State-of-the-art Snohomish Laundry recently opened in the downtown historic district of Snohomish, Washington, garnering high praise from local customers. This brand new laundromat is actually the reincarnation of a laundry of the same name previously located in Snohomish Square on Avenue D for the past eight years. The original store became so popular it outgrew its space. Thus, it was relocated to a building offering more than double the space, a little over a mile away, allowing for additional amenities to provide an even better customer experience. This is how to run a laundromat.
Centrally located within walking distance to shopping and restaurants, and across from City Hall, Snohomish Laundry has a striking storefront that beckons passers-by to stop in and take a closer look. The interior is equally distinctive with clean, contemporary lines and decor, including granite countertops, upholstered chairs, elegant light fixtures, a high open ceiling and warmly burnished floor, as well as neat rows of modern stainless steel commercial laundry machines. If the designers wanted customers to feel like they were walking into a chic, local cafe rather than a laundromat, they succeeded.
Snohomish Laundry is one of two top-rated laundromats owned by Jay, Scott and Tod Johnson, along with Bobbi Jo Trim—all family members—the other being Monroe Laundry, 8 miles away. (Tod Johnson owns a third distinctive laundry, Tolt Laundry Company, in Carnation, Washington, 18 miles from Monroe.) Award-winning Monroe Laundry Company boasts a similar design, so it would appear they’re on to a good thing. The design was originally created by distinguished local architect, Alan Wittenbaugh, and updated most recently by another family member, Dale McLam. His work exemplifies Snohomish Laundry’s mission statement: “Our customers deserve a clean, safe, comfortable environment!”
The family members each bring a different skillset to the table, undoubtedly contributing to their laundromats’ success. Jay, who says he’s retired, has a background in operations, marketing and retail. Tod used to own a commercial construction company, an industry in which his son, Scott, honed his construction skills as a project manager. Tod’s daughter, Bobbi Jo, has a background in office management and bookkeeping and is the Operations Manager for both Snohomish Laundry and Monroe Laundry.
“I’m constantly amazed by my business partners,” said Jay Johnson. “I’m incredibly lucky to be able to work with such talented people and that we actually like each other,” he continued.
Not only have the owners benefited from collaboration within their talented family, they have also benefited from the expertise of commercial laundry distributor, Western State Design (WSD). Over the years, starting with Tolt Laundry, the Johnson brothers have worked closely with WSD’s local Laundry Specialist—currently Rick Hall— to determine the best mix of laundry equipment, among other key considerations.
Clearly, this is not a dreary, old-style laundromat. Not only is it a clean, safe and eminently comfortable environment, the store offers many amenities aimed at making it as conveniently functional as possible for customers. For example, there is an attendant on duty every day from 9am-6pm to provide help when needed. It also offers a Wash ‘n Fold Service, 2 flat screen TV’s including free digital service, Free Wi-Fi along with an Internet Station with USB ports and phone charging. There is also a comfortable play area for children, an ATM, and vending machines offering name brand laundry products, in addition to food and snacks, including Starbucks packaged drinks.
Like their Monroe location, Snohomish Laundry is completely coinless. All commercial washers and dryers are activated using the original Dexter Easy Card System, which functions similarly to a debit card. Customers purchase an Easy Card by inserting cash ($1-$20 bills) into the dispensing machine. Customers then use their card to activate a washer or dryer, the cost of which gets deducted from the card’s remaining balance. When the balance becomes too low to activate a laundry machine, the customer simply returns to the Easy Card Center to reload it.
The Easy Card system has several advantages over cash. For starters, coins don’t get stuck in the laundry machines, putting them out of commission temporarily. In addition, customers can benefit from Snohomish Laundry’s “Frequent Dryer Miles” program which allows them to earn credits toward discounts and free services. Card customers can also benefit from seasonal and weekly specials that are automatically programmed into the washers and dryers. Finally, a customer’s Easy Card provides access to the locked restrooms on premise, which helps ensure their safety and cleanliness.
Dexter Commercial Laundry Equipment
A beautiful store with amenities and value-added services wouldn’t be enough to entice customers to return week after week, if there weren’t high quality, user friendly commercial laundry machines that work. The 5000 sq. ft. spacious interior—perhaps the biggest laundromat in the state—provides plenty of space for the latest top-rated Dexter Laundry Equipment. WSD-supplied Dexter laundry machines are not only attractive, easy to use, and durable over the long run, they are also energy efficient. Obviously important for the environment, energy efficient laundry machines also allow coin op owner-operators to save on utility costs which directly affects the bottom line.
