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Shopping Center Developer Invests in Vended Laundries (Part 1)

Red Mountain Group opens Express brand locations in Calif., Nevada

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Red Mountain Group, which specializes in retail redevelopment, recently developed its first high-speed vended laundry—Boulder Express Laundry Services—here in Garden Grove. Anchored by a Walmart store, the 3,800-square-foot laundry has garnered 10% month-over-month growth since startup, according to ownership.

In May 2020, Red Mountain expanded the Express Laundry brand—and business plan—to Las Vegas. Sales at that 4,600-square-foot location grew even more quickly.

TESTING THE BUSINESS MODEL

Before diving into the laundry business, Red Mountain Group explored the industry throughly—conducting competitive analyses, running demographic studies and testing business models, according to Tony Mendoza, Boulder Express director of sales and operations.

All told, Red Mountain has developed and redeveloped approximately 5 billion square feet in retail and mixed-use real estate since 1991. Its goal? To transform struggling locations into thriving shopping centers positioned to support local neighborhoods.

Because connecting with laundry industry experts was essential, Red Mountain partnered with full-service laundry equipment distributor Continental Girbau West, in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Tod Sorensen, the distributor’s vice president of sales, assisted with every aspect of store development, including design, equipment mix, amenities and startup.

When it came time, he joined forces with Wayne Hoppal, of Reliable Commercial Equipment, in St. George, Utah, to help develop the Las Vegas location.

“They were amazing from day one,” Mendoza says of the distributors. “From buildout to install and getting the laundries up and running, they’ve helped us put all the pieces together.”

DIFFERENTIATION KEY TO SUCCESS

Positioned and equipped to stand apart from the competition, both stores are designed to ensure customers complete laundry quickly, earn loyalty points toward promotions and discounts, and enjoy a sanitized wash.

The Garden Grove and Las Vegas laundries showcase a mix of 20-, 40-, 55- and 70-pound Continental ExpressWash® and G-Flex washers, with complementing ExpressDry® Dryers.

The 20-pound ExpressWash machines feature an easy-to-install, freestanding design and generate extract speeds up to 400 G-force for maximum moisture removal, according to the manufacturer. The remaining G-Flex Washers are hard-mount machines with medium-speed extract reaching 200 G-force.

Because they remove more moisture during extract than lower-speed machines, they allow customers to wash, dry and fold their laundry in less time. Additionally, they contribute to reduced natural gas consumption because dryers operate less often, according to Mendoza.

“Our customers love the fact that they can wash and dry laundry in 39 minutes,” he says.

Meanwhile, both locations benefit from quick customer turnover and low utility costs amounting to just 15% of gross revenue.

Moreover, thanks to a Card Concepts Inc. (CCI) payment system, customers enjoy multiple payment options while Mendoza benefits from remote store management of machine usage, store revenue, employee schedules, promotions, pricing specials, and more.

“Customers really love our loyalty rewards program of $5 free after 500 points,” Mendoza says.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion!

Shopping Center Developer Invests in Laundries

Ricky Salazar (left), manager of Boulder Express Laundry Services, and Director of Sales and Operations Tony Mendoza pose outside the Garden Grove, California, store. (Photos: Continental Girbau)

Shopping Center Developer Invests in Laundries

The Garden Grove store, along with the Las Vegas store, showcases a mix of 20-, 40-, 55- and 70-pound Continental ExpressWash® and G-Flex washers, with complementing ExpressDry® Dryers.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].