It’s Time to Set Yourself Apart from the Rest (Part 1)

Howard Scott |

Consider this: There are locals who don’t know your Laundromat is there

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.

I heard another story. A person had lived in a town for years and traveled to the next town to get his clothes cleaned because he didn’t know that there was a Laundromat just two streets away.

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?

Consider how serious this situation is. There are people in your area who don’t know you are there. Maybe they weren’t around when you opened up and never noticed your presence. Or they never travel up your road. Or have never asked about a Laundromat in town.

How many people are going to other Laundromats because they don’t know about you, when it would be more convenient to go to you? Twenty, let’s say. That’s about $200 less business a week (at $10 average spending a visit), which translates to $10,000 a year. You could certainly use that $10,000 revenue, I’m sure.

The first answer is to make your storefront stand out so that captures attention. Make yourself visible. It’s your public face. You would not want to walk around with a bag over your head, would you? Of course not.

So, at the same time, do something to create a unique identity. It’s not only walkers you need to attract, but automobile drivers who pass by. Make it clear so that people know what is done on the premises.

I believe if you walked by 20 Laundromat storefronts, you would miss most of them. Which shows that most operators aren’t doing what they should be doing.

An open window showing the Laundromat interior isn’t sufficient. Your signage needs to be vivid. A sign that includes a cartoon of a woman using a scrub board would attract attention. One with huge 2-foot letters reading “Laundromat” helps. A bright red border around the front would garner attention. If possible, have a protruding sign that backs up the facing sign.

Speaking of colors, paint your front trim coral or lime green or hot pink. Or paint your door vivid purple. Not the whole front—just the trim. It’s a job you could do yourself. A sandwich board sign out front creates attention. On it, paint a swatch of hot pink. Alongside, print the phrase, “Your Clothes Come Out This Bright Here.”

Still another option is to place something interesting in the window. Something like a naked mannequin with a sign around her neck reading, “You Won’t Go Away Naked Here!” Or, “You’ll Feel Right at Home Here.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion!

About the author

Howard Scott

Industry Writer and Drycleaning Consultant

Howard Scott is a former business owner, longtime industry writer and drycleaning consultant. He welcomes questions and comments and can be reached by writing Howard Scott, Dancing Hill, Pembroke, MA 02359; by calling 781-293-9027; or via e-mail at


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