PlanetLaundry and Supplements Southeast Supplement Spring 2017 : Page 1

Supplement to the PlanetLaundry Magazine BUSINESS PROFILE BY STEVEN GOULD Spring 2017 | planetlaundry.com | coinlaundry.org Polishing a Diamond in the Rough Florida Dentist Turns Around a Struggling Laundry Business David McCreary is the owner of Sunshine Coin Laundry in Winter Park, Fla. And, like many others in the industry, the self-service laundry business was not his original vocation. In real life, he’s a dentist. “I've been in practice for more than 30 years,” David said. “I got started in the laundry industry in 2010.” In Florida, the law states that, if a dentist dies or becomes disabled, his or her spouse cannot maintain that dental practice. “I'm in a high-risk category for significant health issues,” David explained. “So, my wife and I decided that – to care of her and our two children – we needed a second, diverse income stream. My wife’s family has been in the coin laundry business in Detroit, so it was something we were comfortable doing.” David has the ability to see business potential. He said he can look at an operation and see what it can be – not just what it currently is. “I like to take a rough gem and polish it up,” he noted. “My history in dentistry also has been to buy dental offices that are diamonds in the rough and polish them up – and then, after a decade or so, sell the practice and move on to the next one. “Having done that over the years with a number of dental clinics, I thought I could do that with a coin laundry business as continued on page 3 ADVERTISERS Coin Laundry Insurance | 04, Commercial & Coin Laundry Equipment | 09, Laundry Owners Warehouse | 07, Laundrylux | Back Cover Setomatic | 06, Southeastern Laundry Equipment | Inside Front Cover, TLC Tri State Laundry Companies | 05 T&L Equipment | 11

Business Profile

Steven Gould

Polishing a Diamond in the Rough

Florida Dentist Turns Around a Struggling Laundry Business

David McCreary is the owner of Sunshine Coin Laundry in Winter Park, Fla. And, like many others in the industry, the self-service laundry business was not his original vocation.

In real life, he’s a dentist.

“I've been in practice for more than 30 years,” David said. “I got started in the laundry industry in 2010.”

In Florida, the law states that, if a dentist dies or becomes disabled, his or her spouse cannot maintain that dental practice.

“I'm in a high-risk category for significant health issues,” David explained. “So, my wife and I decided that – to care of her and our two children – we needed a second, diverse income stream. My wife’s family has been in the coin laundry business in Detroit, so it was something we were comfortable doing.”

David has the ability to see business potential. He said he can look at an operation and see what it can be – not just what it currently is.

“I like to take a rough gem and polish it up,” he noted. “My history in dentistry also has been to buy dental offices that are diamonds in the rough and polish them up – and then, after a decade or so, sell the practice and move on to the next one.

“Having done that over the years with a number of dental clinics, I thought I could do that with a coin laundry business as well. In 2010, we decided to pick up 4,200-square-foot Sunshine Coin Laundry. The owner, sadly, was going under – he was drowning in the depths of the recession. He had paid way too much for the business and was paying way too much in rent. So, before they threw us the keys, we negotiated a good purchase price and a good lease, and then took over.”

Although McCreary had been looking at other businesses, this particular one just seemed to fit well with his background and penchant for turning around struggling operations.

“The laundromat has been here for decades, and it seemed to me that it had a lot of potential,” David explained. “Because of my wife's family, we were familiar with the process, so we bought this distressed business, and over the years, it has continued to improve.”

After deciding that Sunshine Coin Laundry was the store from them, the process went along fairly smooth. Because David had a relationship with local lenders from his dental practice, it wasn’t difficult to secure the $300,000 investment needed – and the entire process took approximately 60 days, from decision to close.

Of course, as with any new business venture, there was a learning curve. However, since then, David has modified the laundry’s business plan.

“We are all coin, no cards,” he said. “The previous business owner had run it semi-attended, but we have made it fully attended. And, within in a couple of months, there was an increase in business. There also were some fundamental business basics that needed to be changed. For example, the restroom was out of order. In addition, the previous owner would refuse to talk to customers or offer refunds when a machine was jammed – he just put himself into a somewhat adversarial role with his client base. Since then, we’ve installed a nice restroom and hired people who are interested in taking care of our customers. And, over the years, the business has just grown.”

Sunshine Coin Laundry – which is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. – is located in a traditionally minority neighborhood, in a low-income section of the Orlando area. However, things are changing within that marketplace.

“This area is actually going through a renaissance,” David explained. “Directly across the street, the five-star statement for our laundromat, they are building a new university. It will be the new University of Central Florida, and there will be 7,700 students here by 2019. And what’s really neat is that our laundromat is the only piece of land in the area that isn’t owned by a governmental agency.”

In addition to the new university, the laundry is near a Home Depot, a Chinese restaurant and a pizza parlor.

David noted that he will be adding Wi-Fi access to his store to accommodate the soon-to-be-arriving college students. In addition, he has made this business stand out from the competition by getting involved with local charity events.

“There is a women’s shelter nearby, and we will do a day where the women can come in and do their laundry,” he said. “There also is a large homeless population here, and in conjunction with the local churches, we provide a wash day for them as well. And word gets around that we do this sort of thing. Most people in this community have been in that situation or know of somebody who has – so, providing this service has been a good thing for us and the community.”

Although Sunshine Coin Laundry doesn’t officially offer wash-dry-fold services, David allows his four part-time attendants to offer this service on their own if they choose to – and to use his store’s equipment to process the laundry.

The store doesn’t cater to commercial accounts either. “There has been a big push in the central Florida counties to come after businesses fairly hard on environmental impact issues, if they do commercial laundry,” David explained. “So, we stay away from that.”

In addition to Sunshine Coin Laundry, David is keeping busy with a new laundry he recently purchased in Casselberry, Fla., as well as taking on a new dental office. And, although nothing else is currently on the drawing board, the entrepreneur in David is always ready to make a move when an opportunity presents itself.

So, going forward, it seems there will be more chances for him to polish up other diamonds in the rough.

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

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/Business+Profile/2715677/385477/article.html.

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