What would make someone decide to enter the uber-competitive southern California retail laundry business? The answer in Parto Famouri’s case is a desire to capitalize on a great location — and a calculation that he could develop a coin operated laundry that would offer a superior experience compared to the competition.
Famouri, who has had a long career in commercial real estate, learned of the existence of an older, run-down laundromat at 271 S. Tustin Street in Orange, CA through a professional acquaintance. He had already been thinking about investing in the laundromat business based on a friend’s success operating a vended laundry in Illinois.
Location, Location, Location
The laundromat was in a favorable location — in a busy shopping center at the south end of Tustin Street, a densely populated residential area. However, the store was in bad shape: it was dark, dirty and contained many old commercial washers and dryers that weren’t in working order. Clearly, it had been mismanaged for some time by the previous owner. Famouri said, at first glance, it presented a daunting challenge.
Develop a Competitive Advantage
After extensively researching the location and the competition, however, Famouri decided it was a good opportunity for investment. Not only is it in a busy location within walking distance to a number of residential apartments, nearby residents must pass right by it on their way to competitive laundromats in the area. They can’t miss his laundry, especially since it’s a couple of doors down from La Bodega, a local retail hotspot.
Famouri’s research revealed another important point: none of the nearby laundromats featured high capacity commercial washers and dryers that are so popular with the large families that tend to patronize local vended laundries. These six- and nine-load machines not only speed up the laundry process, they accommodate bulky items, like quilts and other bedding.
Choose the Best Equipment and Supplier: Dexter Laundry & Western State Design
While doing his research, Famouri learned that Dexter Laundry was the gold standard in coin operated commercial laundry equipment. He was pleased to be acquiring a lot of older Dexter washers in good working order as part of his purchase. Given the obvious durability and reliability of the older machines, he decided to replace most of the other equipment with Dexter machines.
“I researched several manufacturers’ commercial laundry equipment, but ultimately decided to invest in Dexter Laundry washers and dryers because it’s clear they hold up and perform well over time,” said Famouri.
The new commercial laundry equipment includes the following:
- (2) Dexter T-1450 Express 90 lb. Washers
- (2) Dexter T-950 Express 60 lb. Washers
- (3) Dexter T-650 Express 40 lb. Washers
- (4) Dexter T-50×2 Stack Dryers
- New rear-load change machines & bill breaker
Famouri’s decision to go with Dexter led him to Steve Erlinger who represents leading commercial laundry equipment distributor, Western State Design, in Orange County and adjoining area. Steve Erlinger has worked in the southern California vended laundry industry for a long time and knows the market better than just about anyone. Working with an expert from a long-established, respected supplier enables new laundry operators like Famouri to avoid common pitfalls and get up to speed more quickly than trying to figure it all out on their own.
Clean, Bright, Safe, and More
Famouri spent six weeks from the time he closed escrow renovating the store, installing new walls, ceilings, and bulkheads freshly painted in bright colors. He installed new lighting and ceiling fans, along with a new swamp cooler air conditioning system. He also installed folding tables, a picnic table, new seating, TV’s, free Wi-Fi and vending machines. There is also a new computer work area with a USB charging station. The renovated store is clean, bright, safe and then some. It’s quite unlike what had been there before and began attracting new customers even before construction was complete.
Famouri plans to hire an attendant and offer fluff and fold service before too long. In the meantime, he’s spending a lot of time at the new store, providing customers with a level of attention and service they’re not accustomed to. He admits that while his is not the cheapest laundry in the immediate area, it offers a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere along with a superior wash and dry experience. Famouri understands that he can’t compete on price in his crowded marketplace, but he can stand out in terms of service and laundry outcome.
Despite the store’s history, he is confident that word about his new and improved store will get out quickly. To help promote the store, he has hung some promotional banners out front. He also offers a Free Dry special Tuesdays through Thursdays.
“I’ve owned and operated several businesses in the past, though this is my first laundromat. So far, the business seems very promising, but I’m sure it won’t be without its challenges,” concluded Famouri.
Double Bubble Laundromat
271 S. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92866
Open 7 days/week: 7am-9pm (closes at 7pm on Fridays)
To learn how Western State Design can help make your laundromat business stand out in a crowded marketplace, please contact one of our laundry experts.