"Don't go into [the laundry business] thinking about providing the minimal," advises Michael Sokowlowski, chief operating officer, Coin Laundry Association (CLA).
Sokowlowski stressed this point to new investors in a CLA educational session titled "Top 10 Secrets Potential Laundry Owners Should Know" at Clean 2015.
Included in his "Top 10 List" is the importance of site selection. According to Sokowlowski, the industry's core demographic is low-income renters, and that 87% of these customers live within one mile of their favored Laundromat.
"At the end of the day, when you find the right location [it leads to profit]," says Sokowlowski.
ATLANTA - Linens play a key role in patient care at healthcare facilities. How important? During ALM's education session Sunday, Janice Larson, VP of Clinical Resources for Encompass Group shared eight hospital acquired conditions that could be linked to textile services.
The HACs shared were:
• Stage III and IV pressure ulcers.
• Falls, fractures, hospital-acquired injuries.
• Catheter-associated urinary tract infection.
• Vascular catheter-associated infection.
• Surgical site infection after certain orthopedic procedures.
• Surgical site infection after bariatric surgery for obesity.
• Surgical site infection after CABG.
• Surgical site infection after CIED.
ATLANTA - Every year, funds are made available for textile services professionals to attend the American Laundry and Linen College. ALM announced the winners Sunday at The Clean Show.
Scholarship winners for fall 2015 are:
• Tingue Brown Scholarship, Ed Zimmer, Healthcare Linen Specialists.
• MIP Innovative Launderer of Tomorrow Scholarship, Brandon Marsh, Providence Health & Services.
• Standard Textiles Gary Wright Scholarship, David Brocavich, Parkland Health and Hospital System
• ALM General Scholarship, Azeez Mitui, Federal Medical Center
• ALM General Scholarship, Jill Davis Motlhagodi, Laundry Emporium
The Tony Hanson Memorial Scholarship from Encompass will be awarded this fall.
Having a concise small-business plan and a thorough understanding of the coin laundry industry are key aspects when applying for a financing loan, according to Jennifer Whitney, Eastern Funding.
Whitney, alongside Matt Westphal, Speed Queen Financial Services; David Nolan, Firestone Financial; and Carol Dang, Elite Business Investments, discussed this topic in a Coin Laundry Association panel at Clean 2015 titled "Acquisition Financing: Today's Options For Your Next Store Lease."
Many financing companies have a "due diligence period," according to Whitney, particularly for first-time investors, where they must do their research on the coin laundry industry.
"We recommend getting in touch with their equipment dealer within their territory," says Whitney, to get a thorough understanding of how the laundry business operates.
ATLANTA - The top 20 most frequently cited OSHA violations for dry cleaning and laundry services in 2014 were revealed during TRSA's OSHA Compliance education session at The Clean Show Friday.
Edwin Foulke, former head of OSHA, shared the violations, and they are:
1. Hazard communication.
2. Wiring methods, components, equipment for general use.
3. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).
4. Electrical - general requirements.
5. Personal protective equipment - general requirements.
6. Bloodborne pathogens.
7. Maintenance, safeguards and operational features.
8. Sanitation - general environmental.
9. Respiratory protection.
10. Machine and machine guarding - general requirements.
11. Walking working surfaces - general requirements.
12. Guarding floor and wall openings and holes.
13. Permit-required confined spaces.
14. Medical services and first aid.
15. Portable fire extinguishers.
16. Laundry machinery and operations.
17. Powered industrial trucks.
18. Mechanical power-transmission apparatus.
19. Forms - record keeping.
20. Design and construction requirements for exit routes.
In addition to highlighting the features of its Galaxy 600 controls, another focus at Huebsch's booth at the Clean Show was its recently released control panel overlays.
Kathryn Q. Rowen, Huebsch North American sales manager, explains that the feature allows operators to customize the look of their equipment and help keep it "[look] newer longer."
"That's something we feel provides a tremendous value to a store owner," says Rowen.
"There's an opportunity to personalize and modernize the perceptions of what Laundromats [are] like," she adds.
