Third-generation Catalina Island resident, Steve Hoefs, is a pillar of the community. In addition to serving as the island’s longtime fire chief (since retired), he has also served as town manager, and has owned and operated a popular local, arcade and restaurant for many years. He also now owns a thriving retail and commercial laundry business that gets accolades from customers.
Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Hoefs has always kept an eye out for the next exciting opportunity. A few years ago, one presented itself in the form of a 30-year-old, run-down laundromat. Vacated when a severe island water shortage crippled the business several years ago, the store had languished on the market with no takers in sight. After thinking about it for some time, Hoefs finally bit the bullet and bought the laundry.
Hoefs spent three months renovating the 1000 square foot space—which is located on the promenade level of the Hotel Metropole in Avalon, Catalina Island’s town center. He equipped the store with reliable, state-of-the-art Dexter Laundry equipment—with the help of Western State Design laundry expert, Michael Ambrose.
Fast forward to today: he has a thriving vended laundry operation that serves locals and visitors alike. Hoefs also provides commercial laundry service to two nearby hotels, a vacation rental property management company serving nearly 200 homes, as well as to students at the USC Research Center on the island.
An idyllic island with a year-round population of several thousand residents, Catalina is situated in an enviable location not far off the coast of southern California—but worlds away from its hustle and bustle. Not surprisingly, perhaps, almost a million visitors descend upon Catalina Island each year to experience its natural beauty and take advantage of its recreational opportunities.
In addition to being a go-to destination for locals, Hoefs’ laundromat is popular with the island’s large boating community, campers, and visiting cruise ship passengers. His customers particularly appreciate his store’s efficient, high capacity washers and dryers that allow them to do their laundry quickly and painlessly, taking a minimal amount of their time away from more interesting and important pursuits.
The Dexter Laundry equipment installed at Hoefs’ laundry includes the following:
For vended use:
- (6) Dexter T-300 20 lb. Washers
- (7) Dexter T-400 30 lb. Washers
- (2) Dexter T-600 40 lb. Washers
- (2) Dexter T-900 60 lb. Washers
- (9) Dexter T-30×2 Stack Dryers
- Dexter Live Networking
- CCI Fascard System
For commercial use:
After extensive research, Hoefs chose Dexter Laundry machines because of their stellar reputation for reliability—something that’s critically important on an island where it can be difficult to get timely repair service and replacement parts. His decisions about optimal equipment mix were informed by WSD’s Michael Ambrose who has many years of experience helping vended and commercial laundry operators develop successful businesses. Hoefs praised Ambrose’s service and attentiveness and explained that he enjoys his company so much he now counts him as a friend.
Avalon Laundry is fully attended by four dedicated employees who are overseen by ‘an incredible manager’ who also helps Hoefs with his arcade and restaurant.
Island paradise living is not without its challenges. Consider, for example, the aforementioned water shortage that incapacitated the previous laundromat. The island’s water needs are served by a main freshwater reservoir as well two desalination plants. In times of serious drought, such as the one that plagued California several years ago, freshwater supplies can’t keep up with demand, and conservation measures go into effect. Obviously, that creates problems for high volume, commercial water users, such as a laundromat. The good news is since the last drought, island water infrastructure improvements have been put in place. Those water saving improvements, along with Hoefs’ new high efficiency Dexter Laundry equipment, mean the chances are good his business will continue to thrive well into the far distant future.
Avalon Laundry is located at 225 Crescent Avenue on the promenade level of the Hotel Metropole and is open from 7am until 10pm.
For more information about Western State Design’s products and services, please contact us.