Laundromat Insights Issue 2

But the touchscreen controls are more than just pretty to look at. The real-word cycle descriptions are delivering for the owners, with more customers selecting cycle modifiers – roughly 10 to 11 percent of the time. He also loves having the anti- wrinkle and reversing cycle modifiers on the dry side. And the convenience that Speed Queen Insights brings to the busy family’s life has definitely lived up to the hype, as he estimates he’s been able to manage through 90 percent of any customer issues from offsite.

both 80- and 100-pound washer- extractors for the first Fort Smith

location. Brad leveraged experience in suggesting the 80s would only cannibalize the 100s and it would make more sense to go with more 100s versus offering both capacities.

“I consider him a friend,” Aaron said of the great relationship he has with Brad.

Giving Back As you might expect from a family-run business truly committed to customers, giving back to the community is part of the WashRoom’s identity. The owners work with the local United Way to provide free laundry services for five families each month. Again, technology makes it easy. By leveraging the Speed Queen App, nobody in the store knows who the needy families are. Aaron sees every day how a business that treats those in the community like family, while helping those in need through laundry services makes a difference. He recounts the story of one student in the area who took their clothes to a car wash, because they didn’t have access to laundry equipment. So while some might say a laundromat can’t make a difference in the community and that “it’s just laundry,” Aaron knows, “it’s way more.”

“Daily and weekly, I know exactly what’s going on in the stores,” Aaron said.

Like Family Treating customers like family by giving them a clean, safe environment with pleasant, attentive staff, and partnering with family aren’t the only components to this story. The service he’s received from distribution representative Brad Harris from Laundry Solutions Company in Springfield, Mo. has been amazing. “He’s been invaluable. He’s always checking in,” Aaron said. “I can call him anytime and he always picks up.” In addition, having a representative who also owns a laundromat himself to bounce ideas off of has been beneficial. Like when Aaron was considering adding

A Team Effort While the phrase “treating customers like family” seems like a marketing cliché, you need only spend a bit of time with Aaron and his wife, Felicia, to learn, that while they may not use the phrase, their approach to business is based on it.

the family part of the business grew to make that happen.

“Three years in and we still hear customers say, ‘thank you for building this.’”

“It gets in your blood quickly,” Aaron said, adding that his dad’s approaching retirement made the timing even better. So, the couple took him on as a partner in store number two. “I couldn’t have done it without him.” This family business isn’t done yet. A third location is planned for Fort Smith, and, of course, they are raising the bar one more time with an 8,200-square-foot facility.

That’s why, in just a couple years, their 10-year expansion plans got fast tracked.

Aaron Helms - Owner of The WashRoom

“Support for the first store was great and it did so well,” Aaron said of how the laundromat took off almost immediately. Even today, they still hear comments from customers. “Three years in and we still hear customers say, ‘thank you for building this,’” Aaron said. So, little more than a year in, they pooled their learnings and added a second store in neighboring Fort Smith. Among the lessons they learned, bigger is better in terms of store size and capacity. Store number two came in at about 6,600 square feet of retail space (compared to 3,000 for the Van Buren store). Oh, and

Technology Makes A Difference

From the beginning, Aaron had made the decision that the WashRoom would leverage the latest in technology. Touchscreen controls, and the Speed Queen App would give the store that “wow factor” while Speed Queen Insights would streamline management. “Once you go Quantum Touch, there’s no need to do anything else,” Aaron said. “It looks amazing.”



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