Five Stars. It’s a term reserved for the finest of restaurants. It’s the rating synonymous with the most luxurious of hotels. It’s the phrase film critics unholster only for the “Citizen Kanes” of the silver screen world. No doubt five stars is the ultimate measure of quality…the best of the best.
That was the driving force for John Pinnock in developing his Baltimore-based Laundry City business.
“I wanted this to be a true five-star laundromat,” Pinnock said. And don’t try to sway him that the terms “five-star” and “laundromat” historically have not been paired together. Pinnock knows the traditional view of laundries as dark and dingy was a major hurdle, but he wasn’t backing down from his charge.
“My goal was to change the mentality… to make this a place people want to come to and stay,” he said.
Educated in laundry at an early age
One could say Pinnock’s vision for the laundry started at an early age, or at least he understood the need the business is based on. Attending a boarding school, it was incumbent upon students to look their best, and clean clothes obviously were a major part of that.
“It was always important to have clean clothes. It was ingrained in me at a young age,” he said.
While the seeds of the business may have been planted at a young age, they didn’t fully take root until a couple years ago…and germination is a process the certified arborist knows a little something about.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the laundry business,” he said, adding that what he found attractive is that it doesn’t come with the labor headaches most other ventures do.
“I’ve been in my own business for 30 years and the biggest challenge is always labor.”
In planning his top-of-the-industry store, Pinnock knew he had to have the laundry equipment to deliver five-star results, and that was a no-brainer.
Growing up in Jamaica, he was quite familiar with the Electrolux brand and its reputation for quality. Pinnock, however, performed his due diligence and had many in-depth conversations with current store owners about their experiences with Laundrylux and Electrolux. Machine quality and efficiency was a huge part of the equation. The other half was if the brand delivered on its service promise. Pinnock was happy to find out, it did.
“They have a culture of customer service that puts me at ease,” Pinnock said. But the Electrolux brand brings much more to the table.
“No other brand compares to Electrolux Professional,” shares Pinnock. “The innovation, quality, and reliability are incredible. In addition to the text messaging, Electrolux washers have a unique feature called Automatic Water Savings (AWS) that automatically adds the correct amount of water to match the load size. This saves me over 30 percent on water.”
The game changer
So what does Laundry City, the store billed as five-star facility, look like? Well for starters, it’s big…10,000 square feet big!
Within that celestial body of space is a 250-square-foot kids play area and of course, 300 Electrolux Professional washers and dryers. The laundry’s lounge features classy elements never seen in this industry, such as a coffered ceiling and crown molding.
And while plastic furniture may be fine for a one-star facility, “The World’s Cleanest Laundromat,” as it states on the building, boasts leather furniture inside its 400-square-foot adult lounge. Pinnock felt it was important to “take it up a notch” and create a sizable quiet, warm, inviting area for customers to gather and utilize Laundry City’s free wi-fi.
Add in large flat-screen televisions seemingly everywhere you look, and it’s clear Pinnock was fully invested in his effort to make this a premiere destination.
“I wanted to take the chore out of the laundry task,” he said.
Powered by technology
Laundry City also puts advanced technology to use to further meet customers’ needs. Electrolux Professional washers and dryers have unique features engineered to reduce water consumption and gas usage, while delivering the best wash and dry results in the shortest amount of time possible.
That customer experience is made even easier with Text Messaging technology. With this innovative Electrolux feature, customers can start their washer and are free to walk away to run errands or just relax. The washer will send them a text message when the cycle is nearing completion.
If you’re still not convinced that Laundry City’s commitment to customer servic, is close to five stars, think again. This store clinches a five-star rating with chauffeur service. That’s right, Laundry City offers shuttle service from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. And if it’s not enough that drivers will pickup and dropoff customers, they’ll even help them cart their laundry in and out of the store.
“It’s very well used,” Pinnock said, “we have three drivers and the shuttles are running virtually nonstop.”
It’s clear Pinnock takes great pride in not only providing his customers with exceptional laundry service – he also gives back to his community. The store partners with homeless advocates to provide free wash and dry services, while also underwriting neighborhood cleanup activities, and sponsoring youth sports teams.
With his commitment to the city of Baltimore, it’s only fitting that dignitaries such as the Mayor, Congressmen, and members of the business community were on hand, along with representatives from Laundrylux and Electrolux, for a five-star grand opening and ribbon cutting.
For Pinnock, it was gratifying that the community has backed his vision.
“I was happy to see a strong turnout from the community,” he said, adding that it was a reflection of the city’s support from the start of his investment in the neighborhood.
In the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains resides the little French town of Perpignan. As a traveler to this quaint Ville,
founded around the 10th Century, it might surprise you to find, nestled amongst meandering lanes and stately old-world mansions, a store that’s thoroughly modern with a decidedly American twist. It’s a laundromat called Mr. Bubble’s Laverie.
Mr. Bubble’s Laverie is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Kurt and Kiki Drimmel. Kurt, a United States citizen, and Kiki, who originally hails from France, had previously called San Diego, California their home. Yet as they began discussing their semi-retirement options, and how best to enjoy a slower pace of life, Kiki and Kurt kept circling back to the same conclusion – returning to France to open a laundromat that offered American amenities.
“We’ve been returning to France every year, since 2004,” Kurt shared. “It’s hard not to fall in love with the people, food, and the beautiful places this country offers. It was our dream come true to make this move happen as soon as we did. And, we never looked back.”
Newly transplanted yet not new to the laundry business
The couple arrived in Perpignan, located in the South of France, in April 2014, and after five months their search for the ideal laundromat location was underway. While Kurt might have been newly transplanted, he wasn’t new to the laundry business. Back in the States, Kurt worked for one of the premier Electrolux professional brand distributors in Southern California – Mike Hurrell at Golden State Laundry Systems.
“Mike has an obvious passion for the business, said Kurt. “He taught me a lot about the coin laundry and on-premise market, and about the Electrolux brand of professional laundry equipment.”
