comfortable. And you won’t have to break the bank to do it.