Laundrylux recently completed a major upgrade to its communications systems to support Customer Care and business growth in North America. The new system is designed to enhance the customer experience with advanced technology and cutting-edge software capabilities. Laundrylux has partnered with telecommunications provider LightPath to provide dedicated fiber optic Voice and Data circuits to a new ShoreTel voice system which is integrated with Laundrylux’s Epicor ERP software. ShoreTel is a leading provider of cloud, onsite, and hybrid business telephony and unified communications (UC) solutions.
The result is seamless data integration, faster responsiveness, higher data security, and greatly enhanced functionality for Laundrylux Sales, Customer Care, and management teams. ShoreTel vendor BrightStack, designed the system with Laundrylux’s IT team headed by Phillip Beissner. “This is the latest significant investment by Laundrylux management to support our business,” comments Beissner, “and once again, we have chosen state-of-the-art technology.”
“This investment will benefit our customers and distributors across North America,” according to Jessica Orenstein, Customer Care Director at Laundrylux. “We are now better able to manage call flows, call center queues, external assignments, and much more with seamless integration to cell phones, iPads, and our corporate Epicor software which runs the day-to-day business. Our customers will gradually notice the increased responsiveness and accuracy as we bring many features online.”
“We believe an advanced unified communications platform is one of the most critical aspects to providing best-in-class service,” said Phil Beissner, IT Director. “We know the new ShoreTel system will have a positive impact in terms of call clarity, faster response times, and a better overall customer experience.”
A few short years ago, Annette Freking worked as a registered nurse, while husband, Jeff, farmed and tended to his real estate properties. The pair often spoke about opening a business together, yet didn’t exactly know what entrepreneurial venture to pursue. However at that time, they would never have imagined themselves as the proud owners of Perry Creek Laundry, located in Sioux City, Iowa.
“Owning a Laundromat was the furthest thing from our minds,” said Annette. “Jeff spent a lot of his free time on the Internet researching potential ideas. Then one day he was browsing on Craigslist and spotted an ad for a ‘Vended Laundry Investment Opportunity’.”
Soon after the couple was sitting down with the industry professional that placed the ad – commercial laundry distributor, Jon Glover, of BDS Laundry Systems. “It was an eye-opening introduction to the business,” shared Annette. “Jon gave us so much pertinent information in our very first meeting.”
Some of the benefits of laundry ownership that were particularly attractive to Annette and Jim were the low fixed costs, the overall manageability of the business, and of course the potential for a strong return on their investment.
So what started out as a business idea that never even occurred to them now became Annette and Jeff’s number one business option. Subsequently they began their extensive laundry research online and in person, visiting roughly 15 Laundromats. They also investigated different equipment brands, prices – and other distributors.
A trusted partnership is formed
However the Frekings felt no one could compare to Jon’s expertise, professional attitude, as well as patience. “He always returned Jeff’s calls, which were many,” chuckled Annette. “Ultimately we knew that Jon, and the whole BDS Laundry team, was the best fit for us.”
Moving forward with Jon by their side, the first item on the agenda was finding the perfect location. “Jon helped us scout around and counseled us on what to look for,” said Annette. “When we found a corner lot just one block off of Hamilton Boulevard, one of the busiest streets in Sioux City, we knew this was the spot for our laundry.”
The location also provided inspiration for the perfect store name – Perry Creek Laundry. “On one side we have this bustling boulevard,” said Annette. “And on the other side of the property is this babbling creek called Perry Creek. So we thought ‘That’s it, that’s our name!’”
The build took roughly two years from the time Annette and Jeff decided to enter the laundry business to Perry Creek’s opening day. Their “must-have” laundry list included a front door that opened and locked automatically, lots of windows, an office with a service counter, free Wi-Fi, convenient parking, and plenty of seating – inside and out. “The outdoor tables and chairs give our store a little something extra, something special,” added Annette.
The Frekings relied on Jon’s know-how to design a store that offered an excellent work flow, maximizing every inch of the 2,500-square-foot space. They layout called for the largest washers, two 75-pound and four 60-pound, to be placed in the front of the store, while the dryers held sway along the back wall. The design also included two roomy folding areas. “The whole space has a great feel and flow to it,” said Annette. “It functions extremely well and our customers just love it.”
Additionally Jon made the recommendation to purchase Electrolux laundry equipment.