Tod Johnson originally decided upon Dexter Laundry equipment after doing a tremendous amount of research in preparation for opening Tolt Laundry in 2007. The equipment worked out so well, the family team installed it in their other two laundromats as well, a few years later.
“At this point, Dexter Laundry equipment has become part of our DNA,” quipped Jay Johnson. “Dexter is like the Cadillac or Caterpillar of the commercial laundry industry,” he continued. “It’s outstanding equipment that is well worth the price. It’s not only reliable, it is durable and is very user-friendly,” he added. “We’re able to optimize our use and maintenance of the equipment by regularly attending WSD’s Dexter Service Seminars,” he finished.
Following is a list of the Commercial Laundry Equipment in Snohomish Laundry:
- (10) Dexter T-300 20 lb. Washers
- (10) Dexter T-400 30 lb. Washers
- (6) Dexter T-650 40 lb. Express Washers
- (5) Dexter T-950 60 lb. Express Washers
- (4) Dexter T-1450 90 lb. Express Washers
- (3) Dexter T-80 80 lb. Dryers
- (7) Dexter T-30×2 30 lb. Stack Dryers
- (5) Dexter T-50×2 50 lb. Stack Dryers
- (3) Dexter T-50×2 50 lb. Stack Dryers with Reversing Cylinder
- (2) AO Smith 100 Gallon Water Heaters
- (2) Easy Card Dispensers
- (1) ATM
- (1) American Bill-to-Bill Breaker
- (2) Vend-Rite Soap Vending Units (8 column)
- (1) Jofemar Multiseller Soap Vending Unit
Fluff and Fold Service
- (1) Dexter T-650 40 lb. Washer
- (2) Dexter T-450 30 lb. Washers
- (2) Dexter T-30×2 30 lb. Dryers
This is How to Run a Laundromat
Upon entering Snohomish Laundry, it becomes clear the owners paid close attention to details during design and construction of the space. For starters, though it is a big space in reality, it was designed to feel open, airy, and even more spacious than it is, making it a pleasant change from many older laundromats. The seating is arranged such that there are quiet areas away from the TVs for those who might be trying to sit quietly or get some work done while they wait for their laundry. And the TVs were set up with speakers in the ceiling pointed down at the nearby seats so that the sound wouldn’t blare throughout the laundromat. Corrugated steel wall surfaces also diffract sound from bouncing, reducing noise clutter and obviously holding up better to wear and tear.
Managing potential problems during those hours when the laundromat is unattended is always a challenge, but the owners addressed the issue with the careful design of a 23 HD camera video system with audio public address capability. Every inch of the public area has video/audio coverage, incuding the parking lot. Technology is everywhere. Automatic Entry doors are programmed to unlock the facility at 7am (2 hours before an employee arrives) and lock down the facility after 10pm.
Another nice detail is the arrangement of folding tables and carts. The first thing to notice is the carts aren’t scattered all around and in the way! They fit neatly under the folding tables which were modified by Tod in his garage because they couldn’t find any that were just the right height for their purposes in the commercial marketplace. The folding tables were fabricated with hanging racks, enabling the removal of the racks on the carts which allows them to be easily stowed away while not in use.
“When you have been in the laundromat business for eight years, you see all the mistakes you would like to correct when you have the chance,” Jay Johnson explained. “Scott pushed, pulled, and shoe-horned an incredible level of detail into the finished product,” he added. “I guess we succeeded, because within two weeks of opening our new store, our volume of customers is back up to what it was in the old space and continues to grow,” he exclaimed.
One reason there was only a very brief lag in business while Snohomish Laundry shut down for the move is because, once again, they sweat the details. As early as six months before the move, they started letting their customers know what was going on. Even after they shut the doors at the old store and moved the equipment out, they had employees remain on premise to inform any customers who happened by what was going on. As a consolation, the employees also handed out coupons for discounted wash at Monroe Laundry, 8 miles away. The coupons had a map showing the location of the new store on the reverse side.
About Snohomish Laundry
Snohomish Laundry is a new full service laundromat located at 121 Glen Avenue, centrally located in downtown Snohomish with plenty of on premise parking. Featuring a beautiful, modern interior with state-of-the-art laundry machines and a host of other amenities, it is a clean, comfortable space to spend the time while you do your laundry. You might never want to leave.