CHICAGO — Gathered at the roundtable of self-service laundry industry expertise, a group of seasoned professionals engages in a virtual conversation that delves into the heart of current industry trends and future forecasts.
In this exclusive assembly of minds, American Coin-Op brings you a front-row seat to insights, analyses and predictions that may shape the trajectory of your business realms; responses were edited for length and for magazine style.
From cutting-edge technologies to capitalizing on shifts in consumer behavior, thought leaders from some of our industry’s equipment manufacturers and distributors offer a kaleidoscope of ideas and concepts, providing you with a compass to navigate the uncharted waters of tomorrow’s marketplace.
Q: What is the current state of the self-service vended laundry industry today compared to five years ago? Is it better, worse, or unchanged? Why do you feel this way?
Al Adcock, vice president of sales & marketing, B&C Technologies: Growth is the major change, with individual as well as corporate investors seeking opportunity. The current gold rush will reward savvy investors, but be wary of those looking to capitalize and take advantage.
Joe Fleming, national sales manager, Yamamoto North America: Better. Like most industries over the last five years, we’ve all faced challenges. When it comes to “self-service” and regardless of industry, innovation continues to press us forward. We certainly recognize that not every new concept works for the better, but they all move us toward positive progress.
Mike Hand, vice president, North America Commercial Sales, Alliance Laundry Systems: I think our industry is stronger than it was five years ago. Seeing laundromats not just survive the pandemic but actually thrive has bolstered confidence. Couple that with new investors and current store owners committing to an exceptional customer experience and leveraging technology, and our industry is looking quite strong.
David Hoffman, sales manager, Gold Coin Laundry Equipment: I feel the self-service laundry industry has gotten better overall in the past five years. It has improved because you are seeing more people with money investing in the industry, and these investors are spending the money to build larger stores. These newer owners care more about how their stores look, and about making sure they have all of the latest and best technology available, creating better stores.
Joel Jorgensen, vice president of sales, Girbau North America: The laundry industry is performing better than ever before. Business is up, profits are up, and the diversity of services has grown. Laundries are also serving a much broader demographic. The COVID pandemic helped further legitimize the laundry industry and spurred owners to find new ways to serve customers. This has moved a lot of new investment money into the industry.
King Lee, senior regional sales manager, Dexter Laundry: From my vantage point, the vended industry is still on an upward trajectory and even higher interest rates haven’t derailed it. Newer, younger investors have driven the surge in recent years, either by taking over older stores and retooling them into a more modern laundromat or building new stores to challenge the status quo. I have also seen experienced owners revamping their locations and trying to capture more of their customer base. Our quiet, sleepy industry is no longer a secret.
Matt Miller, president, Coin-O-Matic: I believe it is much better today than looking back at what it was five years ago. Sure, the prices have gone up on everything, but I believe vend price increases have far outpaced costs in most markets. Much more important is the opportunity for additional revenue streams has gone through the roof over the last 36 months through advancements in trusted third-party technology and services.
Don Tomasian Jr., vice president, DT Equipment Co.: Over the past five years, the industry has seen significant improvements, making it easier to operate and enhancing the customer experience. This improvement is driven by technological advancements such as the DexterLive management system, which has simplified laundromat operations. The technology allows owners to centrally oversee their laundromats, easily program equipment, analyze income reports, and control their operation remotely from any device.
We’re seeing store owners implement various laundry card payment systems, where customers can start the equipment via prepaid card or app. This is a convenience to customers and saves the laundromat owner time, eliminates safety risks associated with manually emptying coin boxes, and provides real-time monitoring and reporting features.
Moreover, these payment systems often incorporate built-in loyalty program features, enhancing customer retention and increasing income for owners. This has enabled our customers to scale up from owning a single laundromat to managing several locations.
Coming Thursday: Seeking and planning for improvement where equipment and store condition are concerned
People who appear in this series of articles:
People who appear in this series of articles:
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].