Currently, there are about 35,000 coin laundries in the United States, generating nearly $5 billion in gross revenue annually. This 70-year old business concept is especially popular in the country’s inner cities, but very few laundromats are owned by African American entrepreneurs.
#1 – S&R Laundry Services: Back in 2009, owners Simeon and Ruth Chance (originally from Guyana) came up with the idea for their company when their washing machine broke and they had to use a local laundromat. Soon after, they launched their very own pick-up and delivery laundry service in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Since then, they’ve opened their first storefront dry cleaner store.
#2 – Heavenly Washes Laundry Matt: (pictured above) Based in Winter Haven, Florida, CEO Shaterra Jordan came up with the business idea while sleeping in a dream when she was collecting unemployment from the field of her studies, nursing. She stepped out on faith with her 401k in hand and opened her first location in 2013. She opened her second location in 2015.
#3 – Laundry Cafe: Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this Black-owned laundromat is the creative vision of two humble individuals who grew up in the inner city and share the commitment of providing an upscale laundry experience to their customers in undeserved communities. They say that this allows them to reinvest in and uplift the communities they serve.
#4 – Kimbark Laundry & Dry Cleaning: In 2007, after selling some South Side apartment buildings they co-owned, Fylynne Crawford and her husband Darryl were shopping for a new business venture in the Chicago, Illinois area. Through a broker, they learned that Kimbark Coin Laundry was for sale, and so they bought it. They have since added a drop-off laundry service, a dry-cleaning service and a pick-up and delivery service.
A valuable Black history lesson
Although very few laundromats are Black-owned, according to MadameNoire.com, African Americans have always been leaders in the industry. In fact, what is now called “dry cleaning” is actually a process that was patented in 1821 by a Black entrepreneur/tailor from New York City named Thomas Jennings.
Back then, however, it was called “dry scouring”. He reportedly was the first Black man to ever receive a patent, and even more, he used his profits to help free slaves and end slavery in the Northeast.
For details on how to start a coin-operated laundromat, visit www.entrepreneur.com/article/190424