Kurt spent several years with Mike at Golden State and then went on to work as an independent consultant for his own company, San Diego Coin Laundry & Equipment Sales, under the Golden State Laundry Systems umbrella. “I’ve been in this business for over a decade and must have visited every store in San Diego County many time over,” mused Kurt. “It was the best way to know my local market and learn the intricacies of the industry.”
Putting his extensive knowledge to work for Mr. Bubbles Laverie
Having assisted several of his Californian clients with the process of opening a new store, retooling an existing store, or just purchasing equipment, Kurt was confident he’d be able to secure the right location for his store in his new hometown. With a little help from a great broker, he and Kiki did just that. “The area is called Las Cobas, a neighborhood of Perpignan, and it’s steeped in history and culture,” shared Kurt. “The store is in a small strip center surrounded by apartments as well as small shops and restaurants that offer prime storefronts and steady traffic flow.”
What’s more, the closest laundromat to their location is about two miles away and is in need of a retool and some tender loving care. From day one, the couple knew that this Las Cobas locale had all the makings of a premier laundry spot.
Keeping this in mind, Kurt wanted to act quickly and begin formal lease negotiations, even though he wasn’t fluent in French. “I’m currently in school twice a week to fine tune my language skills,” said Kurt. “I may not be fluent—yet. But I do fairly well.”
However, Kiki is fluent and was very much on board. She was also a fast study, learning all she could about the business from Kurt as well as from her own due diligence. Ready to step in, Kiki lead the negotiation with great success. “She was amazing to watch!” exclaimed Kurt. “So poised, so knowledgeable… I am truly grateful to have Kiki as my business partner.”
Yet in light of their industry acumen, the pair still recognized the importance of having a reputable local distributor by their side. “As a longtime laundry professional, I know what a tremendous job it is to launch a laundromat,” he shared, “so many details to consider, from construction, to purchasing equipment, to creating a marketing plan. I knew we needed guidance; a trusted advisor who lived here and knew the ropes.”
Not knowing exactly who that would be, Kurt called someone a world away – John Sabino, the president of New York-based Laundrylux, the sales and marketing arm for Electrolux Professional Laundry systems in North America.
“I can’t think of anyone more well-informed than John,” stated Kurt. “And we can’t thank him enough for putting us in touch with Isabelle Lefevre, the regional Electrolux representative. We found Isabelle to be knowledgeable and professional. She really listened to what my wife and I wanted to accomplish with our store.”
The obvious equipment choice for Mr. Bubbles – Electrolux
Naturally when it came time to purchase equipment for their Laverie, Kurt and Kiki chose Electrolux. “Having sold Electrolux and competitive products for years, I already knew—from its energy efficiency to its durability, Electrolux was the highest quality equipment out there,” shared Kurt.
Another significant detail about Electrolux equipment is its ability to handle larger-size loads quickly. “The key for us is to cater to the people who wash their bulky bedding and comforters,” assessed Kurt. “Very few people have the capacity in their home units to wash large items, and only 15 to 20 percent actually have dryers in their apartments.”
French consumers are also keenly aware of the Electrolux brand. “When we’ve mentioned in passing that we’re installing Electrolux equipment, the response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Kurt. “People instantly recognize the brand and that it’s synonymous with quality.”
Electrolux is a global leader in developing sustainable “green” commercial laundry equipment. The washers and dryers are designed to increase productivity while lowering water and energy consumption.
For instance, Electrolux washers come standard with features such as Automatic Water Savings, which determines the weight of the load and adds precisely the right amount of water. The results can be seen in lower utility costs and a superior wash experience.
“The washer’s High Spin 450 G-force extraction is another fantastic and unique Electrolux innovation,” said Kurt.
Electrolux washers, as well as its dryers, come with the Compass Pro microprocessor for easy programming and more than 20 languages. Compass Pro also makes the equipment extremely user friendly. “My wife and I are available to help our customers, but the machines are very easy to operate,” said Kurt, “very intuitive.” Custom programs such as “comforters” or “uniforms” can easily be added to meet your customers’ needs – and there’s a real-time clock for promotional and time of day pricing.
Electrolux dryers are also built with time and energy savings in mind. “EcoPower technology automatically lowers the heat when the laundry is dry,” explained Kurt. “I think that’s remarkable. It keeps turning so the laundry does not wrinkle, saves clothing and linens from over-drying, and saves us money on our utility bill.”
“Time does seem to move more slowly in France,” Kurt continued, “however, I know our customers appreciate the faster dry time. And we can’t say enough about the significant cost savings. ”
Small by American standards, yet above average in France
With Mr. Bubble’s equipment choice firmly in place, Kurt and Kiki hired Mr. Bouzakri, an expert in building Electrolux-equipped laundries throughout Europe. “Mr. Bouzakri and his company Blue Concept have been instrumental in optimizing the layout for the store,” shared Kurt. “He and his employees drove an hour and a half each way to build our store. Their attention to detail and dedication to our project has been stellar.”
With the square footage coming in at right around 800, Mr. Bubble’s Laverie is small by American laundromat standards, yet above average in size for France. “The biggest changes we’ve made were removing several walls to give the space an open feel and paying attention to the lighting creating a bright, welcoming environment,” said Kurt.
Mr. Bubble’s now boasts a simple layout that is highly functional – washers in one row, dryers in the back section of the store, and a payment system that’s centrally located. A tidy gathering of table and chairs create a comfortable and inviting space for patrons to relax as they wait for their laundry. Other amenities include soap and candy vending machines, free Wifi, and a full video security system.
Mr. Bubble’s Laverie is attended at all times by either Kurt or Kiki or both. “It’s always nice to see the friendly face of an owner on site,” said Kurt. “We want our customers to feel welcome and offer any suggestions they might have for additional services.”
Not your typical French laundromat
With its larger-sized Electrolux equipment, being fully attended, and offering special services like Fluff & Fold, Mr. Bubble’s is making its mark as “the laundry with the American twist.”
