PlanetLaundry and Supplements Southeast Supplement Fall 2014 : Page 1

Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine BUSINESS PROFILE STEVEN GOULD Fall 2014 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Cornering the Market ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ Masters Coin Laundry Business Near the southern portion of Alabama is the picturesque town of Greenville, known as the Camellia City for its beautiful flowers. In this small, historic town that exudes the charm and beauty of the Old South sits the Corner Wash House, which is owned and operated by Dennis Gibson. Along with the coin laundry, Gibson also runs a controlled burn company called Fireone and owns a working farm where he raises livestock. “Raising animals can be a lot of fun if you’re in to that kind of thing,” Dennis explained. “I’m into just about everything. By trade, I’m a mechanic, carpenter and a machinist – a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I’ve been in some kind of business for myself since 1976.” This included owning a motel and a tree planting business. Being involved in so many different types of businesses, Dennis wasn’t exactly looking for a coin laundry business. “I had a friend who owned a hardware store with a laundromat attached next door,” he explained. “He got aggravated with people tearing stuff up. One day, he came in ADVERTISERS Coin Laundry Association | 15, 19 Coin Laundry Insurance | 16 Commercial & Coin Laundry Equipment | 12 Electrolux | Inside Front Cover LaundryPro | 09 Pierce Commercial Laundry Dist | Back Cover Service Laundry Machinery | 13 Southeastern Laundry | 05 Southern Automatic Machinery | 17 Texas Laundry Services Co | 07 T&L Equipment | 11 Wholesale | 13 continued on page 3

BUSINESS PROFILE

Steven Gould


Cornering the Market
‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ Masters Coin Laundry Business

Near the southern portion of Alabama is the picturesque town of Greenville, known as the Camellia City for its beautiful flowers. In this small, historic town that exudes the charm and beauty of the Old South sits the Corner Wash House, which is owned and operated by Dennis Gibson.

Along with the coin laundry, Gibson also runs a controlled burn company called Fireone and owns a working farm where he raises livestock.

“Raising animals can be a lot of fun if you’re in to that kind of thing,” Dennis explained. “I’m into just about everything. By trade, I’m a mechanic, carpenter and a machinist – a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I’ve been in some kind of business for myself since 1976.”

This included owning a motel and a tree planting business. Being involved in so many different types of businesses, Dennis wasn’t exactly looking for a coin laundry business.

“I had a friend who owned a hardware store with a laundromat attached next door,” he explained. “He got aggravated with people tearing stuff up. One day, he came in and found that two of the machines were missing and water was shooting up through the ceiling. At that point, he decided to just shut it down and concentrate on the hardware store.

“He came to me and asked me to buy this building from him,” Dennis continued. “My wife thought it would be a good idea, so we made an arrangement to lease the building with an option to buy.”

Next, Dennis got in touch with Speed Queen and reequipped the store with all new equipment. It took about 30 days to get everything done, from the purchase agreement through the equipment upgrade – and the new and improved Corner Wash House was off and running.

“That first day, I think we took in about 30 dollars,” Dennis laughed.

Even with such an auspicious start, the self-service laundry business has been good to Gibson. So good, in fact, that he ended up buying his store’s other two competitors.

“There was another owner in town who operated two coin laundries, as well as a third laundry in a town about 20 miles away,” Dennis explained. “After I was open for about a year, he came to me and asked me to buy his two stores in town, which I ended up doing – along with upgrading their equipment. However, over the years, I closed them both and now pretty much all of the business comes to the Corner Wash House.”

Gibson’s 1,500-square-foot laundromat caters to a varied spectrum of clientele. About 70 percent of the business is African-American with the rest a mix of white and Hispanic, according to Dennis. And the customers range from farm workers and laborers to small-business owners and executives. There are single-family homes and farms, multi-family dwellings and, of course, some vacationers enjoying the beautiful surrounding area. Gibson added that there also is a trailer park nearby, which provides his laundry with as steady stream of customers.

Since there is not much in the way of competition in the immediate area, Dennis admitted that he doesn’t do much marketing or advertising, beyond the sign in front of his store. Of course, the store’s prime location has been a huge advantage – the Corner Wash House is located on a busy corner of Greenville’s downtown area, just a block from the court house and the center of business. What’s more, there is a small shopping center currently being built directly behind the laundromat.

Although the Corner Wash House doesn’t currently offer a wash-dry-fold service, Dennis noted that he has plans to expand the facility – at which point he will very likely consider adding a drop-off laundry service, which he would process himself.

The Corner Wash House is open 24 hours and completely unattended – although he and his wife are at the store regularly cleaning up and keeping the equipment running smoothly, while Gibson’s father-in-law handles the laundry’s collection duties.

All in all, Dennis explained that he tries to differentiate his coin laundry business from the other stores within the marketplace by offering his customers newer, functioning equipment in a neat and clean setting.

“My theory in this or any business I’ve ever had is to simply outclass the competition,” he explained. “To do that in the laundry business, you must have top-end equipment that works – and the store must be clean.”

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

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/BUSINESS+PROFILE/1799389/223516/article.html.

Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here