CHICAGO — 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.
FRIENDLY WASH LAUNDROMAT
Tony and Rich Kahan are on a continued growth path, having recently opened their third and largest Friendly Wash Laundromat location in Chicago.
The 5,000-square-foot facility, located at 5027 W. Fullerton in the city’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, took roughly a year from planning to completion, and officially opened its doors Oct. 1.
To complete the $1.5 million project, the brothers turned to Alsip, Ill.-based commercial laundry equipment distributor Coin-O-Matic, which not only helped them equip the store and design the layout of the Laundromat, but also took an “active role” in supervising the construction of the site.
“We have a good working relationship with sales and with [Matt Miller, Coin-O-Matic president],” says Tony Kahan.
John Regan, Coin-O-Matic laundry equipment investment consultant, who worked with the Kahans on a previous project, also collaborated with the brothers on their new location, providing them with a design and equipment consultation, as well as a demographic analysis to “ensure the market has what it needs,” according to Coin-O-Matic.
“Communication with the customer is key to the building of a successful Laundromat,” says Regan.
In outfitting the store—which is a full-service location, including drop-off service and pickup and delivery—the Kahans bought entirely new Speed Queen equipment, including one 100-pound washer, four 80-pound washers, four 60-pound washers, 20 40-pound washers, 20 30-pound washers, seven Horizon washers, 45-pound stack dryers, and 11 30-pound stack dryers. The Kahans also installed the Spyder Wash credit card payment system to its machines, according to Coin-O-Matic.
The company adds that the new Speed Queen equipment brings many benefits to the brothers’ new store, ultimately allowing the Kahans to “reduce operating costs and maximize profitability.”
“We really like the Speed Queen product,” says Tony Kahan. “You know on the back end you’re a little safe because of the quality of construction and built-in design. They’re very good machines. We’ve really had no problems.”
Coin-O-Matic says that the Kahan brothers’ success is a “direct reflection of their dedication to their customers’ needs and making them feel welcome.”
“People come into our stores [and] I can’t tell you how many people give me a ‘Wow! This is nice!’ That’s the wow we’re looking for,” says Tony Kahan.
The Kahans are planning on opening more locations, Coin-O-Matic says, keeping their focus on consumers’ needs as they grow.
“For us, we believe in being clean and friendly, and that is number one,” says Tony Kahan.
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!