ATLANTA - Emergencies strike when you least expect it, even in textile services. That's why it's important to have backup plans to keep your laundry operation going, according to experts at ALM's Laundry Chat Friday.
Some of the ways a laundry can keep going in the event of mechanical breakdowns or natural disasters are:
• identifying all of your backup options.
• partner with other facilities.
• larger laundries could locate a second facility away from the first to maintain operations.
• maintain a backup supply in the event of a transportation interruption.
The key to a solid backup plan is to conduct a tabletop experience. Through this simulation, launderers will find out what they don't know, but need to know, for a comprehensive backup plan.
Delivering a clean, consistent product is paramount when it comes to processing wash-dry-fold orders, according to Rita P. Foley, Regency Cleaners, White Star Cleaners, Durham, N.C.
Foley, alongside Brian Henderson, Liberty Laundry, Tulsa, Okla., presented best folding and packing techniques in a Coin Laundry Association (CLA) educational session titled "Your Guide to Wash-Dry-Fold Packaging."
Among Foley's techniques include placing a fabric softener on top of a folded laundry bundle before packaging to ensure the clothes smell fresh, as well as placing the nicest garment on top of the bundle as the "bow on top."
ATLANTA - Launderers can do much more than conserve water when it comes to the environment, according to experts during ALM's Laundry Chat Saturday morning at The Clean Show.
Both OPL and industrial companies can reuse or recycle items, such as plastics and boxes, in order to help the environment and help community health.
Repurposing linens is another method. Linens can be dyed and repurposed, given to rag vendors or a company could bundle used linens to store in case of an emergency.
One way launderers can benefit their communities is by donating used linens to local homeless shelters.
While roughly 65% of coin laundries offer fluff and fold services, just 15% of dry cleaners do, which means there's a tremendous opportunity for cleaners willing to offer this ancillary service, says Beverly Blank, who ran a successful wash-dry-fold business in the Los Angeles area for more than a decade.
Speaking during a DLI-sponsored educational session at Clean this morning, Blank laid out her concepts for developing a money-making service. She described several options for doing so, including processing the work at your drycleaning site, doing it at a nearby coin laundry, or subcontracting the work.
After her presentation ended, attendees lined up to receive what Blank described as a mini starter kit, including a laundry detergent pod, stain remover pod, safety pin, and more. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
Knowledge of your competitors and customers' needs are key strategies when making considerations to start a commercial laundry service, according to Jeff Gardner, TheLaundryDoctor.com.
Gardner covered this topic for coin laundry operators in a Coin Laundry Association panel "Commercial Accounts Marketing Toolkit" at Clean 2015.
Markets/businesses to target when looking for prospective clients include catering, lodging and sports facilities/health clubs that use core products like towels, sheets, table cloths and other linen products.
Understanding a customer's laundry needs and challenges, and how much they're paying to process their linens is a must, according to Gardner.
"The more solutions you offer them, the better the relationship will be," he says.
Attendance at the Atlanta Clean Show is up approximately 5% to date, and the 2015 show, at 189,300 net square feet sold, is larger than the 2013 edition staged in New Orleans, the Clean Executive Committee announced this afternoon.
Executives from the show sponsors confirmed that Clean will return to Las Vegas in 2017 (June 26-29) and New Orleans in 2019 (June 20-23) before announcing that Clean 2015 had met "certain performance targets," triggering a return to Atlanta in 2021 (June 10-13).
Committee members were hearing a "very positive response" to Clean 2015 from exhibitors and attendees alike. "It's nice to throw a party and have people attend," says the Coin Laundry Association's Brian Wallace, chair of Clean 2015. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
ATLANTA - At the ALM session about Starting a Laundry on a Shoestring, the topic of the day was: money.
Whether one is looking to start a laundering business or growing the business, getting the most of your money is key.
Creating a business plan will aid in starting a laundry and watching finances. A business plan identifies the market, processes, equipment, facilities, etc., to aid in securing funding, keeping costs low and maximizing processes.
Kevin Dubois, president/CEO of Lapels Dry Cleaning, has co-authored a new book that he says demonstrates how current and prospective dry cleaners can take an entrepreneurial approach to their business rather than becoming an owner tied to their store day in and day out.