Reducing energy costs and water consumption are a savvy business move for any Laundromat owner. With an eye on utility savings, Jon introduced Annette and Jeff to the Electrolux brand. “Right off the bat, we liked the color and design of the machines,” said Annette. “The Electrolux washer’s doors and drums were noticeably larger than its competitors. And when we learned about all the cost-saving features, we were sold.”
The Frekings once again had done their research, finding that soft-mount equipment was the most cost effective. That’s why they chose to install Electrolux Professional 450 G-Force high-speed extraction washers. The G-force removes more water from the load of wash, minimizing dry time. “We’re already seeing a significant savings in our electrical and gas bills,” said Annette. “And our customers like the machines because they are in-and-out so much faster.”
Besides making drying faster, the soft-mount washers make for an easier installation process on wood floors, upper levels and over basements. The heavy-duty construction of the equipment ensures a trouble-free operation as well as a longer machine life.
The dryer selection boasts an array of 14, 35-pound dryers; eight 50-pound dryers; and three 83-pound dryers. “The Electrolux dryers can quickly dry a large wash load efficiently and effectively,” said Annette. “Exactly what any customer is looking for in a laundry.”
What’s more, Perry Creek Laundry is the only store in town that has the Electrolux brand. “That’s saying a lot,” shared Annette. “Our customers rave about how good the equipment is. They love that they can even receive a text message telling them their wash is done. Without a doubt, Electrolux sets us apart from our competition.”
In addition to superior equipment and time savings, Perry Creek Laundry offers its patrons wash-dry-fold services. The store takes coin, credit, debit, and loyalty cards. Partially attended, Perry Creek has eight security cameras, three televisions, and a Vendrite soap and snack vending machine.
All in a day’s work…
Jeff and Annette go to their store every day. “My first task of the morning is getting the coffee ready for our customers,” shared Annette. “Next it’s on to sweeping, mopping, and cleaning the lint traps, making sure all the machines are clean and ready to use. I’m also on hand if anyone needs any help or just to say ‘Hi’ and chat for a bit. Then it’s on to more cleaning. It’s very low key work, yet I am busy every minute.”
Perry Creek Laundry caters to a diverse market that includes young professionals and a large rental community. “We have many customers with access to washers and dryers at their apartment complexes,” said Annette. “But they prefer coming to our store thanks to our large capacity washers and the effectiveness of the Electrolux equipment. Their laundry gets done faster.”
One of the very best aspects of running a Laundromat are the customers themselves, according to Annette. “The people are the absolute highlight of this business,” she said. “Before moving to Sioux City, Jeff and I lived in a small town. We really enjoy the diversity of people that come into the store and have a lot fun meeting them.”
Annette also shared that some days in the store are downright funny. “There are so many great personalities that walk through our doors,” she said. “There always seems to be a lot of liveliness and laughter during the day, which Jeff and I just love. I think it’s because we each grew up in large families with lots of little kids so we thrive on that kind of energy.”
It’s the simple stuff that makes the biggest difference
A clean store, machines that actually work, and a friendly atmosphere are the trade secrets to Annette and Jeff’s business success. That, and partnering with a trustworthy industry expert. “Jon and BDS Laundry Systems helped us with every aspect of our business,” shared Annette. “And they continue to be an integral to our success.”
In mid-January 2015, Perry Creeks enjoyed its Grand Opening offering its customers a week’s worth of free dry days and daily drawings to win free loyalty cards. Leading up to opening day, the couple ran a local radio spot and passed out brochures in the community. “We are also on Facebook and of course, word of mouth has been tremendous for us,” shared Annette.
Annette and Jeff caution other hopeful Laundromat owners to do extensive research. They also advise keeping such a venture close to the vest. “We didn’t mention our new adventure to very many people,” said Annette. “It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to start something new. Better to focus that energy on doing your due diligence than talking about it.”
“The great thing about the laundry business is that it’s so simple, but a lot goes on behinds the scenes,” shared Annette. “Jeff and I are so excited about what’s next for Perry Creek and feel very fortunate that we made some very wise decisions – from the Electrolux equipment to our laundry distributor.”
When multi-store owner, Steve Mendez, looks out over the well-appointed Wascomat equipment in his latest Senor Bubbles Laundromat, located in Ocala, Florida, his first thought is “home.”
“The Wascomat brand has always reminded me of my home– the south side of Chicago,” shared Steve. “I might have been born and raised in the grocery store business, but I was so intrigued by my friend’s Laundromat, which of course had all Wascomat equipment. I remember really liking the name ‘Wascomat’ and the look of the machines. It made a big impression on me.”
