ALBANY, N.Y. — Whenever one builds a coin laundry, ease of use is always a primary goal. How far the owner goes in trying to reach that goal is another question.
Glenn and Alexander Kutikov, Albany Laundry Center, have made the effort, and their new store has plenty of customer amenities. The 5,100-square-foot laundry in Albany, N.Y., was built with the assistance of Tom McEwen Sr., the distributor.
When entering the laundry, customers might be surprised to see the spacious eight-foot aisles, unusual for a city store, McEwen says. There are also 15 folding tables, three seating units/tables and 15 single chairs. Two 27-inch televisions provide the entertainment.
Clean and bright is the interior theme, with white walls and white machines (some with stainless steel) dominating the look.
In an attempt to make the laundry as customer-friendly as possible, large and bold signage is used to direct customers to various areas.
“Machine sizes are both written out and pictured on the signs showing customers how many top-load washers it would take to equal the front-load washer,” McEwen says.
Customers may also notice the 13-inch square ceramic tile throughout the store. “It is a light granite with the same streaks of color used in the signs and furniture,” McEwen adds. “And it hides lint beautifully.”
As a special touch, on a large section of the wall, the owners’ nephew has created a custom mural showing the laundry in the center of a cartoon layout of Albany.
Putting together the equipment mix was a challenge. The Albany Laundry Center has 40 front loaders (24 20-pound washers, 10 40-pound washers and six 55-pound washers). The store has 12 30-pound stacked dryers and 15 75-pound dryers.
“To reduce confusion, only three washer sizes were used and two dryer sizes. Small washers are near small dryers and large washers near large dryers. Twenty extra-large carts fit any and all size loads.”
While the washer mix may not be all that uncommon, having a large amount of 75-pound dryers in one store is bound to raise a few eyebrows. McEwen lists four reasons for the dryer plan:
• The most popular dryers in coin laundries today are large units, mostly 50-pound units. However, there are never enough of these in laundries. Larger loads, comforters, sleeping bags and king/queen-size bedding (none of which can be washed at home) are all reasons for this trend.
• Many laundries have a drying bottleneck. Fifteen large dryers should eliminate this.
• There is expansion for more washers on existing bulkheads, but wall space for more dryers is limited. Any extra loads created by more washers can be absorbed by the large dryers. (Technically, 15 75-pound dryers have about the same capacity as 37 30-pound dryers, McEwen adds.)
• The 50- and 75-pound dryers used at the laundry have the same width so there is a 50 percent gain in drying capacity using the same amount of wall space, with a small sacrifice in depth behind the dryers.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Part of the plan was to also make the laundry owner-friendly. Features include:
• Huge automatic louvers open to feed generous make-up air to the dryers, which travels over the dryer tops and exhaust duct work (to help preheat the dryer air).
• All dryer exhaust is individual 10-inch duct rather than 8-inch duct to promote efficiency. Exhaust is through roof curbs.
• The 20-foot-high roof makes it possible to use the area above the suspended ceiling as an exhaust plenum. During hot weather, an exhaust fan draws hot air out through the eggcrate ceiling tiles. Fresh customer air is replaced from three 24-inch by 24-inch automatic louvers in the outside wall.