PlanetLaundry and Supplements Northeast Supplement Fall 2016 : Page 1
Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine BUSINESS PROFILE BY STEVEN GOULD Fall 2016 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org In Business to Serve Others New York Couple Does Its Homework Before Taking Over Existing Laundromat Bob and Taryn Hill’s career backgrounds have taught them the importance of being prepared and educated with regard to new investments and opportunities. Bob is as a financial services professional, while Taryn is an elementary school teacher. Therefore, when the couple decided they wanted a small business of their own, they knew they needed to research the different types of ventures available to them – and then to fully educate themselves about those industries. “I knew that I wanted the opportunity to provide a service,” Bob explained. “And it had to be a business that I could understand. One of the ﬁrst businesses I looked at was the laundry business.” Having done their initial due diligence on all of their entrepreneurial options, the couple eventually determined that the self-service laundry business was the right one for them. ADVERTISERS AC Power, Inside Front Cover | Aristo Craft, 16 | Coin Laundry Insurance, 14 | Daniels Equipment, Back Cover | Eastern Laundry Systems, 13 Equipment Marketers, 17 | Empire Laundry, 12 | Gold Coin Laundry Equipment, 07 | HK Laundry Equipment, 05 | Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Company, Inc, 15 | Northeast Laundry Equipment, 19 | Setomatic, 14 | Summit Laundry Equipment, 09 | Super Laundry Ohio, 11 Yankee Equipment Systems, Inc, 06 continued on page 3
In Business to Serve Others<br /> <br /> New York Couple Does Its Homework Before Taking Over Existing Laundromat<br /> <br /> Bob and Taryn Hill’s career backgrounds have taught them the importance of being prepared and educated with regard to new investments and opportunities. Bob is as a financial services professional, while Taryn is an elementary school teacher.<br /> <br /> Therefore, when the couple decided they wanted a small business of their own, they knew they needed to research the different types of ventures available to them – and then to fully educate themselves about those industries.<br /> <br /> “I knew that I wanted the opportunity to provide a service,” Bob explained. “And it had to be a business that I could understand. One of the first businesses I looked at was the laundry business.”<br /> <br /> Having done their initial due diligence on all of their entrepreneurial options, the couple eventually determined that the self-service laundry business was the right one for them. From that point, they spent more than a year learning as much as they could about operating vended laundries.<br /> <br /> Today, Bob and Taryn are the owners of the Tumble n Dry laundromat in New Rochelle, N.Y. And a great deal of their business education was provided by the Coin Laundry Association, Bob noted.<br /> <br /> “Having access to the CLA’s webinars, audio files, articles and demographic reports provided me with the tools I needed to venture into a new business and know that someone had my back,” Bob said. “Early in our search, we found a laundromat that fit our demographic criteria and was the right price. However, after going through my due diligence with the owner and agreeing on a purchase price, something just didn’t feel right. I called the CLA and spoke with [Chief Operating Officer] Michael Sokolowski to share my concerns. Michael, not knowing my market and simply providing his experience and expertise, proved invaluable. In fact, that particular laundromat is still on the market today – and for a lot less than I was prepared to pay.”<br /> <br /> Armed with this new-found knowledge, Bob and Taryn began seriously looking for their ideal store.<br /> <br /> “We looked at a lot of laundromats for more than a year,” Bob said. “And, the minute we saw our store, we knew it was the right one for us. When it’s right, you just know it.”<br /> <br /> The year-long search led them to an existing 1,600-square-foot store. The couple changed the name to Tumble n Dry and reopened the doors to their first-ever business venture on December 28, 2015.<br /> <br /> Although the entire process of actually going into business for themselves may have taken more than a year, Bob explained that it went fairly smoothly.<br /> <br /> “There have been many surprises along the way,” Bob admitted. “However, the biggest surprise was realizing how important joining the CLA prior to purchasing my laundromat would be. I joined the CLA almost a year before purchasing my store and will say that I would not be where I am today had I not made that investment.”<br /> <br /> Tumble n Dry – which the Hills currently have on a 10-year lease with options available – is located in a strip mall. It’s situated in a corner storefront, just a couple of doors down from a local grocery store. All in all, the shopping center features nine other retail businesses, including a liquor store, a couple of restaurants, a florist and a stationary store. And, perhaps best of all, this bustling center features easy access and an abundance of available parking.<br /> <br /> The diversity of thriving businesses located in and around the shopping center guarantees that Tumble n Dry receives constant traffic past its doors and that the business is seen by variety of consumersand prospective customers. In addition, the store is located near many apartments, condominiums, singlefamily dwellings, and nursing and rehabilitation facilities. According to Bob Hill, many of his customers travel from other boroughs to make Tumble n Dry their laundromat of choice.<br /> <br /> Although there are two other vended laundries within a mile of the store, the Hills believe that they’ve differentiated their business from the competition, based on way their laundry is operated.<br /> <br /> “We believe that the only way to be successful in any community is to become a part of that community,” Bob explained. “Tumble n Dry treats its customers as though they were family. We offer community-minded social services and create an atmosphere that transcends the typical coin laundry. We are a customer-service-oriented business that just happens to provide laundry services.”<br /> <br /> To help further spread the word about their new laundromat, Bob and Taryn have been using the U.S. Postal Service’s direct mail service with a good deal of success. What’s more, the couple has created a rewards card program for their customers, and they have joined the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. They also said they are currently exploring a number of additional marketing and advertising opportunities.<br /> <br /> Tumble n Dry offers a wash-dry-fold service for $1.10 per pound, with a 12-pound minimum. The Hills also provide a comforter-cleaning service – with prices ranging from $30 for a California king-sized comforter to $20 for a twin comforter. In addition, they offer a pickup and delivery service priced at $1.35 per pound with a 10-cent discount for seniors.<br /> <br /> Bob and Taryn are currently marketing to local businesses as well, in an effort to aggressively build their commercial accounts service.<br /> <br /> For self-service customers, the store features an ATM and free Wi-Fi access. Also, there is a comfortable seating area, with children’s books, an array of potted plants and smooth jazz to add to the laundry’s relaxing atmosphere.<br /> <br /> Tumble n Dry is fully attended, with one full-time attendant and one part-time staffer. The store’s business hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with the last wash at 9:00 p.m.<br /> <br /> Bob said he feels his greatest business strength is in marketing and providing customer service – getting to know his customers, understanding their needs and then addressing them with the right mix of services and pricing. It’s certainly a strategy that should make for quality, long-term relationships and a successful laundry business for years to come.<br /> <br /> The couple admitted that they’d like to open one or two more self-service laundries in the coming years – and, clearly, their attention to the needs of their customers should go a long way toward making those future laundry operations a reality.<br /> <br /> Steven Gould is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area.<br />
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