RIPON, Wis. — As an equipment distributor with almost a decade of experience in the laundry industry, John D. (J.D.) Dixon, president of Nashville-based National Laundry Equipment, has seen his fair share of vended laundries.
After years of identifying and following trends, and helping his customers give their stores a face-lift, Dixon put his experience to a personal test in 2014 when designing his own Laundromat.
Does a thoughtfully designed, well-organized, aesthetically pleasing store actually make a difference in customer experience?
He purchased a run-down store in Dickson, Tenn., incorporated his own design ideas, and found out for himself.
While Dixon’s job as a distributor provides him a wealth of knowledge on equipment and design elements that work well, he says the process for undergoing a remodeling doesn’t have to be intimidating to owners with less industry knowledge.
To help focus their design vision, Dixon recommends store owners rely on their equipment manufacturer’s design team, an equipment distributor or even interior designers.
Additionally, he urges store owners to file and reference ideas from trade publications and other mediums.
Visiting other Laundromats is another good way to see what works well and what doesn’t.
“It’s easy to notice the positive difference when revamping an entire store, but even small changes can go a long way in transforming a store’s brand,” he says. For example, replacing older tube lighting with more efficient LED lights is an inexpensive way to draw attention to specific elements of the store.
Store owners can shine lights directly on machine features, or highlight the cleanliness of the space.
“I deliberately shine lighting on the Cityscape control panels and chrome doors. It adds another level of brightness.”
Replacing old flooring and ceiling tiles is another way store owners can enhance the overall theme.
For a “warehouse feel,” a trend Dixon says has become popular in recent years, he recommends staining concrete rather than installing traditional vinyl tile that requires constant polishing to maintain its look.
RETAIL IS DETAIL
Dixon frequently reminds store owners that when honing in on their vision and brand, “retail is detail,” and that, ultimately, the real detail to focus on at all times is customer impression.
The little details can add up to the difference between a customer choosing one Laundromat versus another.
“As store owners, we have the ability to speak to customers in many ways—through colors, cleanliness, layout, and equipment,” says Dixon. “If every single element is on point and adds value and personality, customers will notice and reward you with their business.”
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