Southern California born and bred, Chad Caldwell has had an interesting and varied professional life, with past stints as a ski patroller, a logger, a server/bartender, and a solar salesperson. In the past several years, he has achieved success as a commercial real estate agent, which provided the opportunity to invest in a piece of prime real estate in Ventura.
Caldwell bought a building in an older section of town, near a busy intersection on North Ventura Avenue which houses a newly constructed 7-Eleven in its front half. As he pondered what to do with the 4000+ square foot back-half, he spent some time researching various types of retail businesses, eventually deciding upon a laundromat. He thought a laundromat would be a good idea given that the densely populated neighborhood includes many older residential apartment buildings that are lacking modern laundry facilities.
Though there are several other laundromats in the area, they are run down and not very welcoming with outdated, inefficient laundry equipment. These days, Caldwell figured, consumers expect their local laundromat to be clean, bright, and safe, with modern, high capacity laundry machines and other amenities that allow them to do their laundry quickly and in first class comfort.
To get up to speed on the coin laundry business, Caldwell attended the Excellence in Laundry Conference in Ojai and joined the southern California chapter of the Coin Laundry Association (SoCalCLA). At one of the monthly SoCalCLA meetings he met Michael Ambrose, a coin laundry expert with leading commercial laundry equipment supplier, Western State Design. Ambrose sold Caldwell on the benefits of installing top-rated Dexter Laundry commercial washers and dryers in his laundromat. Ambrose, who has many years of experience helping coin laundry operators successfully launch their businesses, was also instrumental in helping Caldwell decide on the equipment mix for his store.
With Ambrose’s guidance, Caldwell chose to install a number of high capacity (‘jumbo’) Dexter commercial washers and dryers to: a) serve the large families that reside in the area and b) maximize his revenue per square foot. In particular, he focused on having enough drying capacity to keep up with the washers to avoid potential bottlenecks for his customers. The goal was to enable customers to get in and get out quickly without having to wait.
Olas’ Dexter Laundry machines include:
- (6) Dexter T-350 Express Washers
- (11) Dexter T-450 Express Washers
- (10) Dexter T-650 Express Washers
- (10) Dexter T-950 Express Washers
- (6) Dexter T-1450 Express Washers
- (2) Dexter T-450 Stack Washer/Dryers Express for Fluff n Fold
- (13) Dexter T-50×2 Stack Dryers
- (6) Dexter T-30×2 Stack Dryers
- (6) Dexter C-Series 80 lb. Dryers
- DexterLive Laundry Networking
Caldwell’s bright, airy, new laundromat, called Olas Express Laundromat—Olas means waves in Spanish, something near and dear to this surfer’s heart—opened in late 2018 to overwhelmingly positive feedback. Judging from the early reviews on social media, Olas Express Laundromat is a big hit with local customers who rave about how special it is, particularly the customer service. Other high points are the cleanliness, the decor and the comfy kids’ corner stocked with books in both English and Spanish.
When asked if he was daunted by the prospect of successfully managing a brand new venture, Caldwell explained that he came from a long line of retail entrepreneurs who owned and managed gas stations and truck stops throughout southern California. He is an avowed people-person and understands the importance of meeting customers’ needs. Caldwell is running the laundromat with help from full-time attendants.
Olas Express Laundromat & Wash and Fold is located at 505 N. Ventura Ave., Unit B, in Ventura, CA 93001, (805) 507-5175. Operating hours are 6am – 10pm. The machines accept both coin and cards. Fluff & Fold service is available. There is also free Wi-Fi, numerous folding tables and plenty of convenient free parking. And if you work up a thirst doing your wash, there’s a reverse osmosis, purified water dispenser on site!
For additional information or to talk to a Laundry Equipment Specialist about opening or upgrading your own laundry business, please contact a Western State Design vended laundry expert..