“Our customers are excited by our American wash-dry-fold services,” said Kurt. “It’s a concept they know nothing about here and it’s really taking off.”
As for marketing, in addition to a more traditional advertising campaign such as distributing flyers with a coupon for a free dry and giving away Mr. Bubble’s tee-shirts and pens, Kurt and Kiki is putting some new ideas to work. “We are partnering with the local bakeries to do coupons for a wash and baguette special,” shared Kurt. “Plus a local news station is interested in sharing our unique ‘Americans open a new laundromat in France” story.
Kurt and Kiki’s mission is to be the laundry that other laundromats aspire to be. “Our keys for success are simple,” stated Kurt. “Keep our laundry clean, be open on days that the others are closed, offer innovative services, and provide exceptional customer service.”
Looking forward to the New Year ahead and some words of advice
Kurt and Kiki have accomplished quite a lot in the eight short months they have lived in France. Their best advice to anyone opening a laundromat here or in the United States is: Do your homework about the industry and your location; and while you might get some equipment cheaper up front, don’t discount the fact that you get what you pay for.
“We were presented with several brand choices,” said Kurt. “Yet we knew with the Electrolux products, the equipment would suit our customers’ needs and give us the benefits of long-term utility savings and durability. Plus time is very important to customers and to us. When doing wash-dry-fold with Electrolux machines, we can get the laundry washed AND dried in 45 minutes… ready to serve the next customer!”
The couple is very excited to provide Mr. Bubble’s customers with a much needed state-of-the-art laundromat with many conveniences. “We want our customers to come and enjoy their time at Mr. Bubble’s doing something they really don’t like doing,” said Kurt. “Our store is quite special. It’s unlike anything else in town.”
Kurt and Kiki believe in their store so much that already they are thinking of opening additional Mr. Bubble’s locations. “Our last piece of advice is never be afraid of taking risks,” Kurt summed up. “You just never know what you can accomplish.”
Click here to learn more about Mr. Bubble’s Laverie.
With five competing laundries in the Tacoma, Washington area, Susie Boyd knew exactly how she was going to make her laundromat, Mr. Bubbles, stand apart from her competitors and win over clientele – by creating a sparkling clean laundry environment.
Susie’s ideal laundromat vision came to her quite effortlessly; she just kept on thinking – what kind of place would I want to would to do my laundry in?
“That was the easy part,” shared Susie, “I would want a good location with ample parking and the best equipment, of course. I also would want a laundromat to have a comfortable atmosphere, friendly customer service, and to be clean.”
Retooling instead of building from scratch
After looking at more than 20 stores, Susie chose the perfect one that held true to her vision of the right location with lots of parking. It also came at the right price. “I liked the idea of retooling an existing store since it would be less expensive than building something new,” explained Susie. “Most of the utility work was already in place, plus, it had a small but solid customer base so the ramp-up time would be shortened as well.”
Susie gave the store a complete overhaul – from replacing all the outdated equipment, to installing energy efficient lighting, to altering the layout of the 2,000-square-foot space to maximize every inch. “We needed to accommodate the larger Electrolux Professional laundry equipment and make better use of the space,” said Susie.
In addition to the super-fast and superior cleaning and drying power of Electrolux equipment, aisles were opened up, and a roomy folding area was created. The picnic-bench seating lends just the right touch, creating an appealing ambiance while giving customers plenty of room to sit and read, or take advantage of the free Wi-fi.
Now, just how clean is clean for this former owner of a commercial janitorial company and self-proclaimed “clean freak?”
“Well, I’ve installed hand sanitizers throughout the store,” chuckled Susie. “And I guess you could say our motto is ‘Always Be Cleaning’. I’ve personally trained our attendants to keep the entire store spotless at all times, ensuring a fresh, clean space for our customers.”
The perfect marriage – a mix of industry expertise and, well, marriage
As a first-time store owner, Susie knew she needed a laundry expert to help her re-tool and re-launch her store. She also knew exactly who to turn to – the 22-year veteran in the self-service laundry business who just happens to be her husband – Rich Boyd.
“Rich has designed, installed and sold some of the finest large coin laundries in Southern California and Arizona,” said Susie. “He also ran an office in Albuquerque primarily selling OPL washers and dryers to the hospitality industry, so even if Rich wasn’t my husband, I’d be breaking down doors to work with him. His working knowledge about choosing the right equipment mix alone is proving invaluable to the success of Mr. Bubbles.”
And how was it for Rich working with his wife on the creation of Mr. Bubbles?
“We make a great team,” said Rich. “Susie’s heard me talk endlessly about the laundry business for years and has seen many of the new stores that I had a hand in building. Actually, her commercial janitorial company was responsible for many of the new-store clean-ups. Susie has an excellent understanding of this business and was clear about what she wanted in her laundromat.”
It comes as no surprise that the only laundry equipment choice for Susie and Rich was the Electrolux professional brand. “I could not be an Electrolux and Wascomat distributor, much less recommend these products to my wife of all people, if I didn’t believe they were absolutely the best washers and dryers in the business,” said Rich matter-of-factly.
Susie couldn’t agree more. “We didn’t even discuss it, we didn’t have to,” added Susie. “Electrolux Professional laundry equipment has a proven record in durability and offers the largest energy savings. Choosing Electrolux equipment was by far the easiest decision we had to make.” Electrolux washers are the most innovative on the market with Automatic Water Savings (AWS) for lowest water consumption and Compass control for easy programming.
For dryer selection, the couple went with high-performance Electrolux Stack Dryers. “The Electrolux dryers have a larger capacity than competitive models,” shared Susie. “They use less energy and dry faster. The reversing cylinders also reduce energy consumption, and protect against wrinkling and tangling.”
