PlanetLaundry and Supplements Midwest Supplement Spring 2013 : Page 1
Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine DISTRIBU TOR SPOTLIGH T Spring 2013 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Teeter Products Teeters Products was founded in 1955 by brothers John and Dorwin Teeters. The brothers started most of their days loading up a trailer early in the morning with soap they made themselves. They then traveled to laundromats across Ohio and Indiana, selling their soap and giving away soap venders in exchange for an exclusive soap contract. “Back then, soap vended for five cents,” Dorwin recalled. “The soap was not in boxes like it is today. People simply put their cup under the machine, put in a nickel and soap fell into the cup.” As relationships continued to develop and business grew, Teeters Products outgrew Dorwin’s garage, so the brothers purchased a building in Fletcher, ADVERTISERS AristoCraft | 11 Clean Show | 08 Coin Laundry Insurance | 13 Coin-O-Matic | Back Cover DIY Direct | 10 D&M / Century Laundry | 05 Great Lakes Commercial | 07 John Morris Equipment | 09 PlanetLaundry.com | 15 Wascomat | 02 continued on page 3
Teeters Products was founded in 1955 by brothers John and Dorwin Teeters.
The brothers started most of their days loading up a trailer early in the morning with soap they made themselves. They then traveled to laundromats across Ohio and Indiana, selling their soap and giving away soap venders in exchange for an exclusive soap contract.
“Back then, soap vended for five cents,” Dorwin recalled. “The soap was not in boxes like it is today. People simply put their cup under the machine, put in a nickel and soap fell into the cup.”
As relationships continued to develop and business grew, Teeters Products outgrew Dorwin’s garage, so the brothers purchased a building in Fletcher, Ohio, which was at one time a furniture store. Impressed with the brother’s customer service skills, many laundry owners asked and encouraged the brothers to sell washers and dryers as well as soap products.
So, Teeters Products used its established relationship to eventually enter the commercial washer and dryer business.
As the company expanded, Doug Grise was hired by Teeters Products to clean equipment and manage warehouse duties. It wasn’t long before Grise worked his way up to selling equipment – and he later purchased the company in 1988.
Doug was – and remains – passionate about marketing equipment. He wanted to create a vision that laundry owners could get excited about. In fact, one doesn’t have to spend much time with Doug before hearing him say, “Nothing happens until someone gets excited.”
Quickly, Teeters Products went from having no showroom to boasting one of the largest equipment showrooms in the United States. And Grise continued to mold the company through his personal philosophy: “Be the best and be different.”
In fact, Grise’s passion for promotion is one of the reasons why washer decals and sign packages were developed. “We always try to give our customers everything they ask for and then something extra that they don’t expect,” he said.
The annual Open House quickly became a trademark of Teeters Products. And its educational seminars, which were led by industry experts, allowed Teeters Products to give back to the industry.
Teeters not only grew in new equipment sales but also in used equipment sales. With Teeters purchasing used equipment from its customers, this made otherwise unaffordable new equipment affordable. The equipment would then be cleaned, tested, repaired and resold nationwide. Laundry owners have traveled nationwide to purchase this used equipment.
Of course, this success would not be possible without the hard work of the Teeters Products staff. For nearly 20 years, Alan Jess has kept customers happy by troubleshooting and solving problems over the phone. Jess often sells equipment to a loyal crowd by keeping them happy and their machines running, and he typically doesn’t punch out at 5 p.m. – his commitment is foundational to Teeters’ success.
In 2003, Dan Grise started working at Teeters Products. His technical expertise has helped laundry owners modernize their stores. In fact, more than 25 coin-operated laundries have been converted to card stores with Dan’s help in just the last decade. He also has been instrumental in the development of the popular “Teeters Showcase Store,” offering drawing and marketing services.
In addition, the office staff of Bev Pittenger and Sallie Anderson contributes heavily to the company’s success – keeping everything running smoothly behind the scenes for more than 20 years.
Clearly, the foundation of hard work and relationship-building, which was started by John and Dorwin Teeters, remains evident today at Teeters Products.