But before taking the plunge into the laundry business, Steve spent his time learning the family business. “My father opened his first grocery store in 1971 and he taught me everything he knew,” shared Steve. “He’s the kind of guy that would take matters into his own hands. If the floor was a mess, he’d get down on his hands and knees to clean it. Then it would be my turn.”
In 1996 after leaving Chicago for Clearwater, Florida, Steve opened his very own grocery/eatery, called Pepe’s Grocery and Mexican Restaurant. “The space was originally a beauty salon of all things,” said Steve. “Yet I had no problem envisioning it as something entirely different.”
Flanking Pepe’s was another unique storefront – an antique mall. When it came on the market in 2005, Steve had another vision and quickly purchased it. “The entire front of the building is glass,” said Steve. “I thought to myself this would make a great Laundromat. I imagined myself taking down the old green canopy and shining up the enormous window to reveal rows and rows of washers and a whole back wall of dryers.”
A year later, Steve’s fantasy became reality. However after the build and the installation of his brand new Wascomat equipment was completed, Steve suddenly got cold feet. “It was silly really,” he chuckled. “I knew so many people in the community because of Pepe’s, plus my only competitor in town was a rundown Laundromat. Yet, still, I was scared to open my doors.”
Finally Steve’s dad stepped in. “He said, ‘Give me the keys, I’ll open it.’ Six hours later I had my first customer. Two months later I had to hire staff.”
All it takes is one…
What started as a Laundromat dream quickly grew into a full-blown Laundromat addiction. Over the next several years, Steve opened a total of four Laundromats located in Clearwater, Live Oak, Gainsville, and Ocala. His father’s tutelage was paying off. “Everything I learned from my dad about the grocery business holds true for the laundry business,” shared Steve. “’You’ll get out of it what you put into it’ that’s what my dad always said.”
In 2014, Steve set his sights on opening Laundromat number five, also located in Ocala, by purchasing a 6,500-square-foot space. He turned to his longtime distributor, Marlon Reese, of Alabama Laundry Equipment, to help him once again on his latest build. “I first met Marlon in 2005, as part of my due diligence on the laundry business,” recalled Steve. “I was looking for my Wascomat equipment, and Marlon was the local Wascomat representative. He came to my restaurant; we sat and talked. I really liked what he had to say and decided he would make a great partner. That’s how we began working together.”
Over the years, Marlon’s honesty and expertise has proven invaluable to Steve. “He’s patient, knowledgeable, and always reachable,” said Steve. “I can call him on a Sunday and can get him on the phone. It’s so important to be able to get answers, especially if there’s any troubleshooting needed. He’s always there for me.”
Wascomat Generation 7 – a tradition of excellence
The latest Senor Bubbles is Steve and Marlon’s biggest build to date, with 68 washers and 68 dryers – all Wascomat. As a teenager, Steve might have been smitten by the equipment’s cool-sounding moniker and sleek look. However as a laundry owner, Steve is head over heels with Wascomat’s efficiency and durability.
“I have found that Wascomats truly are built to last and take the abuse of a coin laundry,” explained Steve. “Both washers and dryers have heavy-duty construction. And if there is a problem, they are easy to service.”
The Gen 7 washing machines are designed to lower water and energy usage. “The laundry environment is a very demanding one,” said Steve. “But thankfully year after year my Wascomat washers perform, giving my customers a superior wash experience – and saving me money on my utility bills.”
Senor Bubbles patrons are gravitating to the Quick Wash feature, according to Steve. “That’s where the wash cycle is cut in half; only 15 minutes instead of 30. It’s less money too – $1.75 vs. $2.50. And it’s proving to be a big hit with my customers.”
Not to be outdone, the sturdy Gen 7 Wascomat Dryers greatly improved dryer time and reduced energy consumption by 25 percent. “The dryers get so hot and clothes dry incredibly quick,” shared Steve. “My customers really appreciate saving money and time. I can’t tell you how many have shared their old-dryer horror stories; how other machines would ‘eat up all their quarters’ just to get their clothes dry.”
The massive laundry boasts a play area for the kids with games, flat-screen televisions, and ample seating. It also has all the latest technology features, including no less than 32 security cameras. The laundry’s high ceilings give the space a bright, open feel.
