MCALLEN, Texas — 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.
QUICK SPIN LAUNDROMAT
Coin laundry owners Rick and Ana Cortez’s first entry into the self-service laundry industry was a “modest,” 1,400-square-foot store just outside of McAllen, Texas, a city that’s a 2 1/2-hour drive southeast from Corpus Christi.
The couple bought a used equipment package into leased space in a strip mall to learn the industry, according to Pellerin Milnor Corp., which eventually prepared them for their second venture into the market—the new Quick Spin Laundromat in McAllen, which officially opened in September.
“The building we found was an old convenience store that had been closed for years,” Ana says in describing the Cortezes’ second store. “We liked the location and stayed after the owner to purchase the real estate from him.”
The building features covered parking across the front of the store, which Milnor explains is a detail found in many mid-20th century retail/commercial buildings across the state.
However, much work had to be done to the 2,500-square-foot structure, the company adds.
“The building had been neglected for a long time,” says Ana. “Storefront windows had been covered with iron bars, which had plywood beneath that, and the glass had been painted, also. We removed all of that.”
In a matter of 14 weeks, the couple had new electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems installed, along with new floors and ceiling treatments, according to Milnor. An unsightly, spray foam-insulated ceiling was covered up using bright, corrugated tin sheets, the company adds.
“We’re already at two-thirds of our monthly revenue goal in just the first month,” Rick says. “We haven’t even done any advertising or marketing because our focus was on getting the store open and ready for customers.”
To achieve this, the couple had the store equipped with 12 Milnor 25-pound washers, four Milnor 35-pound washers, two Milnor 45-pound washers, one Milnor 60-pound washer, 12 Huebsch top-load washers, 12 American Dryer Corp. (ADC) AD-330 30-pound stack dryers, and four ADC AD-444 45-pound stack dryers.
Participating dealer Derek Ward of Pellerin Laundry Machinery Sales Co. was involved with the project. The couple did not disclose the project’s overall cost.
Milnor says simplicity is the theme of the new store, which lives in its motto of “Cold A/C — Hot Water — Free WiFi.”
The unattended store’s lighting projects well into the neighborhood, Milnor adds, and is on a timer-lock, opening from 7 a.m. to midnight, daily.
“We had a lot of great support getting started,” says Ana. “Leroy Trevigne from Milnor and Corey Simonson from ADC were both very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about the equipment. We met them at Clean 2013, and both were in the store as we were starting up.”
“We’re off to a good start,” she adds. “I like being busy—I don’t like sitting around at home. This is an opportunity for me to open the store and work with customers, but I can also leave during the day to do what I want to do. We’re looking forward to the next one!”
Check back throughout the month for more Designing Success: Portraits of Memorable Coin-Ops!
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!