DECATUR, Ga. — Oz Laundry sits in an impoverished area of Decatur that’s dense with renters and thick with competition. The 5,000-square-foot store features high-speed equipment that allows customers to complete laundry in 60 minutes or less; ozone injected into every washer for sanitized laundry loads; a children’s Read, Play and Learn center to support early childhood literacy; and a hybrid payment system that simplifies store management and delivers customer loyalty incentives.
Meanwhile, full-service wash/dry/fold caters to affluent neighborhoods a couple miles away.
Open just over a year, owner Stan Sugarman says Oz Laundry is exceeding his expectations with month-over-month revenue growth of 5-10%.
As a real estate investor for more than 24 years, Sugarman says his interest in vended laundries piqued after becoming a landlord to one.
He used a bonus depreciation tax incentive as his excuse to jump in. It allowed Sugarman to immediately deduct a large percentage of eligible assets, including laundry equipment, rather than write them off over their “useful” life. Conveniently, he also had a place for the laundry to go — inside a retail strip mall anchored by a 35,000-square-foot Roses Discount Store.
Russ Arbuckle, of Wholesale Commercial Laundry S.E., in Southside, Ala., provided expert guidance on all facets of the laundry’s development, according to Sugarman.
“Russ was huge for us, He explained why soft-mount, high-speed washers worked with our philosophy of providing the best in customer convenience,” Sugarman says. “Our engineer and architect hadn’t done laundries before, so Russ really helped with the store’s design. We have three entrances, tons of parking, automatic doors and a reading center thanks to his guidance.”
Oz Laundry is equipped with Continental Girbau ExpressWash® Washers from 20 to 80 pounds in capacity and ExpressDry® Dryers in 30- and 45-pounds stacks.
The soft-mount machines are freestanding and do not require a reinforced concrete foundation, bolt-down or grout, making them less costly to install. While hard-mount washers generate 100-200 G-force during extraction, the ExpressWash Washers produce high-speed extract reaching 408 G-force and, as a result, remove considerably more moisture during extract, according to Continental.
This shortens drying time by up to 50%, amps customer rotation rates and reduces natural gas consumption because dryers operate less frequently, according to Sugarman.
“Customers love that they can complete all their laundry in an hour or less, compared to the typical two hours,” he says.
At the end of the day, it’s about providing an elevated customer experience, according to Sugarman.
“Our biggest competitors are the apartment laundries. That’s why we needed to offer a faster, more convenient customer experience.”
SANITIZATION SETS STORE APART
Playing into that focus is the laundry’s San-O3-Wash ozone system, which is designed to automatically disinfect every washer and laundry load in the store. San-O3-wash works by injecting ozone into the washers during cold rinses; ozone works best in cold water and naturally kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and molds in the wash. It also relaxes fabric fibers for improved cleaning and stain removal, according to Sugarman. Not only does the ozone set Oz Laundry apart from the competition, it ensures the building smells fresh and clean.
FLEXIBILITY AND CUSTOMIZATION
By offering as much flexibility to customers as possible, Oz Laundry hopes to build customer loyalty. Customers can pay their way—using credit/debit cards, coins, loyalty cards and mobile apps—as well as customize the wash process.
The laundry’s CCI FasCard system accepts all possible payments, facilitates easy store management, and allows Sugarman to offer loyalty incentives, including free dryer credits, special events and spending bonuses.
Washers offer a customizable ProfitPlus® Control that allows selection of optional “extra” cycles, including Extra Wash, Extra Rinse and/or Extra Spin. Each time a customer selects an extra, it add to the total vend price, helping build store revenue.
“Our customers select an extra 30-40% of the time,” says Sugarman, “which contributes to a 10% jump in revenue.”
ROUNDING OUT THE SERVICE OFFERINGS
Rounding out Oz Laundry’s service offering is full-service wash/dry/fold and pickup and delivery of residential and commercial account laundry. A point-of-sale system helps with tracking and processing orders.
While Sugarman says the full-service segment is growing steadily, he is more focused on the self-service side of business. “This is where we really want to grow with a goal of $60,000 a month,” he adds.
Fully attended and clean, Oz Laundry also offers plenty of tables, chairs and flat-screen TVs. The store’s Read, Play and Learn center helps keep kids occupied, while offering literacy-rich games and books. The icing on the cake? Each child is encouraged to take a book home with them.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].