Like its predecessors, the newest Senor Bubbles, has a design element of cascading bubbles down its walls. It even has a little store that sells soap, fabric softener, snacks, and drinks, which makes perfect sense given Steve’s grocery background. The fully attended laundry offers wash-and-fold services and, above all else, is spotless. “I’m a neat freak,” said Steve, “I like my ducks in order. But seriously customers want their Laundromats to be clean, well-lit, and safe. After these three conditions are met, then they look at prices believe it or not. ”
Grand Opening Day
The new Senor Bubbles opened its doors on April 2, 2015 to much excitement and fanfare. “The Chamber of Commerce was there as well as some banks,” shared Steve. “There was also a wonderful turnout of potential new customers. The Ocala Township has a great mix of ‘snow birds’ as well as a large rental community.”
In addition to offering wash and dry specials, Steve offered up something truly unique – the chance to win a brand new bicycle. “Every time I open a new laundry I raffle off a new bike,” he exclaimed. “The customers love it and so do I. I’ll raffle off a bike each month for the whole year. I just announced the March winner in my other Ocala laundry. It’s always a fun thing to do and very gratifying.”
Steve relies on conventional marketing techniques as well, such as placing ads in the Ocala Coupon, a local paper; papering apartment complexes within in a three-to-four-mile radius with flyers, and word of mouth. “A recommendation from a customer is truly the best advertisement of all,” said Steve.
Now that his most recent store has taking off, Steve is already scouting locations for the next Senor Bubbles Laundromat. “I have to keep moving,” joked Steve, “it’s in my blood.” And as you might imagine, being a hands-on store owner of multiple stores, in multiple cities, Steve is constantly on the road. So how does he successfully manage his businesses and grow his empire? It’s a combination of high tech and human touch.
“Today’s technology is incredible,” explained Steve. “Thanks to all the security cameras, at the click of an app, I have eyes everywhere. The Wascomat equipment is amazing.”
Of course technology is wonderful, but only goes so far without a team of trusted people. “I certainly wouldn’t be able to maintain or grow the business without the support of my staff at each Senor Bubbles,” said Steve. “I’m forever grateful to them as well as Alabama Laundry Equipment distributor, Marlon Reese, who reconnected me with the Wascomat brand, and is always there if I need his guidance.”
But most of all Steve would like to thank his dad for modeling a strong work ethic and having nerves of steel. “I can’t thank him enough for all he has done for me,” shared Steve, “especially opening the doors to my very first store when I couldn’t do it myself.”
We are happy to announce the addition of industry veteran Tim Seitz to our PLUS division. Tim has been hired as PLUS Business Development Manager — and he comes to the position with a wealth of industry experience. Tim’s laundry industry expertise spans almost two decades and includes positions with card payment system leader ESD (director of sales and marketing), route operator Coinmach (senior vice president of sales), and as an independent representative of a variety of payment platforms.
“I’m thrilled to join the Laundrylux family and to be focused on the needs of the commercial laundry industry,” Tim said. “Being able to provide our customers with the latest technology, most energy efficient products, financing, service, and support makes me proud to be a member of the team.”
Cody Milch, Vice President of OPL adds, “Tim started a few months ago and has already proven to be an invaluable resource for the Laundrylux distribution network, helping them increase awareness of the Plus system within their territories and, ultimately, drive sales. We are very excited to welcome Tim to our team!”
PLUS is a revolutionary approach to on-premises laundry processing, eliminating capital expenses. It enables properties to pay for usage only of new, high efficiency Electrolux Professional laundry equipment, while avoiding lengthy contracts and expensive lease payments. All service and support is included in the program and helps managers better budget for their laundry expenses.
Please join us in welcoming Tim to the team! You can reach Tim at cell (516)252-8585 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Indian Railways is the largest rail network in the world. It’s the first mechanized laundry of its kind in the Railways, commissioned by Southern Railway in Chennai and operated by Orion Ventures since October 2011.
Amid frequent complaints from passengers about the poor quality of bedrolls in upper class coaches, the Railway Ministry announced that it would open laundries under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) scenario.
The Comprehensive Linen Management by Orion Ventures for Southern Railways includes:
- Collection of soiled linen
- Washing of linen in the mechanized laundry
- Packing of linen
- Loading of linen in the train
- Transporting of soiled and washed linen from station to mechanized laundry and vice versa
- Providing manpower for distribution of linen
Orion successfully set up a mechanized laundry on the land at Basin Bridge Junction yard, provided by Railways. The six-ton capacity (per shift) laundry involves steam wash, automatic drying, pressing and folding processes. It has the capacity to handle 18 tons in three shifts, and it is presently catering for 42 trains on average per day.