And, new in2013, Teeters has a new promotional tool to help self-service laundry owners start off their grand openings with a jolt of sales. The company’s new giant washer and dryer inflatables are sure to turn heads and let the public know that there is a new laundry in town.
Teeters’ Doug Grise recently took some time to discuss his company and the self-service laundry industry in general with PlanetLaundry:
What is the most pronounced trend you’re currently seeing in the industry, especially in your specific region of the country?
Since I started serving the laundry industry in 1977, every single year there has been a movement toward larger frontload washers. The average laundry user today seems less concerned about breaking up their wash loads among several washers. The average laundry user today is busy and prefers to get as much done as fast as possible while using as few washers as they can.
Besides the trend of large washers, the time crunch felt has also led to an increased demand for Express washers and dryers. More than 90 percent of the equipment that leaves our warehouse is Express equipment. The Express concept allows customers to wash and dry in often less than an hour, catering to their need to “get done faster.”
What are you most excited about for 2013?
So many people set their expectations so low for what a laundromat should be. It seems the word “laundromat” has an inherent negative connotation. I get excited when I have an opportunity to redefine someone’s experience. At Teeters Products, we spend a lot of time on something I call the “Wow factor.” When a laundry user enters a store, I get excited when I see their jaw hit the floor. Of course, the equipment is critical, but the store design, color selection and marketing methods are key factors that are normally not given the attention they need. When you walk into one of our customers’ showcase stores, it is apparent immediately that the bar has been raised. Redefining the laundry experience is what excites me most about working in the laundry industry.
What are you most concerned about business-wise?
Ultimately, what hurts the laundry owner ends up hurting the distributors. It is not uncommon anymore for me to hear of an owner who knows that their water or sewer rates are soon going to go up 30 percent to 50 percent. The lack of low-interest financing also can stop a laundry project. And, most recently, the Ohio government has proposed that self-service laundries be taxed.
Although obstacles exist, they also help to weed out stores that probably shouldn’t be open in the first place. While some stores are hurt, I have some store owners who advantage of the situation and capture great market share.
Where do you see the self-service laundry industry headed in your particular market?
I work with many types of investors in diverse industries outside of the laundry business. We have done several laundry projects where there are auxiliary businesses attached, such as car washes, drycleaners, pet washes, tanning, coffee shops, etc. As I talk with most of these diversified investors, they share with me that their other businesses seem to have shrinking sales whereas the laundry business increases year after year. When these operators talk with me about their plans to expand or open up another business, they are overwhelmingly telling me that their next business will be “laundry only.”
I also see the laundry industry coming to the same conclusion that so many other businesses have – and that is that credit card acceptance is no longer just an option. Nine out of 10 of our new stores are card-only. An increasing amount of stores are opting to go with hybrid payment systems that can accept credit cards and quarters. Most of the stores we put in that have credit card acceptance see 25 percent of their sales come from credit cards alone. Credit card acceptance is just another convenience, along with large, high-performance equipment that the laundry user is demanding. I expect the trend will continue.
What’s the biggest reason for laundry owners to be optimistic in 2013?
The economy has been in decline. People, in general, have less money. Most laundries look tired. While many see “doom and gloom,” I see opportunity for the stores to shine that really do it right. As I was able to interact with more than 100 store operators at our Open House, I came away more optimistic than ever that, if the right formula is followed in the laundry industry, then success prevails. We are continually improving and tweaking our formula to help our customers succeed.
What are the keys to successful laundry ownership today? There are eight of them:
• You have to love what you do; otherwise, you will give up.
• You have to be proud of your store or make the changes necessary so that you can be proud of it. Once you are proud, you can then enjoy your business.
• You have to have a vision that guides your strategy.
• You have to understand your market so that you know how to best serve your customers.
• You have to know your competition. I feel many of our customers know their competition better than the competition knows itself.
• Be different, be the best, be consistent.
• Give your customers the value they expect and a little something extra.
• Treat your customer the way you would want to be treated.
Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/DISTRIBUTOR+SPOTLIGHT/1351483/151859/article.html.