PlanetLaundry and Supplements Southeast Supplement to September 2012 : Page 1

Fall 2012 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Southeast BUS I NES S PROFI L E ST E VE N GO ULD The Big Time A 10,000-Square-Foot Laundromat is Just the Beginning for This North Carolina Entrepreneur Lloyd Trotter is what the politicians and pundits refer to as a “small business” owner. But there is nothing small about how Lloyd thinks or runs his business. He is a big planner and a big doer. Trotter graduated from college with a degree in business administration and then served a stint in the Army. After leaving the military, he joined the ranks of the Corporate Army, spending a number of years with Motorola. But he always felt that urge to run his own business. And, in fact, he has been successful at opening, building and selling a number of businesses. He started a decorating business, then opened a copy shop and even ran a landscaping operation. What’s more, Trotter has built homes, apartment buildings and shopping malls. continued on page 8 ADVERTISERS Coin Laundry Association | 13, 15 CLA Insurance | 12 LaundryPro of Florida | 13 Mountain Electronics Inc | 9 Pierce Commercial | 7 PlanetLaundry.com | 8 SouthEastern Laundry | 3 T&L Equipment Sales Co., Inc | 6 Wascomat | Back Cover Worldwide Laundry | 5

BUSINESS PROFILE

Steven Gould


The Big Time

A 10,000-Square-Foot Laundromat is Just the Beginning for This North Carolina Entrepreneur

Lloyd Trotter is what the politicians and pundits refer to as a “small business” owner. But there is nothing small about how Lloyd thinks or runs his business.

He is a big planner and a big doer.

Trotter graduated from college with a degree in business administration and then served a stint in the Army. After leaving the military, he joined the ranks of the Corporate Army, spending a number of years with Motorola.

But he always felt that urge to run his own business. And, in fact, he has been successful at opening, building and selling a number of businesses. He started a decorating business, then opened a copy shop and even ran a landscaping operation. What’s more, Trotter has built homes, apartment buildings and shopping malls

He explained that it was his business partner who had the idea to open a laundromat. His partner had been in the laundry business years before, and after a little research, Trotter agreed that a self-service laundry could be a solid, long-term investment.

As luck would have it, the two owned some raw land in Lincolnton, N.C., where they had been considering building houses. But, instead, they had a local laundry distributor check out the site and see if it had any potential as a coin laundry.

After looking over the site and its demographics, the distributor turned to Trotter and said, “If you don’t build a laundromat here, I will.”

As a result, the decision was made to build Family Coin Laundry, in lieu of housing. And the store opened in 1980, with an initial investment of approximately $85,000.

Since Trotter and his partner did all the subcontracting on the building project, things went along quite smoothly. They were able to layout all aspects of the building exactly as they planned, right down to every electrical outlet and plumbing fixture. The entire process from breaking ground to turning on the “Open” sign took just about six months.

Trotter offered his opinion as to why Family Coin Laundry is located in such an ideal spot.

“There are a lot of apartment buildings here, many of which were built by my partner and I,” he said. “They don’t have washers and dryers, so they come here to do their laundry.”

Just beyond the apartment buildings are neighborhoods of single-family homes.

“Many of the people living in those neighborhoods work in the furniture industry and at other lower-wage jobs,” Trotter added. “They simply can’t afford a washer and dryer.”

Trotter immediately noticed one aspect of owning a laundromat that he saw as a huge advantage over the other businesses he had been involved with in the past – a coin laundry has a very small accounts receivables statement.

“I don’t have to create an invoice, do mailings and chase people down trying to get paid,” Trotter pointed out. “The customer pays when the services are provided.”

And Family Coin Laundry provides plenty of services. In fact, the store serves as a “one-stop shop” for many of its customers.

The facility, which has been expanded three times, now stands at an enormous 10,000 square feet. It has become the place in Lincolnton to not only get your weekly laundry done, but also to settle up your monthly bills at the store’s payment center, to have lunch at the adjacent pizzeria, and to try your hand at the latest video game at Family Coin Laundry’s 18-game arcade.

In addition, Trotter sells disposable cell phones and phone cards at his store.

And that’s not all. When the weather in North Carolina is less than sunny, Family Coin Laundry provides a number of tanning beds as well.

Although Trotter has turned his laundromat into more than just a place to wash clothes, doing laundry remains the main focus of the store. As such, there are vending machines filled with detergent, softener and other laundry day essentials. In addition, the payment center sells large-sized boxes of detergent and other laundry products. And, if you don’t have a taste for pizza for lunch, the store also includes vending machines, serving up snacks, soda and sandwiches.

As if these services and amenities weren’t enough, Trotter feels his store has another major advantage over any of his competitors – four full-time attendants on staff. Therefore, there is always someone around to help customers, from the time the store opens at 6 a.m. until it closes at midnight.

According to Trotter, Family Coin Laundry is the only laundry in its marketplace with employees always on duty. He added that many of his customers have said they appreciate knowing there is someone available to assist them on the spot if an issue were to arise.

Despite all of the bells and whistles, many people don’t want to spend their day at the laundromat – any laundromat. So, for those with other places to be, Family Coin Laundry offers a wash-dry-fold service for $1 per pound.

To get the word out about his many businesses within a business, Trotter advertises in a number of local media outlets, as well as running various promotions, such as the store’s popular $1,000 Christmas drawing, awarded on Christmas Eve.

Moreover, there are a number of other thriving small businesses nearby that call attention to Family Coin Laundry. Just within the shopping center itself (which was built by Trotter and his business partner), there are several fast-food and casual dining restaurants, as well as a busy supermarket. Plus, at the mall entrance, there is a rental car company, where many of those renting a car for an extended stay take note of Trotter’s laundry.

While Trotter has no immediate plans to open another business, there is no telling what his plans may be tomorrow. Along with Family Coin Laundry in Lincolnton, he also owns and operates five other coin laundries in the area.

With six laundromats, strip malls and apartment buildings to manage, Trotter does things in a big way and has no inclination to slow down any time soon.

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/BUSINESS+PROFILE/1150748/123426/article.html.

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