The Electrolux dryers also come with a unique innovation called EcoPower, which can save you up to 15% on gas. This unique technology determines when garments are dry and then automatically lowers the dryer temperature. With EcoPower, there’s less wear-and-tear on garments and no over-drying. Electrolux Professional stack dryers also have the best lint filter in the industry. “Our attendant pulls the filter forward and gently swipes his or her fingers across the lint filter,” said Rich. “That’s it. It’s amazing that something so small can be such a huge time saver.”
Another easy equipment decision for Susie was installing a card system that works with all payment types. “Some of our competitors have card-only equipment, which isn’t a convenient option for every customer,” said Susie. “Mr. Bubbles has a loyalty card just like the competition, but we also accept credit and debit cards, and, of course, coins.”
Susie knew her husband wasn’t the only family member she could depend on to make Mr. Bubbles a success – she knew she could count on her son, Wesley, as well.
“Actually, he was the main reason I wanted to get into the laundry business in the first place,” shared Susie. “Wesley is 17 and has a brain disorder. As a parent of a special needs child, I regularly found myself thinking about his future.”
Susie wanted Wesley to be financially secure, but more than that she wanted him to enjoy his work. “Don’t we all want that?” posed Susie. “Wesley has a loving spirit and an outgoing personality. I felt that this business would be a wonderful fit for him.”
Wesley helps Susie empty lint filters, refill the snack-vending machines and, his all-time favorite task – sort out the bills from the change machine. He also takes great pleasure in talking to his customers. “I’m so happy he’s learning so much and having a good time doing it,” said Susie, smiling. “We go to the store every Sunday. It’s become our family tradition.”
After Wesley completes his schooling in the next few years, he’ll begin working full-time at Mr. Bubbles. One day, he will be its owner.
“I feel so blessed to be his mom,” shared Susie. “I learn from him every day. Wesley keeps me grounded and focused and has given me courage to take on any challenge, like opening a laundry.”
Leaving her competitors in the dust
Since renovating and reopening its doors in February 2013, Mr. Bubbles has experienced astonishing growth. “We just past 500% of what it was doing before we took it over!” exclaimed Susie. “And I can still recall the excitement of Grand Opening day.”
“We ran a month-long special discount on our washers, which proved to be a big hit,” said Susie. “The store was bustling thanks to Google Ads, a social-media push, and good old fashioned word-of-mouth. We also mailed out 2,000 preloaded loyalty cards to people who lived in neighboring apartment buildings.”
However, the most gratifying experience for Susie was donating preloaded loyalty cards to a local church to distribute to those in need. “The biggest benefit in giving back is that is makes my heart feel good,” shared Susie.
Today, the response from the community continues to be overwhelmingly positive. So much so that Mr. Bubbles recently received the 2014 Best of Tacoma Award in the Laundromat category.
Each year, the Tacoma Award Program identifies local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. These exceptional companies help make the Tacoma area a great place to live, work, and play.
“With five laundries within a mile of each other, being selected for this award was an incredible honor for us,” shared Susie.
Susie is beyond pleased that her cleaning obsession, as well as the superior Electrolux Professional laundry equipment and friendly service, are being so well received. “I think we’re on to something here, she shared. “ I am so looking forward to what comes next.”
Laundrylux is pleased to announce that Jon Gershman has been hired for PLUS National Business Development. PLUS – the Professional Laundry Utility Service – by Pluslux, is the revolutionary program that creates cloud-based laundry solutions for the healthcare and hospitality industries, seasonal businesses, drycleaners, and other institutional laundry customers. It is available currently for the on-premises market and will be introduced to the coin-op business in 2015. With PLUS, customers receive brand new Electrolux Professional laundry equipment with no capital expense, a lifetime parts & labor warranty, and industry-leading Smart Dosing System which eliminates over-consumption of water and laundry chemical resources. PLUS customers only pay for what they use, so it functions like other utilities such as water, gas, and electricity.
Jon’s main tasks are to drive growth through PLUS distributors nationwide, develop new National Accounts for PLUS in addition to prestigious PLUS National Accounts such as Hilton.
“Jon comes to us with a proven track record of building best-in-class brands as well as sales organizations,” shared Neal Milch, Laundrylux CEO and founder of Pluslux. “His entrepreneurial experience and innate sales professionalism make Jon the perfect fit for creating new strategic partnerships and driving the PLUS business to new heights.”
Cody Milch, Vice President for OPL and PLUS, notes, “We have already seen the impact with Jon on-board, and his base in Los Angeles allows us to cover a national geography effectively. We have already added two additional dedicated professionals to the PLUS inside sales team so that Jon, our Regional Business Development Managers, and myself can rapidly scale PLUS and our OPL opportunities.”
After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1998, earning a Bachelor’s degree and a spot on the water polo team, Jon began his sales career in commercial real estate, first for Insignia/ESG based in Connecticut, and then Cushman & Wakefield in New York City. While there, he also established the philanthropic Caring and Warmth Foundation, providing resources for Manhattan’s inner city public schools.
In 2002, Jon launched his first entrepreneurial endeavor – EATS.com. Serving as president, Jon helped grow EATS.com into a leading restaurant informational portal and social networking site for food enthusiasts. After being acquired by Delivery.com in 2009, Jon continued his career at the online ordering website as the vice president of sales until 2012, when he decided it was time for something new.
Staying on as a Delivery.com shareholder, Jon launched Lights In The Business, a consulting service providing high-level sales and marketing strategies for a wide range of businesses, from hospitality to consumer products. However, when he heard about PLUS, Jon couldn’t imagine a better career move.
“When I first learned about PLUS, I immediately realized that Neal Milch and I shared a philosophical vision on the future of the industry,” said Jon. “PLUS is a game-changer, offering amazing solutions and financial advantages for a wide array of businesses from hospitals to hair salons. I had to be a part of it and make a contribution. I’m excited about getting the word out and furthering its expansion.”
“I am honored to be a part of an innovative company that is expanding its product offering, merging modern technology with the needs of the customer,” shared Jon.