'Entrepreneurial Insanity in the Dry Cleaning Business," written with Roger McManus, covers managerial tasks such as hiring, marketing, daily operations, job descriptions and more, all specific to dry cleaners. While he works for a franchisor, Dubois says he "tried to not write about Lapels."
The book will be available soon from Amazon, as well as from a website dedicated to the title. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
Want to learn how to market drycleaning services to millennials, customers born between 1980 and 2000? Ricardo Gonzalez, social media coordinator for DLI, focused on three areas in his Selling to the Selfie Generation educational session at Clean.
Because millennials generally have less money to spend than other generations, customers in this age group need to see "Value" in the products and services they purchase.
Brand "Positioning" can mean "tinkering with a customer's perception of a product," Gonzalez says. It's not necessarily about being first to market, it's about being first in a prospect's mind.
Lastly, work hard to eliminate the "Pain Points," the individual barriers that may prevent customers from taking advantage of the services you have to offer. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
ATLANTA - An important step when purchasing new laundry equipment is to define your needs and wants with an RFP, according to Gerard O'Neill of American Laundry Systems during a Clean Show education session Friday morning.
O'Neill said that a written RFP can take care of details that might be missed verbally.
Some of the requirements that can be listed in an RFP include:
• specifying the amount of training needed with the equipment.
• delivery and installation.
• terms of warranty.
• expected ROI over 20 years.
• estimate on annual parts expenditure.
ATLANTA - HLAC released its 2016 standards for accreditation Friday at The Clean Show and expects an increase in accredited institutions.
There 125 accredited locations currently. HLAC projects that 200 will be accredited by early 2016.
Changes in the standards include clarifications of some, along with the removal of some redundancies.
ATLANTA - Since the last Clean Show, ARTA has been involved with two projects to promote the use of reusable textiles.
First the association, in conjunction with ALM, petitioned OSHA for clarification of language to state that soiled linens are not considered infectious waste. Health care institutions still view soiled linens as infectious waste.
ARTA also worked on a life-cycle assessment study comparing disposable vs. reusable linens. The study showed that reusable linens are more sustainable.
What makes for a good attendant? Ideal employees are trainable, have good work ethic and are attentive to detail, among other qualities, according to Brian Brunckhorst of Advantage Laundry.
Brunckhorst covered the topic of laundry attendants in a Coin Laundry Association educational session titled "Maximum Performance: Getting the Most From Laundry Attendants" at Clean 2015.
When molding employees, Brunckhorst stresses the importance of setting clear expectations, providing helpful resources, constant training and enabling and empowering employees for success.
Coin Laundry Association (CLA) members kicked day two of Clean 2015 off by hosting its annual membership meeting.
Among highlights included CEO and President Brian Wallace's membership report.
According to Wallace, the association has "continued to improve retention rate," and has expanded its educational programs. Among these efforts, he says, include the association boosting its digital marketing support through its FindALaundry.org directory and its certified partnership with digital presence management site Yext.com.
"Who you are online is just as important as who you are in person," says Jamie Sewell, marketing consultant and former Coin Laundry Association (CLA) marketing manager.
Sewell provided tips and best practices to laundry store owners on how they can use Google tools to market their business in a CLA educational session called "All Things Google."
Sewell highlighted the importance of ensuring that your business is listed on Google, stating that 88% of consumers search on smartphones and that 84% visit a business on the same day after conducting their online search.
CINET's The World of PTC (Professional Textile Care Industry) series has expanded with the introduction of Volume 3, focusing on "Innovations & New Technologies," released during a special meeting just before the Clean Show.
The latest volume focuses on technological innovations related to equipment, chemicals, automation, textiles and energy conservation.
The International Committee of Textile Care (CINET) is the umbrella organization pooling national textile care associations, research institutes, suppliers and PTC professionals worldwide. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
ATLANTA - Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. has been in the laundry cart business for more than 80 years. At The Clean Show Thursday, the company unveiled its new name: MODRoto.
The new name consolidates several company names while building on its heritage. MODRoto operates 25 rotational molding machine in four plants to produce plastic carts and trucks.
