CHICAGO — While the Grand Prize Winner of American Coin-Op’s 2009 Coin-Op Beautiful competition is Highway Laundromat in Long Beach, Calif., (see last week’s story here), four other stores won honorable mentions in the contest.
Located in a strip mall several blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, Coastline Laundry in Neptune, N.J., has all of its walls covered with hand-painted murals of various beach, ocean and sky scenes. Two artists worked for almost a month to complete the amazing look.
There are a variety of customer amenities, such as an automatic door, a lounge area, a coffee station, candy crane and basketball game. In the rear of the store, there are tables with umbrellas where customers can eat, drink and do homework, or just watch the 60-inch, big-screen TV.
The 5,000-square-foot, seven-year-old store, with ceiling-to-floor glass, has 52 front loaders (including four 75-pound machines) and 52 dryer pockets (including four 75-pound machines). Spacious parking is also available.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION LAUNDROMAT
The Grand Central Station Laundromat in Augusta, Ga., is located on the site of a former gas station. Some of the history is still intact — the locals say people gathered at the location and talked all day, says Ben Barton, the owner. Barton says his customers even like the fact that the business still resembles a gas station.
This 3,900-square-foot store opened in 2008. The inside walls are red with black trim, and the exposed ceilings are painted gray. There is ample lighting; 8-foot fluorescents light the back half of the building and high bay lights illuminate the front.
Customers enjoy two 52-inch LCD and three 42-inch flat-panel TVs and plenty of seating.
SOAP CITY LAUNDROMAT
Soap City Laundromat in Paterson, N.J., is located across the street from the high school featured in the movie “Lean on Me,” and formerly housed owner Ralph Carbonell’s family hardware business.
There were some architectural challenges with the old building, as it was more than 100 years old. With some creative work, Carbonell was able to keep the four walls and redo the rest of the structure.
The 5,000-square-foot store stresses the basics — it’s clean and focused on customer service, says Carbonell. Interior highlights include a bright color scheme, plenty of folding space and a circular lighting “dome.”
(See Carbonell talk about his store at IPSO's website here.)
SUPER SPIN COIN LAUNDRY
Vibrant and cool colors give the Super Spin Coin Laundry in Gretna, La., an aesthetically pleasing look. The exterior features decorative construction block and a red corrugated steel roof. The signage is lit well, and the store anchors a brand new shopping center.
The 3,750-square-foot laundry is a year old and features 44 front loaders ranging in size from 18 to 50 pounds. The 44 dryer pockets include four 75-pound machines. The color scheme and all-stainless-steel machines, in addition to the light tile floors, create a clean and open look.
A lounge area and flat-screen TVs give customers an added level of comfort and entertainment while they wait for their laundry, Thu Ly, the owner, says.
American Coin-Op’s Coin-Op Beautiful competition focuses on the interior layout as well as the exterior layout. The color schemes, amenities, and any other unusual features play a role in the judging. We also reward operator ingenuity. Operators sometimes have to work around design issues and a variety of business obstacles to produce a first-rate store.
American Coin-Op thanks all the operators, distributors and manufacturers for continuing to make this annual feature a memorable part of our editorial offerings. We know how difficult it is to put together an entry during the busy holiday period.