“The laundry under BOOT scheme is yielding the desired results. The Electrolux equipment installed offers energy and water savings, in addition to high quality wash results. The Electrolux dryer gives us excellent drying results, shorter drying cycles, and less creasing of linen. The life-cycle of the linen is enhanced thanks to the smart, eco-friendly programs of Electrolux laundry equipment. With hygiene of linen being maintained, the number of passenger complaints has come down drastically,” says Mr. Arif K, Partner, Orion Ventures.
The Laundry equipment installed at Orion Ventures for Indian Railways Laundry in Chennai include 3 Electrolux Professional Soft Mount Washers (W41100H) and Dryer (T41200), and 2 Electrolux C.Flex Ironers.
“Electrolux washers & dryers give the owner significant utilities savings and the innovative equipment features fulfill the Operator’s needs for reliability, low energy and water consumption without compromising performance, and quality results. Our equipment is robust and heavy-duty, and can withstand the most demanding environments. With such high capacity daily use of equipment at the Southern Railway Laundry in Chennai, we at Electrolux Service offer our full support and expertise in service to maintain the equipment life-cycle,” says Saj Kumar, Head of Service, Electrolux Professional India.
“Buoyed by the success of the Chennai laundry operation, Orion has also executed a similar project in Trivandrum, with Electrolux Professional Laundry equipment. With our high-performance products and innovative solutions, we look forward to transforming the challenging mechanized laundry environment in India to a successful and profitable business,” says Animesh Sharma, Sales Manager – Laundry, Electrolux Professional India.
Laundrylux has announced a disaster recovery program for self-service laundry owners and on-premises laundry facilities affected by the devastating floods over the past few weeks. This program includes no payments for up to 120 days plus no interest up to 12 months and low fixed interest rates. In addition, Laundrylux will waive all application fees to help get their laundry-owner customers’ businesses back up and running as quickly as possible.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in the mid-west affected by the recent floods,” states John Olsen, VP of Vended Sales for Laundrylux. “We understand how difficult it has been and we want to do our part to help. We are working with our local distributors to make it as affordable as possible for laundry owners – as well as business such as hotels, nursing homes, long term care, and other facilities – to get the equipment they need right away and get back on their feet.”
“Having lived through Super Storm Sandy, I understand how challenging it is to clean up after a flood,” shares Robert Hinojosa, Laundrylux Regional Business Development Manager. “I want our customers to know Laundrylux is here to help them get their businesses back up and running so they can focus on their families. I was born and raised in Texas, this is my home. It’s important to me personally to do whatever I can to help.”
Robert Hinojosa, Regional Business Manager for Laundrylux, is working directly with our local Electrolux and Wascomat distributors to make sure they get the equipment and financing they need to best serve their customers.
“Helping our customers get their businesses back in order is a top priority for me,” states Hinojosa.
Or call Laundrylux at (800) 645-2205
With strict water conservation efforts, severe drought conditions, and low water supplies, a person might think twice before opening a laundromat in Palmdale, CA, located in the Mojave Desert. However if you’re Sterling Phillips, a multi-store owner and SES Laundry distributor who knows a thing or two about saving money on utilities and achieving profitability, then by all means – what’s stopping you?
The Mojave Desert has met its match
In fact, Sterling thought the desert locale was the ideal choice for his next venture, Lucy’s Laundromat, for a number of reasons. “For starters the area is spread out and attracts customers far and wide,” he began. “I liked that the existing store was large, approximately 3,000-square feet, plus it had ample access to parking, and great visibility.”
He was also keenly aware that his competitors had smaller locations, older equipment, and much less parking. Based on all the facts and his industry experience, Sterling quickly surmised that the demographics were excellent and there was sufficient demand for a new and improved laundry in the marketplace.
Great business partners – who happen to be family
Sterling credits his father, Sterling Phillips Sr., for his chosen career path. “My father was a store owner before he became a distributor, launching Sterling Equipment Sales (SES) in 1988,” Sterling shared. “As kids, my brother, sister and I would visit laundries with our father where we learned the ropes. I worked for SES Laundry and managed the stores we owned all throughout high school and after graduating from college.”
Needless to say, Sterling has been involved in every aspect of the laundry business – from cleaning, maintenance, and management, to multi-store owner and developer. “It was a wonderful experience working side-by-side, learning from my father. Of course, my kids want to be doctors,” Sterling joked.
Today, Sterling still works with his family. “As the family business diversified throughout the years, my brother moved in the direction of managing our self-serve laundries, while I took on the SES distributorship,” Sterling explained.
