LOS ANGELES — Every year, across many neighborhoods in the country, a new Laundromat opens its doors, ready to answer the laundry needs of those in the community.
But before the first washer is loaded, much work, preparation and planning has to be taken care of to ensure the success of the coin laundry.
Some will spend a month or two applying a fresh coat of paint and investing in a few equipment upgrades before they open their doors, while others will spend months upon months gutting and completely rehabbing a space to make it their own.
Some operators start completely from scratch, scouting the ideal location and building their dream coin laundry from the ground up.
Here, you will read about the process several store owners took to draft and establish their ideal coin laundry—from concept and design, to the renovation and construction work, and to the long-awaited day when they could finally open the doors.
Though each took a different path, all tell tales of how hard work led them to design their own success.
Nestled in “the heart of Los Angeles,” just minutes from Hollywood and Paramount Studios, stands coin laundry operator Gary Thompson’s Laundromat, aptly named Laundrywood.
Officially opened in late 2013, Laundrywood became Thompson’s second laundry under the “Clean. Green. Express.” tagline.
The 8,000-square-foot “megastore” is housed in a renovated early 20th Century building, which came into fruition after Thompson reached out to Van Merril of Continental Girbau West, a laundry equipment distributor in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Continental Girbau says that the building underwent an “extensive overhaul”—the structure lacked proper electrical wiring, its foundation was at multiple levels, and it was located on a “rundown street” lined with abandoned vehicles.
The project required assistance from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, which worked to clean up parking, clear out the abandoned cars and secure power to the building, says Continental Girbau. More than $60,000 in economic assistance was facilitated into the project.
“The grant was awarded because Laundrywood not only improves the vitality of the area, it offers energy- and water-efficient Continental ExpressWash Washers,” says Merrill. “The mayor’s office was impressed with Gary’s first store, Fair Oaks Laundry, in Pasadena, and wanted something similar to spur an economic rebirth in this part of town.”
Installed with Card Concepts’ card system, the store’s Continental Girbau laundry equipment includes nine 75-pound PowerLoad washers, 30 20-pound ExpressWash washers, 24 40-pound ExpressWash washers, and complementing ExpressDry dryers, according to the company.
Continental explains that the ExpressWash washers reach extract speeds of up to 354 G-force, providing benefits to both laundry customers and Thompson’s bottom line.
“The ExpressWash washers make it possible to wash and dry laundry in less than 60 minutes by removing more water and moisture during extract,” explains Thompson. Because of this feature, Laundrywood’s utility costs are just 16% of total gross revenue, Continental Girbau reports.
The Card Concepts card system also provides benefits to both Thompson and his customers. It allows him to tweak programs for marketing purposes, as well as program machines, and view washer operation statistics remotely from a computer, tablet or cell phone, according to Continental Girbau.
Thompson has included amenities to help customers pass the time, like massage chairs, large flat-screen TVs, a touch-tunes jukebox, video games, a kids’ play area and a granite “Wi-Fi counter” with charging stations for laptops, tablets and phones.
“We tried to make it a destination—a place to do laundry, have fun, chat and hang out,” says Thompson.
In addition to servicing its walk-in laundry customers, Laundrywood also provides wash-dry-fold, drop-off dry cleaning and commercial laundry services.
“We’re going after professionals, spas, nail salons, multi-store chains and small hotels,” explains Thompson. “Laundrywood is still new, and we are working to build our commercial customer base, but I’m hopeful that wash-dry-fold will grow to make up 30-35% of gross revenue.”
Soon, Thompson is planning to launch a concierge, door-to-door laundry service, according to Continental Girbau.
Store owners, do you have a unique story to tell about your laundry? Equipment manufacturers, distributors or suppliers—did you play a part in the creation of a new store, or in giving an existing store new life? Send me an e-mail at [email protected] with all the details!