PlanetLaundry and Supplements Southeast Supplement Spring 2014 : Page 1

Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine B USINESS PROFILE S TEV EN G OU L D Spring 2014 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Investing for the Future Georgia Family Sees Coin Laundry Business as an Ideal Addition to Its Nest Egg A coin laundry can be a great family business investment. You can work together, control your hours, teach values and work ethics, and decide how big you want to grow as you learn the business. These are just some of the attributes that attracted Bo and Brandy McKenzie to the business. Both Bo and Brandy are educators, having earned degrees in administration and leadership. Bo has been involved in teaching for 21 years and Brandy for 17. They had never owned a business before, but knew a coin laundry was what they wanted. It took three years of searching and a few deals falling through, but the McKenzies finally found what they were looking for in Rome, GA. They opened 1,100-square-foot BBM Coin Laundry in November 2007. The “BBM” comes from the first letter of the owners’ first names, as well as their son, Mason. “One of the things we liked about a self-service laundry was that it allows us to continue in our full-time jobs without having to spend all day at our business,” Bo explained. “The BBM Coin Laundry is unattended, but we have great security cameras. We also felt it was a great way to teach our son not only hard work and responsibility, but how hard work and ADVERTISERS CLEC | 03 Coin Laundry Insurance | 09 Laundrylux | Inside Front Cover Statewide | 07 T&L Equipment Sales Company Inc | 05 Wholesale Commercial Laundry | 11 continued on page 3

BUSINESS PROFILE

Steven Gould


Investing for the Future

Georgia Family Sees Coin Laundry Business as an Ideal Addition to Its Nest Egg

A coin laundry can be a great family business investment. You can work together, control your hours, teach values and work ethics, and decide how big you want to grow as you learn the business.

These are just some of the attributes that attracted Bo and Brandy McKenzie to the business. Both Bo and Brandy are educators, having earned degrees in administration and leadership. Bo has been involved in teaching for 21 years and Brandy for 17. They had never owned a business before, but knew a coin laundry was what they wanted.

It took three years of searching and a few deals falling through, but the McKenzies finally found what they were looking for in Rome, GA. They opened 1,100-square-foot BBM Coin Laundry in November 2007. The “BBM” comes from the first letter of the owners’ first names, as well as their son, Mason.

“One of the things we liked about a self-service laundry was that it allows us to continue in our full-time jobs without having to spend all day at our business,” Bo explained. “The BBM Coin Laundry is unattended, but we have great security cameras. We also felt it was a great way to teach our son not only hard work and responsibility, but how hard work and responsibility create better opportunities for him and us. It’s been a win-win for the whole family.”

Bo first became interested in owning a coin laundry through a fellow teacher. That person couldn’t follow through on the idea, but Bo’s family still thought it would be a good investment.

“With our retirement investments not doing as well as we anticipated, we thought it would be a great investment to offset any losses we may take when we retire,” Bo said. “My parents also were very supportive of our decision to open the business. They provided us with the initial down payment to start the build out.”

The McKenzies purchased an existing store that had not been given the attention that it needed.

“The machines and business just weren’t up to standard, and we felt that this community deserved a high-quality, clean laundromat,” Bo said. “It is also conveniently located on the same road I take to my full time job.”

He explained that the process went smoothly.

“We purchased the building, stripped it down to the bear floor and installed all new equipment, except for four used dryers,” Bo noted. “Every year since we opened, we have replaced an old dryer with a new one, so everything in the store now was purchased brand new. We also have replaced a few topload washers with a 60-pound washer and replaced our single-hopper changer with a dual-hopper changer.

“In all, we have invested more than $200,000. It took us about two and half months to get everything stripped away, new machines purchased, store built out and ready to open. It helped that it was an existing laundromat. The build out was great. The inspections went well. The bar was set high when we opened this location. The snags would come later.”

The first snag came after about a year in business. “The single-hopper changer went down, and we were unable to give change,” Bo explained. “Luckily, my Aunt Ann was able to stay at the store during the school day and give out change for us until the changer was repaired. That’s when we removed the single hopper unit and purchased a dual hopper unit. We have had one hopper fail, but now the other one allows us to keep our business running.

“Our other snag was a backup of water in the machines after three years in business. I called a plumber, who ran his clean out line as far as it would go and got everything cleaned out – or so we thought. A year later, the problem occurred again… only worse. This time the plumber wasn’t able to get it totally fixed. When he went outside digging, he found a lint trap, which was a big surprise.”

Bo tracked down the original owner, and he didn’t even know it had a lint trap.

“He just paid to have the store built,” Bo explained, “but didn’t know it had a lint trap. We ended up replacing the entire plumbing all the way to the road. Now, we have a clean lint trap with easy access and shouldn’t have this problem ever again. I do wish I had installed a six-inch drain instead of four-inch one.”

BBM Coin Laundry is located in a very diverse area. It is close to downtown with a great mix of rental property, apartment complexes and single-home dwellings. There are a number of customers who walk to the laundromat.

“People from all walks of life have utilized our laundromat,” Bo said.

There is the YMCA nearby and a few strip centers within walking distance, as well as a number of restaurants in the area.

Along with these businesses, there also are nine competitors in town. Bo said BBM tries to separate itself from the other laundries by standing behind his products and services.

“The customer is always right,” he said. “If our machines didn’t perform up to the customer’s needs, then a full refund is given. I will mail – and have even personally delivered – refunds to patrons’ homes. We feel strongly about building and keeping great relationships with our customers.”

The McKenzies utilize online advertising as much as possible and also have passed out flyers within their market. However, for Bo’s money, the best advertising is still word of mouth.

BBM Coin Laundry is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. As an unattended store, it doesn’t offer wash-dry-fold services or seek out commercial accounts; however, some local businesses regularly use the store for their laundry needs.

“There is a local drycleaner that uses our facility to clean firefighter uniforms,” Bo said. “We also have an art studio and a few hair salons that will wash and dry their towels with us. And other smaller drycleaners will use our large-capacity washers from time to time for large comforters.”

Bo and Brandy have come to enjoy being in the coin laundry business and can certainly envision growing the operation.

“We would like to acquire other stores in the future as we get closer to retirement,” Bo said. “My wife and I love getting to know our customers. We always want to make customers feel welcomed and pleased with the service. We try to provide a clean, safe environment with great working machines to meet every customer’s laundry needs.”

Steven Gould is a freelance business writer based in the Chicago area.

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/BUSINESS+PROFILE/1639524/198134/article.html.

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