As a world-class distributor for the Electrolux and Wascomat brands, SES Laundry focuses on store development and retooling equipment, which includes lease negotiations and design for new and experienced laundry owners. “We count on our sister as an investment partner. Our parents still work with us, but do a lot more traveling and are really enjoying life these days,” shared Sterling. “It’s no secret – I’ve got great business partners who happen to be my family.”
With his hands-on know-how and the innovative design and equipment resources of SES Laundry behind him, Sterling began the business of re-tooling the outdated laundry into a well-lit, wide-open space that offers a roomy folding area and a large mix of machines to appeal to every customer.
“The retool was easy,” stated Sterling. “All the utilities and carpentry were in place. We just needed to paint, fit LED lighting in the walls, and install a card system and, of course, get all new equipment.”
Sterling knew choosing the right equipment mix could make or break his desert store. He also knew that Electrolux Professional coin laundry equipment was specifically designed to dramatically save on water and energy while adding to his bottom line.
Electrolux – made for the Mojave and everywhere else
“There was no other equipment considered for this store,” said Sterling. “Electrolux Professional washers offer incredible custom programming, which gives me control over my utility consumption per wash, saving me up to 30 percent on water. The G-force extraction is very important to the customer and business owner, allowing for a much faster dry time, and, again, reducing energy consumption.”
What’s more, the Compass Pro feature gives Sterling the opportunity for higher revenue. For instance, he can offer his customers special wash cycles.
“Take comforters for example,” he explained. “Customers have the option of selecting ‘heavy soil’ or ‘extra rinse’ cycle. And customers like options – they will use them. They understand the benefit of using them, the added quality it brings to their laundry experience.”
Sterling’s customers are equally as pleased with the performance of the Electrolux dryers; he is especially pleased with the equipment’s low gas consumption. “Thanks to the reversing and EcoPower feature on the Electrolux dryers, the clothes are dried in much less time with great results,” he shared. “My customers love using the machines and I love how they consistently deliver an excellent performance.”
Lucy’s Laundromat patrons appreciate that they are in-and-out – fast. “About 45 minutes to an hour, tops,” said Sterling. “It’s because more water is removed from the garments during the wash cycle and our dryers work more efficiently, drying faster. You can count on Electrolux for speed. All the equipment is built to be super efficient.”
Lucy’s Laundromat – “the best wash in town”
From the moment Lucy’s Laundromat opens its doors, excitement was in the air. “The turnout was amazing, bigger than expected,” shared Sterling. “We did a mailer and door hanger with a coupon to redeem for a five dollar laundry card. We’re a card store, so the five dollar card could only be used at my business. Then the card, with our name and address on it, went right into their wallet, becoming the perfect reminder when laundry day rolled around once again.”
People were excited for a new laundry experience, one that offered a big beautiful space with the best equipment and service in town. There is no comparison. “Our customers say that our wash and dry performance is the fastest and best,” Sterling said with obvious pride. “They love that we offer more machines, more sizes, and more options.”
And because Lucy’s Laundromat is also a card store, the competition can’t offer what it can – namely bonuses, discounts, and promotions. “I’ll continue to do bonuses and discounts because I love reaching out to new customers,” said Sterling. “The five-dollar card giveaway was a big deal. People responded to that and told all their friends to come in.”
A Laundromat designed to fit everyone’s need
The desert may have its challenges, yet thanks to Sterling’s vast experience, Lucy’s Laundromat has been designed to be comfortable and appealing in spite of drastic weather changes or water restrictions.
Since opening its doors in March 2014, a loyal Lucy’s following continues to flourish. Sterling knows that out of all the transformations the store underwent, the most impactful upgrade has been the equipment.
“I receive so many compliments on the store – how airy, clean, and safe it is – but honestly the majority of the raves are about the Electrolux washers and dryers,” said Sterling. “Customers are amazed how nice their clothes feel and that they dry so fast.”
As a longtime Laundromat professional, Sterling knows the value of choosing the right equipment. “A huge part of our success is the standout performance of Electrolux. It’s what continues to keep my customers happy and satisfied – and sharing their experience with their friends. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s this: Your best advertisement is your customers, so treat them well. ”
In the hospitality business, many owners see only two worlds to spend money: the front of the house – amenities and features that attract and cater to guests; and that other land known as the back of the house. Most owners place these worlds in different galaxies. Raakesh Patel is not like most owners.
His Super 8 Ukiah, California property strikes a true balance between the two worlds. Indeed, Patel sees things differently, and the primary color he is focused on is green. It’s his passion to show others how eco-friendly lodging makes both sense and cents.
