PlanetLaundry and Supplements Midwest Supplement Spring 2015 : Page 1
Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine BUSINESS PROFILE STEVEN GOULD Spring 2015 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org ‘I’m Going to Do It Until I Can't Move Around Anymore’ Second-Generation Wisconsin Owner Carries on His Family’s Laundry/Drycleaning Legacy One might say that Paul Bohman learned the coin laundry and drycleaning business from the ground up. “My folks started the laundry in 1961,” Bohman said. “I helped carry blocks for the building when they were building it, and I’ve been around ever since.” During his career, he also sold cars for a local dealership, which only enhanced his customer service experience and emphasized to him the importance of staying face-to-face with the public. “I never totally left the laundry business,” he noted. “And I came back full time just before my family began to offer full-service drycleaning.” ADVERTISERS Coin Laundry Insurance | 10 Coin Laundry Association | 11, 15 Coin-O-Matic | Back Cover John Morris Equipment Co | 09 Eagle Star Equipment | 07 EJ Thomas | 15 Laundrylux | 02 Midwest Laundries | 05 continued on page 3
‘I’m Going to Do It Until I Can't Move Around Anymore’
Second-Generation Wisconsin Owner Carries on His Family’s Laundry/Drycleaning Legacy
One might say that Paul Bohman learned the coin laundry and drycleaning business from the ground up.
“My folks started the laundry in 1961,” Bohman said. “I helped carry blocks for the building when they were building it, and I’ve been around ever since.”
During his career, he also sold cars for a local dealership, which only enhanced his customer service experience and emphasized to him the importance of staying face-to-face with the public.
“I never totally left the laundry business,” he noted. “And I came back full time just before my family began to offer full-service drycleaning.”
Bohman’s 3,200-square-foot store – 5 Corners Laundry and Dry Cleaning – has been in the same location in Marshfield, Wis., since it first opened.
“My father originally ran a bar from 1949 to 1963, and then he started 5 Corners with a partner,” Bohman explained.
Of course, business partnerships don’t always work out, as was the case with Paul’s father, who eventually bought out his partner. At this point, Paul explained that he then had to make a big decision.
“When I was 17, I had to make up my mind as to whether I liked it or not – but honestly I always did.”
Paul, who admitted that he’s always been mechanically inclined, loved the challenge of working on the laundry equipment. Originally, the store featured coin-operated drycleaning on one side of the facility and self-service laundry on the other. However, in 1984, as the coin-op drycleaning business dwindled, 5 Corners launched a full-service drycleaning operation – and Paul stopped selling cars.
“One of the nice advantages to a coin laundry is flexibility,” he said. “Drycleaning ties you down; however, having grown up with it, I never gave it a second thought.”
Bohman was only 16 years old when his father built the store, so aside from carrying bricks and checking out all of the new machines, he said that he missed out on any of the dealings his dad had with the building contractor at the time – from Paul’s perspective, everything went smooth, and the location has always been perfect.
5 Corners Laundry and Dry Cleaning is surrounded by apartment complexes and just a few blocks away from a mobile home park. It’s an established residential marketplace, which serves a solid middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood, as well as customers in homes that don’t always necessarily have their own washers and dryers.
As Paul puts it, “There are a lot of Fords and Chevys on the coin laundry side, and some Cadillacs on the drycleaning side.”
5 Corners is located near one of the largest heavy-duty truck dealerships in the state, so a lot of the workers will come in, according to Bohman. The store’s surrounding area also features the usual fast-food restaurants, along with a furniture store and a competing drycleaner.
“I can see [the other drycleaner’s] front door from my front door,” Bohman said. “I also can see another laundry.”
In fact, there are five competitors in Paul’s immediate area, he admitted.
However, despite the competition, Bohman said that he doesn’t feel the need to do a lot of advertising. He does run some ads in local vehicles such as church bulletins, and he’s also quick to sponsor area events. But 5 Corners has a solid reputation after 50 years in the community, Paul pointed out.
He added that, if he were younger, making payments and supporting a growing family, he probably would do more marketing and promotion. Then again, it’s not like Bohman is just sitting back and resting on his reputation. He keeps his laundry equipment clean, up to date and in working order. Paul also is a stickler for maintaining the building as well – recently installing new porcelain floors and a security camera systems, along with new windows and doors… and, in general, keeping the store looking and feeling modern and fresh.
Although 5 Corners Laundry and Dry Cleaning doesn’t necessarily offer wash-dry-fold services, Bohman said he does some bedspreads and other linens on a per-piece basis. He also has some smaller commercial accounts, such as a local dance studio and some church groups, which have their choir gowns washed at the store. But Paul pointed out that larger commercial accounts simply don’t fit his business model.
The self-service laundry segment of 5 Corners’ business is open 24 hours, while the drycleaning service is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Bohman employs three part-time attendants. In addition, his store features one combo vending machine – which dispenses snacks, soda, gum and coffee – as well as two televisions.
“5 Corners is a clean, pleasant and quiet place to do your laundry or drop off your drycleaning,” Bohman said. “I just really like operating this business, and I'm going to do it until I can't move around anymore. It's better than sitting around the house waiting for ‘The Price Is Right’ to come on.”
Steven Gould is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area.
Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/Business+Profile/1960846/251050/article.html.