SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Multi-store owner Art Jaeger arguably leads the industry in vended laundry firsts: the first to own a high-speed laundry, first to offer ozone sanitization as a vended addition to the wash cycle, and first to test and equip his stores with the new Continental Girbau Genius Series soft-mount washers.
He not only strives to provide customers with the ultimate laundry experience, he advances the stores he and wife Eve started and grew by investing in innovative equipment, technologies and services. Recently, his son, Alex Jaeger, and daughter, Natalie Jaeger Rozen, got in on the game.
All told, the Jaeger family owns four vended laundries in California: Valencia Express Laundry Center, Simi Valley Laundry Center, Santa Clarita Express Laundry Center, and The Oaks Express Laundry Center in Sherman Oaks. In addition to self-service, through a stand-alone company, they offer pickup and delivery for residential and commercial accounts, as well as in-store drop-off wash/dry/fold.
“Our philosophy is that we want to be the biggest and best in whatever community we serve,” Art Jaeger says. “We constantly upgrade our stores; we think it makes the customers feel they know we are engaged. We base a lot of my improvement decisions on how we can market and differentiate ourselves from the competition.”
TESTING AND INVESTING
He was first to test and invest in Continental’s new line of high-speed, soft-mount washers featuring a large 10-inch touchscreen user interface and exclusive 360° Vision corner status light.
“Art believes in the benefits of high-performance equipment and works closely with our people and engineers to help us innovate machines with features that set laundries apart,” says Joel Jorgensen, vice president of sales at Girbau North America. “Then, he tests the machines in his laundries before they’re introduced to the market. His feedback is invaluable.”
“Aside from an excellent relationship with GNA staff, I became a major part of their reach out to customers to provide feedback on what operators and customers are looking for in equipment,” says Jaeger. “I’ve had the privilege to talk with Girbau engineers over the years and have seen so many of my suggestions become reality.”
The Genius Washers, in capacities from 23 to 80 pounds, reach extract speeds up to 450 G-force for greater moisture removal during extract, reduced dry times and amped customer-rotation rates, according to Jaeger. This means customers can complete laundry faster than ever before.
The large touch screen—resistant to water, impacts and scratches—allows for customized cycles and “Extras” that allow customers to better control how their laundry is washed. There is programmability and owner control over every variable of the wash process, including number of baths/rinses, water temperature/level, rotation action, time and extract speed. The touch screen can display up to three languages and comes with four, six or eight pre-set cycle options that are customizable.
Store owners can design unique “Extras” to fit specific customer needs. The Jaeger family offers “Extra Prewash” and “Extra Ozone,” for example. When a customer selects one, the vend price increases 50 cents.
The “Extra Ozone” option automatically injects ozone into the washer at the end of the wash cycle. It sanitizes the laundry by eradicating up to 99% of viruses, bacteria and molds in the load. It also works to loosen fabric fibers for improved dirt and stain removal.
Each “Extra” generates more revenue opportunity while bringing peace of mind to customers, according to Jaeger.
The 360° Vision light found on the washer’s top corner illuminates in different colors to indicate machine and load status. Green is “machine available.” Steady blue means “in-cycle,” while flashing blue indicates “2 minutes to end.” Flashing orange signals “unloading required.” Red is “machine alarm.” The light was the brainchild of Jaeger.
“I wanted a way for customers to see from a distance when machines were available or in use,” he says. “The … idea came from the parking garage concept that displays a green light for empty spaces.”
Check back Tuesday for the conclusion
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].