“Green is not just a fad or a marketing theme,” Patel said, adding that he wants to make a difference, not just at his property, but in the world. And with today’s severe drought conditions in California and many parts of the world, conserving water and the earth’s precious resources is critical.
Awarded and Honored
There are more than 7,600 properties under the Wyndham Hotels umbrella. In 2012, however, Patel’s Ukiah, Calif. Super 8 location stood out from the group, garnering the prestigious Wyndham Green Award. This award is presented to owners whose properties have made a concerted effort to engage in practices that contribute to the betterment of the planet and offer guests a green environment.
Patel’s 54-room property brings features that truly set it apart, things such as energy efficient lighting, room systems managed by occupancy sensors, and a recycling program that cut his waste bills in half. His was the first Super 8 in the Wyndham group to install charging stations for electric vehicles, a move he said raised a few eyebrows. That is until people started showing up and plugging in… and raving about the hotel online.
The property’s commitment is evident in a variety of other certifications including: California Green Lodging certification; Platinum certification from Green Business Bureau; four-key rating by Green Key Certifications; and certified gold level by TripAdvisors’ Green Leader program. Super 8 also recognized Patel’s effort by presenting him with the Spirit of Super 8 award.
“It’s an amazing feeling… I feel so honored,” Patel said. But those awards weren’t the culmination of his work; they were just the beginning. “Now I need to do something in the laundry,” Patel said of the next stage in his commitment to the environment.
The Laundry gets green
In that land known as the back of the house, the laundry neighborhood ranks as a necessary evil. Hoteliers often see it as a cost center, only drawing attention when equipment breaks down and loads are stalled.
“One of the most major expenses in a hotel is a laundry,” Patel said. So, naturally, where other owners see a drain on resources, Patel saw opportunity and one that he could make a major impact on with a green focus.
“But it has to be done right,” he added of making sure to perform research in advance of rolling new equipment and system in.
At the time, his dated hard-mount laundry equipment was giving him headaches. An expensive bearing replacement and having to re-pour the unit’s concrete pad had him wondering about a better solution. A conversation with his distributor Viking Service about new Electrolux washers and a PLUS system that eliminated large upfront capital expenditures got him thinking.
“I was wondering, how much more can I really save with new equipment,” he said of his original skepticism of bringing in new Electrolux Professional washers, and just how utilizing the PLUS industry-exclusive pay-per-use system would make good fiscal sense.
Then he started running the numbers on his costs for six to seven loads a day (more in the summer) and he was intrigued. With PLUS – Professional Laundry Utility Service – Patel simply uses the equipment as needed and pays only for that usage – no expensive linen rental or laundry contract. PLUS laundering becomes a utility service – just like water, gas, and electricity. Like any utility, you pay for PLUS only when you use it with no long-term obligation. With a lifetime parts and labor warranty, all parts and service included in the program, he was sold. That’s capital that could be better allocated in other areas of the business. In addition, PLUS systems provide Electrolux Professional laundry equipment that is designed for exceptional results, increased productivity, and the lowest water and energy usage.
A deeper shade of green
Many owners might be satisfied with a move to soft-mount washers boasting super high G-force extraction (450 G-force), which reduces energy usage and cuts drying time significantly from high-speed hard-mount washers. Again, Patel is not like most owners.
When he learned of Smart Dosing, an Electrolux Professional innovation that automatically ensures the proper amount of laundry chemicals are added to match the load size, Patel made sure his Ecolab chemicals were being managed by this technology.
Add in Electrolux’s unique Automatic Water Savings (AWS) system, which adds precisely the correct amount of water to the load size, and water consumption can be reduced by up to 50%.
Patel appreciates the fact that his hotel is partnered with a company just as committed to the environment as he is – Electrolux’s sustainability approach is world-renowned. Electrolux has been recognized by CDP as a climate performance leader, was selected for the Global Compact 100, and is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index which includes the best-in-class environmental performers in the world. Electrolux is constantly working on reducing the environmental impact of products and factories according to the strictest standards.
The results are in
Patel sees the technology he’s employed in his laundry as the perfect recipe to deliver green results and much more.
“I have a system that accurately and efficiently adds up to great savings in dollars and very importantly, for a low impact on the environment,” he said, adding that savings are reflected in lower gas, electric, water, and sewer costs and help reinforce the Energy Star rating for his property.
