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New Retail Center Offers One-Stop Pawn & Wash

August 2018  |  Download Case Study

A new retail center, in Green Bay, Wis., touts a side-by-side Express Laundry Center® and Fast-N-Easy Pawn shop. Owned by Steve Dietzen, the businesses are connected by an interior passthrough – encouraging customer crossflow and management ease. Developed with uniqueness in mind, the laundry was specifically branded and equipped to stand apart from the competition.

“It’s the area’s only laundry where customers can get in and out in 60 minutes; use large, 75-pound capacity washers; and pay using debit, credit, coins or loyalty cards with our FasCard system,” said Dietzen.

Meanwhile, Green Bay Express Laundry Center is constructed and equipped for energyefficiency, security and customer convenience.

Dietzen, who owns three Fast-N-Easy Pawn retail stores in Wisconsin, is a jack-of-all trades of sorts. He’s not only mastered the art of retail and online pawning, he’s owned and operated multiple shopping mall kiosks, as well. He’s even enjoyed a thriving business selling hand-painted, live hermit crabs.

So, why not laundry? Wanting to discover more about the industry, Dietzen contacted Dan Mielke, of Belson Co., a laundry equipment distributorship in Green Bay. That’s when he learned about the Express Laundry Center brand and concept.

“Express Laundry Centers are branded, turnkey laundries equipped to produce low utility costs and more profit potential,” said Mielke. ”The Express Laundry Center brand combines high-speed, highly efficient Continental Girbau laundry equipment with marketing and management support. It offers a structured framework that’s particularly good for investors who ultimately want to own multiple locations.”

And that’s exactly the case with Dietzen. Six months in, business is good. Green Bay Express Laundry Center enjoys monthly revenue growth between 10 and 25 percent. Attended most of the time, it’s open seven days a week from 6 a.m.–10 p.m., features flat-screen TVs, ample lounging furniture and free WIFI.

Meanwhile, utility costs are minimal – helping maintain low overhead costs.

ExpressWash® Washers

Green Bay Express Laundry Center is equipped with high-speed Continental ExpressWash® Washers and ExpressDry® Dryers. At 3,000 square feet, the store’s equipment mix includes 10 20-, eight 40- and four 60-pound capacity soft-mount ExpressWash Washers; four 75-pound capacity hard-mount PowerLoad Washers; and seven 45- and 10 30-pound capacity dual-pocket stack ExpressDry Dryers.

“The soft-mount washers offer higher performance than typical hard-mount washers,” said Dietzen. “My ExpressWash Washers spin at up to 400 G-force for greater moisture removal and shorter resulting dry times. Hard-mount washers are only capable of reaching spin speeds of about half of that.”

Thus, Green Bay Express Laundry stands apart. “We are the only laundry around allowing customers to complete laundry in less than an hour,” said Dietzen. “People rave about being in and out so quickly.”

“Our Drop & Shop service is a big time-saver for busy people,” maintains Tefft. “We do a person’s laundry just as they want it done. Each customer can specify if they want softeners or bleach, for example. We will handle each item with the greatest care.” And, for those who need drop-off drycleaning, Express Laundry Center fits the bill. The coin store partnered with popular Stannard Cleaners to provide convenient drop-off drycleaning service.

The laundry also offers the quick convenience of Load & Leave Service. “Customers can put their laundry in the washers and leave,” says Tefft. “We’ll complete it for them while they shop or run errands. We’ll remove customers’ laundry from the washer, put it in the dryer and fold it. Then we call our customers on their cell phones and let them know when their laundry is done.” Shoppers and errand runners appreciate the time savings that Load & Leave offers them, according to Tefft, “for a small service fee per load.” Gift certificates are available for Drop & Shop and Load & Leave services, she adds. “They make great gifts for loved ones who are always stuck doing laundry.”

Thus, because dryers operate less often, the laundry uses less natural gas and energy, which contributes to a smaller carbon footprint and reduced utility bill. Moreover, the washers are water-stingy. They feature a sump-less design, which saves up to three gallons of water per fill, and AquaFall and AquaMixer systems for quality results using less water. Lower utilities position the laundry for improved profits.

ProfitPlus® & FasCard

And so does the ProfitPlus® Control, according to Dietzen. It allows customers to add an “extra” WASH, RINSE, SPIN or SUPERWASH to a primary cycle option (HOT, WARM or COLD). Anytime an “extra” is selected, it adds 25 to 50 cents to each vend. Customers choose an “extra” most of the time, according to Dietzen. “Other brands don’t offer this flexibility,” he said.

Facilitating ease of management, the laundry’s FasCard system seamlessly communicates with the control, allowing Dietzen to quickly change vend prices and programs on multiple machines simultaneously. The FasCard system accepts credit/debit, physical and app loyalty cards along with coins. “All the other laundries in our area are strictly coin operated,” said Dietzen.

“I didn’t want to turn away customers, so I found a payment system that accepted all options.”

Additionally, with the FasCard app, customers can do everything from their smartphones, including creating accounts, adding value, managing loyalty cards, checking machine availability, requesting cycle completion notifications and starting machines.

Simplifying management, FasCard also allows remote management of employee schedules for multiple locations and the ability to track and run a variety of revenue and usage reports.

Dietzen, who uses these management features extensively, maintains the store’s 75-pound capacity washers are the most popular. ”I wish I had more of them,” he admits.

“Big families come in and throw everything in one load. They don’t separate it. They just want to get it done.”

Moving Forward with Growth Opportunities

With the self-service side of the business securely in hand, Dietzen has set his sights on launching full-service wash/dry/fold – and then ultimately – building more Express Laundry Centers. “Sixty to 70 percent of our business occurs on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I would like to make use of equipment during slower hours by providing wash/dry/fold.” In order to learn all he can, he’s scheduled for a wash/dry/fold training session at Continental’s Oshkosh, Wis., Express Laundry Center soon.

“I enjoy operating the laundry and can see it will be very lucrative,” said Dietzen. “When customers do laundry, I notice that they walk through to the pawn shop and look around, and vice versa,” he added. “The two businesses complement each other. I hope to open a few more Express Laundry Centers in the future.”

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