PEMBROKE, Mass. — A man had lived in his neighborhood for three years. One day, he was doing an errand, happened to turn his head and saw a Laundromat that was quite near his house. He’d walked that path a hundred times before and never noticed that the Laundromat was there until then. If he hadn’t turned his head at exactly that moment, he would have probably never noticed.
Why does this happen? How many people are ignorant of your store? Why would any area resident not know of your existence? How can you remedy this situation?
The first answer is to make your storefront stand out so that captures attention. Make yourself visible.
You could have a scrubboard with a sign that reads, “There Are Easier Ways to Wash Your Clothes Inside.” Another possibility: “You Won’t Have to Scrub Hard to Get Your Clothes Cleaned Here.”
Hang a bird cage in your front window, with the sign, “If You’re a Nesting Sort, You’ll Love Our Cleaning.” If nothing else, hang a stylish handmade sign reading, “Let Us Clean Your Clothes Here,” in that window.
Create a village storefront. Put up flower boxes below the window. Place a bench in front of the store. Nail up a flower trellis that runs up a portion of the window near the front door. Such homey touches often garner attention.
If you know someone talented, have him or her create a street number colored with rainbow hues or psychedelic art. Each number would be cut out and placed on the inside of the front door so passersby would be diverted by the catchy art.
What you should be trying to do is create something visibly interesting that would attract attention but does not involve spending a fortune. Be bold. Be artsy. Go for it, for otherwise you will just be a store among a row of stores.
But the fight for recognition does not end here.
Perhaps your local newspaper could provide some free publicity. Speak to a reporter about doing a story about your Laundromat. Maybe you are having an event he/she could cover. Better yet—come up with a human interest idea. Say, every Sunday morning, your Laundromat is full of single men. Suggest the reporter drop in on a Sunday morning and speak to some of these individuals, asking why they choose to do their laundry then.
You may know a few couples who met at your Laundromat. Suggest that the reporter interview them as to how their meetings came about. Do you know an “unsung hero” who patronizes your store to do her neighbor’s laundry? That would make a good story. And if you’re successful in seeing one article published, keep after it. Anniversaries, birthdays, store remodeling, and new equipment are all occasions that warrant celebrating. The key is to develop a relationship with the reporter, realizing that his biggest need is for news, but be careful to not push too hard.
Finally, get the word out by walking the neighborhood. Put circulars in the neighborhood haunts. Stick them on supermarket bulletin boards. Hang on public message boards.
When you see someone entering an apartment building, ask if they have washers and dryers. If they don’t, suggest he/she put up a circular providing information about your Laundromat.
In all your dealings with people, make sure you inform them that you own the best Laundromat in town. Encourage your staff, friends, family and neighbors to do the same.
In your store, hang a sign that reads, “Tell Your Neighbors About Us.” Give a coupon for $5 free laundry to any customer who brings in a new patron. A connection here, a connection there, and before long you’ve expanded your reputation.
Do all these things and you will enlarge your Laundromat’s presence in the community.
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.