Jon currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Andrea and his English Bulldog Carmine.
Quote Posted on Updated on
As you leisurely indulge yourself in a microbrew and a Panini, made with goat cheese from Portland Creamery, you receive a text message announcing your laundry is done. Glancing around the retro-mod lounge you just might have to remind yourself, “Oh right, I’m in a Laundromat.” Obviously this is not your typical college-town Laundromat – this is Spin Laundry Lounge.
Located in Portland, Oregon’s Historic Mississippi District, Spin Laundry Lounge encompasses everything owner and founder, Morgan Gary, originally had in mind when it came to putting her, well, unique spin on the laundry business. “My goal was to redefine the Laundromat,” explained Morgan. “And a big part of that was creating a community space that functions as more than just a place to wash and dry your clothes.”
Warm and inviting
Stepping inside the 5,000 square foot space, you can feel the warmth of Spin’s open and bright café environment inviting locals to stay awhile; take in a Blazer’s game on the high definition projector or check emails, thanks to free wifi, whether you’re doing laundry or not.
Spin’s café / bar menu boasts a selection of coffee, tea, beer and wine, pastries, small bites, and fresh salads – all made with ingredients sourced from local farms and companies. “We’ve also partnered with a local company called Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade,” shared Morgan. “Ground Kontrol provides Spin with a few arcade games.” Right now Spin customers can enjoy a timeless game of Ms. PacMan on the mezzanine level.
While the circa 1951 warehouse building where Spin is housed offers up an unhurried atmosphere and tons of character, such as the 1-ton Shepard overhead crane, customers will find there’s nothing slow-moving and vintage about Spin’s ultra energy-efficient and water-saving Electrolux Professional laundry equipment.
“In the end, sustainability was always my main focus,” shared Morgan. “From the Electrolux Professional washers and dryers, to the eco-friendly products and cleaners, right down to the local and organic food and drink in the café – Spin is as green as can be.”
A focus on sustainability and making an impact
Morgan always knew she wanted to make a lasting, positive impact on the environment and her community. She had been working in management for a while when she decided to head to business school. “I had always dreamed of starting my own
company,” said Morgan, “and the laundry business seemed like a perfect fit because typically it’s an industry where lots of water, energy and chemicals are being used.”
In 2012, she graduated with an MBA in Sustainable Business, and, what’s more, a comprehensive business plan. “My final project was a 100-plus page business plan on how to make my efficient and inviting interpretation of a Laundromat a reality,” said Morgan. “I studied trends, visited stores in the area, and read every book I could find about Laundromats and the laundry industry.”
She also kept a running list, jotting down every idea that could make her Laundromat distinctive and sustainable. “From wine tastings, to donating clothing (that was clean and folded) to area shelters, to using compostable to-go containers, to installing energy-efficient lighting – my list kept right on growing,” joked Morgan. “That’s when it really hit me that the laundry industry could greatly benefit from a new way of thinking.”
The dream takes off…
With her redefined Laundromat model firmly in place, Morgan now focused on connecting with the right laundry distributor – one who felt as strongly as she did about sustainability. She found such a partner in Lisa White, owner of Absolute Laundry Systems.
“Lisa, her husband, Scott, and the entire team at Absolute Laundry Systems are incredibly knowledgeable about creating stores built on sustainable business practices,” explained Morgan. “Lisa helped me with everything – lease negotiations, design and layout of the mat, construction, training, even finding the ideal location.”
After a year of searching high and low for the right building and neighborhood for her brand new Laundromat, Morgan fell in love with the “amazing old warehouse building” that Spin now calls home. “It was perfect!” exclaimed Morgan. “In addition to the parking lot, the space offered up plenty of on-the-street parking – and was surrounded by like-minded green businesses.”
It was also close to busy downtown Portland, college campuses, and many older and newer efficient / LEED certified apartment buildings. The renovation from warehouse to Spin Laundry Lounge took approximately four and a half months. “From day one, Lisa and Scott were invested in my business; they cared and wanted me to succeed,” shared Morgan. “Even after our doors opened, their expertise and support continues to be invaluable. What I appreciate most about them is that they really listened to what I wanted my Laundromat to be.”
And the number one way to create a distinctive and sustainable laundry…
Remember Morgan’s extensive laundry list of cool features and sustainable items? Well, topping her list was having “the most energy efficient laundry equipment in the world.”
“That would be the Electrolux Professional 450 G-force soft-mount washers,” said Morgan. “It has a unique feature called Automatic Water Savings (AWS) that automatically adds the correct amount of water to match the load size, which is incredible. The water saving is up to 30 percent!” 450 G-force extraction removes more water, which in turn saves time and energy in the dryer.
The speed of the cycles was also very important to Morgan – and her customers. “Most of our customers are shocked and excited to find out they can complete up to eight loads of laundry in one
washer and dryer in as little as 45 minutes.” Plus, Morgan is mighty pleased that she’s able to save on utility costs and pass on those savings to her customers.
Spin – A New Way to Laundry
Ever since opening its doors in March, the community response to Spin has been overwhelmingly positive. “Customers love the complimentary sanitizing rinse, and all of our Nellie’s All Natural Laundry products,” shared Morgan. “And that they can get all of their laundry finished – washed and dried – in only 45 minutes. They also enjoy the atmosphere and the fact that they can order a coffee (or beer!) while they wait.”
Perhaps one of the biggest satisfactions for Morgan is being involved in the daily operations of her store. “I wanted to change people’s perception that ‘laundry day’ had to be this monumental time-consuming chore,” said Morgan. “Looking around at my customer’s faces, I can honestly say that I’ve absolutely changed their laundry experience for the better. And that feels great. Mission accomplished.”
“Electrolux professional equipment helped turn my vision into a reality. Our customers are able to save time and money, reduce their carbon footprint, and enjoy every minute of the redefined Laundromat experience.”
“With the advantages Electrolux brings with energy and water savings, the equipment quickly pays for itself.”