ATLANTA — Dexter Laundry debuted its new T-650 front load washer, and T-750 stacked washer/dryer here at the Clean Show.
The T-650 has a capacity of 40 pounds and replaces the company's 50 pound washer. It has a front-load soap box and will be available in September.
The stacked 50-pound washer/dryer is also a new addition to the company's line up, and will be available in late 2015.
ATLANTA — Brian Henderson, operations manager, Liberty Laundry, Tulsa, Okla., manages the 'growing pains' of his growing laundry business through the use of online resources, like QuickBooks, Google Tools and Wordpress.
Henderson lauded the use of these tools in managing his staff of 25 attendants in a Coin Laundry Association (CLA) educational session titled "The Hi-Tech Laundromat."
Among the ways he uses Wordpress in operating his three laundries include the creation of his laundry's website, as well as setting up an "Attendant Portal" for his staff on the site for employees to check their work schedule or view important work announcements.
Henderson also uses Google Calendar for his staff to make time-off requests, as well as manage his team's work schedules.
Rework represents from .2% to 2% of a typical dry cleaner's annual sales, mystery shopping expert Carolyn Nankervis tells a Clean 2015 crowd, and those costs can be controlled through great customer service.
How? By "teeing up" a customer's expectations, telling him or her exactly what you're going to do to clean the garments, then setting time frames for decisive action.
"A very small part of your business operations is influencing a very large part of your business opportunity," says Nankervis.
ATLANTA - At The Clean Show Thursday, Joseph Ricci, president of TRSA, released survey results that show businesses and consumers prefer employees in uniform.
Some of the findings include:
• Nearly half of all healthcare workers clean their uniforms at home.
• 68 percent of consumers are concerned at seeing healthcare workers in uniform outside healthcare facilities.
• One in three hotels prefer outsourcing textile services but can't find a provider.
• 57 percent of diners prefer the use of table linens.
ATLANTA — Having a good team in place and getting to know your distributors are key aspects when it comes to remodeling a coin laundry, according to William Robinson and Chris McArthur, Forest Park Laundry, Forest Park, Ga.
Robinson and McArthur were among the panelists featured in the The Coin Laundry Association's (CLA) "Flip My Laundry" educational session at Clean 2015.
Among other operators on the panel included T.J. Kardas, Soap Opera Laundromat, Downers Grove, Ill., and Daniel Sofranko, Perfect Wash Express Laundry Center, Huntington Beach, Calif.
ATLANTA - Textiles can be part of an organization's antimicrobial efforts, as was shared during a presentation by the Association of Linen Management at The Clean Show Thursday morning.
Textiles have the capability to slow or stop the growth of microorganisms. This is accomplished either by incorporating the agents into the fibers or put on after the textiles are made.
Panelists were quick to caution, however, that the antimicrobial isn't a catch-all. Launderers need to use proper procedures to make antimicrobial efforts as effective as possible.
Carolyn Nankervis addresses great customer service at this morning's DLI-sponsored educational session.Thursday, April 16, 7:55 am | Bruce Beggs
ATLANTA — Continental Girbau hosted its Clean Show reception Wednesday, April 15, here at the Hyatt Regency.
Among highlights included the company's recognition of its 2014 Distributors of the Year:
- OPL: Darling Sales and Service
- Vended Laundry: Fowler Laundry Equipment Co.
- Canadian: Coronet Equipment Co., Edmonton Alberta
- Business Partner of the Year: Laundry Plus
During a pre-Clean Show presentation for its distributors, and a cocktail reception following, Continental Girbau and parent company Girbau Group celebrated anniversaries Wednesday night: Continental has been in business 20 years and Girbau Group 55 years in 2015.
Continental revealed plans to unveil certain pieces of OPL, industrial and vended laundry equipment in its expansive booth when Clean opens Thursday. The company also will be introducing a new wet cleaning system in an effort to enter that market. - Bruce Beggs, Editorial Director
CHICAGO — Auditing a coin laundry store daily for any safety risks has become common practice for the majority of coin laundry operators (43.5%) surveyed in this month’s American Coin-Op Your V