Patel estimates his laundry savings total 20-25%. But the benefits are reaching much more than his utility bills. Faster cycle times in the laundry have given housekeeping staff additional time to take on other projects in the front of the house – keeping with Patel’s focus on providing the highest quality lodging experience for his guests. Guest surveys show the fruits of his labors, as the property consistently receives high marks and rave reviews online. And the laundry is a key component. Gone are the survey comments from the past mentioning rough towels that felt “like sandpaper.” Now he reads comment after comment about how soft and fresh his linens and towels are, he says.
Involved and spreading the word
Patel isn’t keeping his green initiatives a secret. As a member of the Wyndham Green Advisory Board and Super 8 Franchise Advisory Board, among other lodging associations, he is eager to share all he’s learned. “We have to think and act together,” Patel said. “I want my fellow lodging members to follow my lead; so I spread the word…by going green, save green.” To learn more about PLUS and Electrolux Professional Laundry equipment, please visit: www.laundrylux.com/plus
Reprinted with permission from American Laundry News.
Laundrylux is pleased to announce that New Jersey-based Equipment Marketers is now an authorized Electrolux and Wascomat distributor for coin and on-premises laundry equipment.
Cody Milch, VP of OPL at Laundrylux, states, “We are pleased to welcome Richard and Susan LaMaina along with the entire Equipment Marketers’ team to the Electrolux and Wascomat distributor network. A true industry leader, Equipment Marketers has a 70-year reputation for exceptional service and support. We look forward to growing the business and our relationship.”
“I’m excited to be working with the team at Equipment Marketers,” states John Olsen, VP of Vended Sales for Laundrylux. “Equipment Marketers is a professional company with an established market presence and reputation for excellent customer service. We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship.”
About Equipment Marketers
Founded in 1945, Equipment Marketers has grown to be a leading distributor of commercial laundry equipment. The company provides a complete range of laundry services from site design, equipment selection, installation, preventative maintenance and on-call service.
Keith McLoughlin, Electrolux AB President and CEO, recently invited Neal Milch, CEO of Laundrylux, to Sweden for a special ceremony. On behalf of Electrolux, McLoughlin presented Milch with a crystal award to celebrate 60 years of doing business together.
“We have a unique relationship with the Milch family and Laundrylux, and it has only grown stronger over the years,” stated McLoughlin. “We value our partnership and look forward to working together for many more years to come.”
“I was honored to receive this award and have our partnership recognized in such a meaningful way,” shared Milch. “We have a great deal of mutual respect and work closely together on many initiatives such as marketing and product development. Now with my son entering the business, the third generation at Laundrylux, we will be taking our partnership to even greater heights.”
A partnership that began with an accident at sea…
To learn how this great partnership began, we have to go back to the mid 1950s. A young man with an engineering background and experience in laundry equipment sales and service was hired to assess damage to the laundry equipment aboard the Swedish American Line’s M/S Stockholm after the ship collided with the Andrea Doria, near the Island of Nantucket. The young man’s name was Bernard Milch, founder of Laundrylux.
This was Milch’s first introduction to the Swedish-made Wascator (later named Wascomat) front-load stainless steel washers. He was extremely impressed that the machines remained functional after the water-filled laundry area was drained. Milch made inquiries to the Swedish company and eventually purchased a Wascator washer for testing and technical investigation.
Milch’s testing confirmed his initial confidence in the Wascator machines. He was convinced that commercial front-load washers could revolutionize the industry. Milch obtained the sales and marketing rights for Wascator machines in North America and, since he ate lunch at the “Automat” and liked the sound of the name, decided to use the name Wascomat for marketing. He seized the opportunity and the industry was changed forever.
Electrolux, which later purchased Wascator, credits Wascomat’s growth in North America to the extraordinary marketing efforts of Milch and his team. Since then, Laundrylux has become a valued partner representing the Electrolux Professional and Wascomat commercial laundry brands in North America.
Electrolux is a global leader in household appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 markets every year. The company makes thoughtfully designed, innovative solutions based on extensive consumer research, meeting the desires of today’s consumers and professionals. In 2013, Electrolux had sales of SEK 109 billion and about 61,000 employees. For more information go to http://www.electroluxgroup.com.
Laundrylux distributes Electrolux professional and Wascomat commercial laundry equipment in North America through its extensive distributor network. The company offers state-of-the-art commercial laundry equipment for the vended and OPL markets, as well as PLUS Professional Laundry Utility Service, financing, and marketing. To learn more, call (800)645-2205 or visit www.laundrylux.com.