Gary Slizgi and his wife, Marty, discovered that drop-off laundry could be much more than just an additional income source. With the right plan, it could be a primary revenue generator. The couple built their second store – Lucy’s Fluff and Fold Laundromat & Drycleaning – located in Orange County, California, with that service as the focal point.
A key element to their business approach was Electrolux Professional Laundry equipment. “Electrolux’s high-speed extract is important to me,” Slizgi said. “It reduces drying time and gives me a significant advantage.”
Savings also come courtesy of Electrolux Professional’s Compass control, which delivers excellent water conservancy and flexibility. This feature is not to be minimized, as Slizgi said, “we’re out in California and water is not cheap.” Electrolux washers also come standard with AWS (Automatic Water Savings). With every wash cycle, AWS determines the actual weight of the load and adds precisely the correct amount of water. This can save you up to 50% on water.
Electrolux dryers also come standard with EcoPower which senses when the load is dry and reduces the heat – saving you up to 15% on energy and with less wear and tear on clothing. All this technology, and the operational savings it brings, made Electrolux the only choice for Mr. Slizgi.
Mr. Slizgi got his start in the vended laundry business in 2006, when he purchased a 2,000-square-foot store in Huntington Beach, California. Once he re-tooled the laundry in 2010, in just three years, the first Lucy’s fluff-and-fold business grew 25 fold (excuse the pun).
Site selection gave the 2,400-square-foot store an excellent opportunity to benefit both business elements. The new laundry sits on the edge of lower income neighborhoods, while close enough to draw drop-off traffic from nearby high-income sections. In addition, the area is growing as office buildings continue to sprout up.
Boasting an industrial look and the latest Electrolux Professional equipment with CCI payment system, customers find a full range of wash options all the way up to the 75-pound capacity H-Series soft-mount units.
“With the advantages Electrolux brings with energy and water savings, the equipment quickly pays for itself.”
Slizgi added that he was impressed by the service he received from his Electrolux Professional laundry distributor, Stanton, Calif.-based Sterling Equipment Sales Inc., who worked with him for over a year to ensure a flawless design and smooth startup.
With a proven business model, paired with the speed and efficiency of Electrolux Professional laundry equipment and a commitment to giving back to the community, Lucy’s successful second location has started out on the right foot and continues to grow.
California hotel revamps on-premises laundry operations with new Electrolux Professional washers and dryers.
When one thinks about the highlights of a hotel property, they’ll mention amenities, restaurants, and overall service. The on-premises laundry room likely doesn’t figure into even the top 100 features. But if your business is efficiency and turning a property into the pinnacle of green lodging, the laundry room certainly might warrant top billing.
That’s just the case at the Hilton Concord in Concord, Calif. This 329-key Interstate Hotels & Resorts Worldwide property recently completed a $10 million dollar upgrade that focused heavily on sustainability. And the result is a hotel transformed into the standard for efficiency.
Lead consultant on the project, Charles Smith, CEO of Hotel Sustainability Solutions Inc. (HSSI) said that from the start, the charge was to place the property in a leadership position in terms of sustainability. And in looking at the results, the mission is being accomplished.
“This hotel is light years ahead of the competition,” Smith said, adding that the outcome is the culmination of extraordinary integration, collaboration and cooperation.
Make no mistake, this was an extensive effort and one that involved addressing all facets of the facility. It included incentives and rebates from utility provider Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Smart Lights and Lodging Savers, as well as the Contra Costa Water District. Taking a leadership position included implementing 33 sustainability initiatives, such as replacing all 6,400 light bulbs with LEDs, adding motion sensors, swapping shower heads with new low-flow heads, adding window film to reduce energy use, a pillow restoration unit, food scrap digester and much more, even addressing landscaping and exterior lighting that utilizes LEDs and motion-sensing technology.
But whenever peers or Interstate personnel want to learn about the property, the laundry makeover gets top billing.
“The laundry really is one of the highlights whenever anyone wants to see the property,” Smith said.
Owner of Roseville, Calif-based A2Z Laundry Systems, Ahmet Ibrahim, who spearheaded the installation of cutting-edge Electrolux laundry equipment at the hotel, views this facility as the new green lodging standard as well.
“This is our model for efficiency,” Ibrahim said.
Winning the battle in the planning
As the hospitality market began to uptrend, finding a sustainability solution became ever more critical. Becoming the model of efficiency, however, would take some work. The current state of the laundry was rough. Equipment was dated and repairs were mounting…when parts actually could be found to make the fixes. One dryer even had been taken out of service. Still, laundry loads were being processed daily, but the true cost of this dated equipment soon would be uncovered.
As HSSI began the task of evaluating options, key factors considered were the efficiency of the equipment, availability of rebates or incentives, distributor/manufacturer service and support, and the ability to upgrade equipment in the future — ensuring a long useful life and thereby protecting the initial capital investment.
Though Smith looked at a variety of laundry equipment manufacturers, the goal of creating the model of efficiency guided selection. That meant choosing a brand that delivered on its efficiency claims and had the numbers to prove it.
“Electrolux played a key part in the technology,” Smith said. “They stood out in the selection of technology available…their prominence caught our attention.”
Electrolux’s global leadership is evident in it being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2013. It is the seventh-straight year the firm made the prestigious list, which places it in the top 10 percent of the 2,500 companies in the Dow Jones Global Indexes with regard to long-term economic, environmental and social performance.
Wash efficiency leads the way
The Hilton Concord had been using soft mount washers in the laundry and Smith was committed to staying with this product type because of its high G-Force extraction speed versus hard mounts. Soft mounts also were preferable because they don’t require an additional concrete foundation to bolt to. However, lower installation costs and high G-Force extraction would not be enough. Water conservation, utility consumption, and operational efficiency were equally important.
This is the point where Electrolux really separated itself from the competition.
