CHICAGO — September year-over-year sales for coin laundry operators in the Midwest was up nearly 8%, the largest increase among all regions, according to results of this month’s American Coin-Op StatShot survey.
“We have seen an increase in self-serve customers,” says one operator from the region. “Our wash-and-fold business is steady with increases according to project work at the local oil refinery and pipeline going through Northeast Ohio.”
“Fuel prices are down so customers have more money to spend,” says another operator there.
Northeast operators saw September sales rise 2.9% from the same time last year, with operators in the South and West seeing similar increases, up 2.8% and 2.3%, respectively.
Third-quarter 2014 sales were also positive for all regions, with operators in the Midwest reporting an increase of 7.0% from the same period last year. While Northeast operators saw third-quarter sales increase nearly 5% over third-quarter 2013, operators in the South and West also posted gains, up 4.2% and 3.8%, respectively.
“Strong rental environment has been good for business,” reports a Northeast operator.
“Business is booming,” says an operator from the South. “[It has been the] best year in 13 years. Creative marketing, superior customer service and pricing for profitability are three things that allow us to be successful.”
“Our economy in Oklahoma is robust right now,” says another Southern operator. “With the oil field boom, construction is going on everywhere … so current market conditions are strong.”
But despite reporting healthy gains in September and third-quarter sales, some operators are still facing little to no growth in their local economy.
“Cost of water and sewer is overwhelming,” says a Northeast operator.
An operator from the South is seeing similar conditions, saying, “There are significant sewer rate increases in our region.”
“Market conditions in my area have not changed,” says an operator from the West. “People still do not have jobs [and there are a] lot of foreclosures in the area.”
“The markets are unchanged from the last five years, since the economic downturn [in] our area has not recovered,” adds a Midwest operator.
The unscientific StatShot survey includes information on sales, wages, costs or other financial data based on survey information provided anonymously by vended laundry store owners.
American Coin-Op audience members are invited via e-mail to participate in the surveys, which are conducted online via AmericanCoinOp.com. All self-service laundry owners/operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.