Clean 2017 was one of the best ever, according to multiple attendees and exhibitors. There was much to see and plenty of laundry industry insiders to connect with. Here are 5 of the top takeaways from the show.
1. This is not the retail laundry industry your parents used to know
This isn’t the laundry industry your parents knew decades ago. Today’s industry is a technology driven, customer focused, high performing system. These are exciting times for the commercial laundry and garment care industry. One sign is the recent Clean Show in Las Vegas. Clean 2017 was hailed as a resounding success in terms of attendance and the number of vendors exhibiting. For the past few years, there has been a shift underway. The industry has been focused on being more than just a basic commodity for consumers. An increase in services, technology and convenience has helped elevate stores, machinery, payment options and the general approach to doing business.
2. Buying an old Laundromat and Retooling is the hot new trend
“Zombiemats” may be the new term for old, run-down laundromats but they have been around for a long time. More than just prime for being fixed, old laundries are presenting prime investment opportunities for investors.
Laundry industry entrepreneurs are seeking to invest in the purchase of older laundromats and then retooling them. The benefits of retooling and rehabbing these stores are becoming obvious as more retools are done: increased revenues and decreased utility expenses.
Read more about ZombieMats here
3. Everybody Wants to be an Elite Operator
The single store owner is looking at buying another store. The multi-store owner is looking at adding more services at their stores. Operators are working hard to build laundry business that are highly efficient and profitable. They are building strong brands and differentiating their stores within the market. By offering customers a higher level of service, many laundry owners are joing the ranks of the best operators across the country. These elite operators positioning their business as integral members of their communities and giving back in a variety of ways. Some host free wash events in conjunction with LaundryCares, other organizations or independently. Others host holiday dinners, food drives and other charitable events. In each case, their stores are the center of activity.
4. Convenience is king
Faster wash times. On-demand laundry services. Multiple ways to pay for laundry. Customers want to get stuff done as quickly as possible and with the greatest ease. The best operators focus on making laundry a breeze for their customers. At the Clean Show, vendors showcased their latest products and services aimed at allowing operators to make the laundry experience more convenient for customers.
5. The Industry Has Plenty of Resources for Owners and Potential New Investors
Whatever role you play in the commercial laundry industry – long-time coin laundromat owner, equipment distributor or a potential new investor – there are a plethora of good information sources from which you can benefit. The Coin Laundry Association offers white papers, local meetings, new investor seminars, articles and even a forum for members on its website. Equipment distributors are also a source of expertise for many business owners. All these resources are available in some form, to you. Join the CLA, connect with other industry members and gain access to a wealth of information that can help you become a better operator.