PlanetLaundry and Supplements Spring 2012 Midwest Supplement : Page 1

Spring 2012 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Midwest B U S IN E S S P RO F I L E STEVEN GOULD Two for One Ohio Chain Successfully Combines Self-Service Laundries with On-Site Drycleaning Services William Hadler is the vice president of Sunshine Cleaning Centers in Columbus, Ohio. And his foray into the self-service laundry business – as well as the stores themselves – is slightly different than the typical coin laundry success story. Although Sunshine Cleaning Centers are similar to many other coin laundries in that they are family-owned and family-operated businesses, that’s where the similarity ends. In addition to self-service washers and dryers, all of the coin laundries house full-service drycleaning operations and are a division of a larger entity, The Hadler Company. The Hadler Company is primarily a commercial real estate developer of shopping centers. The company was founded more than 65 years ago by Hadler’s grandfather. During the course of developing the shopping centers, the elder Hadler was searching for a clever and interesting way to drive more business to his centers – and one of his ideas was a chain of laundromats and drycleaners. continued on page 8 ADVERTISERS Advantage Equipment | 10 Century Laundry Distributing | 05 Coin Laundry Association | 14 CLA Insurance | 15 D&M Equipment | Back Cover Great Lakes Commercial Sales Inc | 09 KeeWes Equipment | 03 Onward Commercial Laundry Equipment | 02 Setomatic Systems | 07

BUSINESS PROFILE

Steven Gould


Two for One

Ohio Chain Successfully Combines Self-Service Laundries with On-Site Drycleaning Services

William Hadler is the vice president of Sunshine Cleaning Centers in Columbus, Ohio. And his foray into the self-service laundry business – as well as the stores themselves – is slightly different than the typical coin laundry success story.

Although Sunshine Cleaning Centers are similar to many other coin laundries in that they are family-owned and family-operated businesses, that’s where the similarity ends. In addition to self-service washers and dryers, all of the coin laundries house full service drycleaning operations and are a division of a larger entity, The Hadler Company.

The Hadler Company is primarily a commercial real estate developer of shopping centers. The company was founded more than 65 years ago by Hadler’s grandfather. During the course of developing the shopping centers, the elder Hadler was searching for a clever and interesting way to drive more business to his centers – and one of his ideas was a chain of laundromats and drycleaners

“It began as a franchise operation,” Hadler said “Sometime around the late ’60s we bought them out and became the owners and operators ourselves. My grandfather felt it was a great way to drive people to our shopping centers as often as possible.We currently operate four cleaning centers, and it has proven to be a very successful model for us.”

William Hadler began managing the cleaning centers under rather unfortunate circumstances.

“I had interned at the company for a number of months on the real estate side of the business,” he explained. “We had a gentleman who had run the cleaning center side for close to 33 years. One day he suddenly passed away; it was unbelievable and scary.

“I had graduated from the University of Dayton with a business administration degree just six-months earlier,” Hadler continued. “My father looked at me and said, ‘We need you to run the laundromats. Do you want the job?’ That, too, was kind of scary. I was shocked. Here I was six months out of school and running an operation that I probably understood about one-third of and had to learn the other two-thirds on the job. It was definitely a crash course in business management. But I’ve been doing this now since December of 2006, and I really enjoy it.”

One of the clear advantages of the Sunshine Cleaning Centers’ business model has been its successful combination of laundromats and drycleaners, which has made the business somewhat recession-resistant.

Due to the current economy, more people are renting apartments these days, Hadler pointed out.

“When you have more rentals, 75 percent of those people don’t have a washer and dryer,” he said. “When you don’t have a washer and dryer, you need somewhere to go to do your laundry, and that’s where we come in. So, from that aspect, it’s been kind of nice that the current economy has boosted sales at the laundromat. However, as a result of the economy, our drycleaning sales have gone down. It seems that they tend to balance each other out and, as a result, our total sales have not gone down.”

Another advantage for Sunshine Cleaning Centers is that they are all located in shopping centers owned and operated by The Hadler Company. As a result, the typical landlord/tenant issues are eliminated. Plus, Hadler didn’t have to scout out and research store locations.

“When I took over the laundromat side of the business, all of the stores had been established since at least 1966,” he noted. “They’re all in central locations in the shopping center, so they can be seen when you drive by or from wherever you enter.We wanted every reason we could to get people into our shopping centers.”

All of the stores were built by The Hadler Company, which took available space that previously had been used for storage and converted it into the laundromats/ drycleaners, which average about 4,000 square feet per location.

Each of the four stores is located in Columbus, and the clientele varies from store to store. However, in general, the customer base consists primarily of low to middle-income renters – everyone from families to singles to students.

Hadler added that Sunshine Cleaning Centers are beginning to attract more and more customers who already own washers and dryers.

“One group is the mom who can get all of her laundry done in one pass instead of having to go through a bunch of smaller cycles,” he explained. “The other group is those who bring in their large comforters and quilts.We have recently put in some monster machines – huge 80-pound washers. I’ve seen people put in two or three large comforters and get them done in one load.”

Hadler had decided that his stores needed to provide more of the features that people simply couldn’t get at home.

“These large machines are more than anyone could get for Although everything was new to Hadler when he first took over the laundromat operation, the biggest surprise to him was the condition of the machines.

“Some of our machines were older than I was,” he joked. “I was taken aback by just how many repairs we were doing. And, with a lot of the older-machines, the lead time for getting parts was just too long.”

However, he used that situation to create a competitive advantage for the laundries.

“We upgraded to newer machines – their quality just keeps getting better,” he said.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of their laundry equipment, another advantage for the four Sunshine Cleaning Centers is their staff. The company strives for both customer and employee loyalty by providing clean, well-maintained, friendly place to work and do laundry, according to Hadler.

“One of my managers has been with us for 33 years, another has been here for 24 years, and a third for 14 years,” he said. “They love talking with and helping the customers. Many of them know each other on a first-name basis, and I’ve never heard such kind words from customers as I hear about our managers.”

In addition, Hadler added that his attendants – who do a good deal of drop-off laundry throughout the day – are extremely familiar with their stores’ equipment. As a result, whenever a customer has a question, the staff is able to help them out and show them how to best utilize the washers and dryers.

Sunshine Cleaning Centers are open seven days a week, starting at 7:30 a.m.,with the last load at 10 p.m. All four stores currently feature soda, snack and soap vending machines. And Hadler is considering offering free coffee as well.

“I work in an office that provides free coffee and I really like it,” he said. “I think our customers might even be more efficient if we provided them with a little caffeine boost.”

All in all, Hadler has grown to love the laundry business. And, although he’s not planning to open any new Sunshine Cleaning Centers in the near future, he would never say no to the right opportunity.

“What I’d really like to do is look to remodel our current stores and make them even better,” he admitted.

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/BUSINESS+PROFILE/1009294/104914/article.html.

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