Oddly enough water savings started at the drain. The Electrolux soft mount washers (two 145-pound capacity and one 60-pound capacity) Ibrahim was recommending for the Hilton featured a unique pancake drain that helps reduce water consumption during fills. The hotel’s existing units as well as competitive models on the market can waste as much as 2 gallons of water per fill because they include a large sump and drain hose in the fill. Electrolux models utilize a pancake valve to keep the fill area confined to the wash cylinder.
Considering a standard of five to six fills per cycle, savings total 10 to 12 gallons per cycle. Overall, the Hilton Concord is saving 192,960 gallons of water annually in the laundry. When added to the savings realized through guest room improvements such as low-flow shower heads and toilets as well as other conservation efforts at the property, water savings total more than 525,000 gallons per year.
On the drying side, an agreement was reached on five 83-pound capacity Electrolux dryers to replace the dated complement of two 150-pound and two 110-pound dryers. Though drying capacity went down, the speed and efficiency of the Electrolux dryers combined with the high extract G-Force of the washers enable the laundry to process more loads per day (9.78 loads versus 7.81).
“The overall result of the higher extraction rate allowed us to go with smaller dryers and really spread out the loads,” Smith said, adding that the additional capacity contributed to reaching the goal of greater operating efficiency — making staff more productive.
Electrolux’s moisture sensing technology, which enables the units to dry to a set moisture retention level and then shut off the heat, further increased efficiency.
With the majority of a laundry’s gas consumption coming on the drying side, this is where the Hilton Concord saw a huge reduction in utility usage and costs. Combined with the 90 percent reduction in hot water usage, the laundry is consuming almost half the Btus as it did with the old equipment.
“There is a dramatic drop…Btus are so much lower and there’s a huge amount of savings,” Ibrahim said, adding that the laundry will see roughly $8,400 in gas savings annually. He pointed out that the Electrolux dryers derive their efficiency advantage from a unique horizontal airflow pattern as well as their reversing cylinder — a standard feature on 120-volt units, which is an industry exclusive.
Linens benefit from the reduction in drying time. The drying process degrades linens, causing them to wear out faster. So because more water is spun out in the washer and ozone injection opens linen fibers, only short dry cycles (or conditioning cycles before linens are ironed) are used, linen life is extended. Table linens even go directly from the washer to the ironer, with no drying necessary.
And all this improved efficiency on both the wash and dry sides equates to a startling reduction in electrical consumption. The laundry is using about a third of the electricity as it did before the retooling.
Savings such as these, however, are only part of the green story. Because of the involvement of water and utility entities, $135,360 in rebates and incentives have helped offset purchase and installation of new laundry equipment and other efficient products, systems and technologies.
Adapting the process
Smith is careful to point out that, while the Electrolux equipment takes much of the risk of operator error out of the equation, retraining staff is integral to maintain efficiency.
“The biggest challenge was re-educating people. We had to break some bad habits,” Smith said.
Part of that retraining includes weighing loads to make sure employees always are utilizing the full capacity of machines. Washers and dryers that are underloaded waste utilities and that cuts into the efficiency of the operation. In addition, staff also was taught that a little bit of moisture is OK for linens; they don’t need to be bone dry.
Manivone Khangsensing, Executive Housekeeper at the property is quick to point out that the retraining, coupled with the ease of operating the new Electrolux equipment has been well received by staff.
“People liked that we lightened their burden,” Khangsensing said of ridding the laundry of manual overrides and training employees to trust the advanced software technology. “It provides for ease of operations; there’s nothing complicated about it. The reaction has been very positive.”
Much of that positive reception stems from the operational efficiency of the laundry versus lower productivity with the old equipment. Capacity is much improved with the speed, efficiency and reliability of the Electrolux washers and dryers, which eliminate worker stress. Plus the work environment has been improved with Cree LED Troffers strategically installed where equipment is located.
Advice for others
For hoteliers pondering similar projects to increase the overall sustainability of their operation, Smith stresses taking time upfront to focus on planning. He recommends carefully analyzing the property to determine where the greatest efficiency may be gained. Then, it’s a matter of investigating the potential to offset upgrades through rebates and incentives.
“Sometimes you wouldn’t move forward without a rebate. It’s an integral part,” Smith said.
When it comes to the laundry, obviously equipment that reduces water and utility consumption is the key focus, but Smith also recommends not to take efficiency boasts at face value. Review and analyze numbers. However, his experience may save some time in auditioning manufacturers.
“I think you have to take a serious long hard look at what Electrolux brings to the table,” he said. “If you’re looking for sustainability, you have to look at Electrolux.”
Smith added, that In today’s technological revolution, it is important to select products and systems that can be upgraded within the expected life cycles of ownership. Electrolux’s commitment to those upgrades garnered the attention of the hotel’s management.
Finally, he advises that a strong warranty on equipment is important and it must be backed by excellent support from the local distributor and company — both are areas where A2Z Laundry Systems and Electrolux have shined in helping the Hilton Concord’s on-premises laundry room become a highlight of the property’s sustainability efforts.
“The retrofitting of the laundry room was a much-needed and important part of our sustainability platform,” said Jack Hlavak, General Manager of the Hilton Concord. “Uptrending in the hospitality market necessitated a higher commitment to the guest experience…we are now delivering the pinnacle of linen quality and that is showing in our improved guest satisfaction ratings here at the Hilton Concord.”
To learn more about Electrolux Professional Laundry equipment, please visit www.laundrylux.com
Electrolux Professional announces Energy Star® qualification on larger models, providing customers with more solutions and greater flexibility.
New ENERGY STAR qualification demonstrates Electrolux Professional’s continued commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.
Electrolux Professional Laundry, distributed in North America by Laundrylux, recently announced that its range of High Spin Washers which have earned Energy Star ratings has now been increased to include washers up to 45 lb. capacity.
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Established in 1992 to help save money and protect the environment it provides customers with guidelines on energy efficient products and practices. The strict conditions that a product must fulfill before qualifying for the government-backed label are reliable insurance that the product contributes significant measurable energy savings.
Reducing energy consumption and pollution while strengthening the economy are compelling ambitions of the Energy Star program. By producing equipment that fulfills all the Energy Star specifications, Electrolux Professional meets these ambitions and is therefore not only passing energy savings on to its customers but also actively taking part in reducing greenhouse gas emission thus contributing to important health and environmental benefits on a global scale.
Smart, green and economical
The Electrolux High Spin Washers (H series) have been shaped with contributions from users and experts in the professional laundry field all over the world. Their insights and know-how helped drive improvements in laundry equipment mechanics, ergonomics and design all the while ensuring energy-efficiency and sustainability.
“We are very proud that now an even larger range of our laundry equipment solutions is part of the ENERGY STAR® program” says Esther Staskiewicz, Head of marketing at Electrolux Professional (Business Unit Laundry Systems). “As part of our company philosophy we invest significantly into sustainable product development leading to exceptional solutions that are environmentally friendly and save our customers up to 70 percent on utilities.”
Electrolux’s High Spin professional washers combine technology with green thinking and low running costs. Durability, robust construction, and high performance set the machines apart. They are designed to respect the environment at every point of production usage and disposal. Products are built to be 95% recyclable. All of these factors exemplify Electrolux Professional’s commitment to continued sustainability.
Electrolux H-series provides your laundry with real savings and improvements in three crucial areas: time savings, enhanced economics, and flexibility.
- Time savings: Electrolux’s High Spin Washer can complete a wash and dry cycle in less than 50 minutes without compromising the quality of the wash results. Coin laundry customers appreciate the time savings and superior results, coin laundry owners have the ability to serve more customers and generate more business, and on-premises laundry operators save time and money while increasing production.
- Economy: Its unique efficiency means using less water and energy for wash and dry cycles. This can help lower laundry operational costs by up to 70 percent while cutting the environmental footprint. Automatic Water Savings (AWS), unique to Electrolux Professional washers, adjusts the water level to the weight of the laundry, meaning up to 30% in water savings for half load, as well as energy savings since less water needs to be heated. Another unique Electrolux feature, Eco Power for dryers, measures when garments are dry and automatically turns the heat down to the cool-down temperature, resulting in up to 15% in energy savings. In addition, Electrolux Professional dryers come standard with reversing cylinders which also speeds up the drying process, saving time and energy.
- Maximum flexibility: Ergonomics, performance, safety, and labor effectiveness are key factors in Electrolux designs. The user-friendly Compass Pro® interface is intuitive, intelligent as well as easy to use, and available in 20+ languages. Compass Pro® is the intelligence inside the H-series washers that enable Electrolux to provide customized laundry solutions for every kind of business including vended / coin laundries, hotels, hospitals, firehouses, schools, nursing homes, restaurants, sports teams, and more. There are up to 55 programs available, of which 15 are customizable. The Compass Pro® interface also features a USB port to facilitate installation of the latest software updates and a real-time clock for time of day pricing or delayed start (Smart Start).
Want to learn more about Electrolux Professional H-Series washers and how they can help you lower your expenses and improve your profitability? Click here to read an article about Connie Ihrke, owner of Belmont Coin Laundry. Her utilities are only 9-11% each month and she saved more than $25,000 in construction costs by installing Electrolux soft-mount H series models.
Electrolux Professional is a leading global supplier to the hospitality, healthcare, and vended / coin laundry industries providing professional kitchen and laundry equipment solutions. With the most comprehensive range of machines for food preparation and preservation, dishwashing, and professional laundry systems, Electrolux is a brand synonymous with reliability, innovation and sustainability. It has 90 years of experience and a portfolio of products designed according to the strictest quality, safety and sustainability standards. Electrolux Professional is recognized worldwide for its social and environmental performance and its product lines meet and exceed international standards. In 2012 Electrolux Professional had sales of about $900 million, approximately 2,600 employees, 7 factories, over 1,000 distributors and almost 2,000 service partners located in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit the web site: http://www.electrolux.com/professional
Electrolux Professional recently introduced Smart Dosing (SD) – a new system that automatically adjusts the quantity of detergent to the actual load size in the washer. It works in combination with Electrolux’s Automatic Water Savings (AWS) system which weighs the actual load size and adjusts water for that size load.
The industry recognizes that under loading washers is a common problem and surveys show that between 60-70% of wash loads are under loaded. This human error allows for wasted water and wasted laundry chemicals. While traditional systems work on the assumption the washer is always loaded to full capacity, with SmartDosing, the laundry chemical controller is “smart” enough to adjust the chemicals for the perfect ratio to water. If a washer is loaded to 50% capacity, the water and chemical savings could be up to 30% per load.
At the core of all innovations, Electrolux constantly strives to anticipate your needs and to create solutions and services that generate a real edge in your business. With Smart Dosing the benefits are tangible in efficiency, costs, and cleaning results. The proper dosing ratio allows for a finished product that has been thoroughly rinsed and is comfortably used by your customer. Consumptions are reduced, while still providing high quality results at a minimum cost. Controlling the chemicals and water also has a positive impact on the environment.
“It’s not just about machines,” states Kim Shady, Senior Vice President of OPL at Laundrylux, “Electrolux solutions create added value for your business. When Electrolux says they are ‘thinking of you’ it means exactly that. Every innovation is designed by experts to best meet your needs and exceed your expectations – and Smart Dosing definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s incredible.”
Simple To Use
Smart Dosing is simple to install and very easy to use. Operators do not need to select anything –the process is automatic. An integrated USB port completes the system allowing programming data to be uploaded or reports to be downloaded. The controller is able to manage from 2 – 6 pumps. It works seamlessly with Electrolux Compass Control washers equipped with Automatic Water Savings (AWS).
Want to learn more about SmartDosing and other Electrolux innovations? Call (800)645-2205 or visit http://www.laundrylux.com