With strict water conservation efforts, severe drought conditions, and low water supplies, a person might think twice before opening a laundromat in Palmdale, CA, located in the Mojave Desert. However if you’re Sterling Phillips, a multi-store owner and SES Laundry distributor who knows a thing or two about saving money on utilities and achieving profitability, then by all means – what’s stopping you?
The Mojave Desert has met its match
In fact, Sterling thought the desert locale was the ideal choice for his next venture, Lucy’s Laundromat, for a number of reasons. “For starters the area is spread out and attracts customers far and wide,” he began. “I liked that the existing store was large, approximately 3,000-square feet, plus it had ample access to parking, and great visibility.”
He was also keenly aware that his competitors had smaller locations, older equipment, and much less parking. Based on all the facts and his industry experience, Sterling quickly surmised that the demographics were excellent and there was sufficient demand for a new and improved laundry in the marketplace.
Great business partners – who happen to be family
Sterling credits his father, Sterling Phillips Sr., for his chosen career path. “My father was a store owner before he became a distributor, launching Sterling Equipment Sales (SES) in 1988,” Sterling shared. “As kids, my brother, sister and I would visit laundries with our father where we learned the ropes. I worked for SES Laundry and managed the stores we owned all throughout high school and after graduating from college.”
Needless to say, Sterling has been involved in every aspect of the laundry business – from cleaning, maintenance, and management, to multi-store owner and developer. “It was a wonderful experience working side-by-side, learning from my father. Of course, my kids want to be doctors,” Sterling joked.
Today, Sterling still works with his family. “As the family business diversified throughout the years, my brother moved in the direction of managing our self-serve laundries, while I took on the SES distributorship,” Sterling explained.
As a world-class distributor for the Electrolux and Wascomat brands, SES Laundry focuses on store development and retooling equipment, which includes lease negotiations and design for new and experienced laundry owners. “We count on our sister as an investment partner. Our parents still work with us, but do a lot more traveling and are really enjoying life these days,” shared Sterling. “It’s no secret – I’ve got great business partners who happen to be my family.”
With his hands-on know-how and the innovative design and equipment resources of SES Laundry behind him, Sterling began the business of re-tooling the outdated laundry into a well-lit, wide-open space that offers a roomy folding area and a large mix of machines to appeal to every customer.
“The retool was easy,” stated Sterling. “All the utilities and carpentry were in place. We just needed to paint, fit LED lighting in the walls, and install a card system and, of course, get all new equipment.”
Sterling knew choosing the right equipment mix could make or break his desert store. He also knew that Electrolux Professional coin laundry equipment was specifically designed to dramatically save on water and energy while adding to his bottom line.
Electrolux – made for the Mojave and everywhere else
“There was no other equipment considered for this store,” said Sterling. “Electrolux Professional washers offer incredible custom programming, which gives me control over my utility consumption per wash, saving me up to 30 percent on water. The G-force extraction is very important to the customer and business owner, allowing for a much faster dry time, and, again, reducing energy consumption.”
What’s more, the Compass Pro feature gives Sterling the opportunity for higher revenue. For instance, he can offer his customers special wash cycles.
“Take comforters for example,” he explained. “Customers have the option of selecting ‘heavy soil’ or ‘extra rinse’ cycle. And customers like options – they will use them. They understand the benefit of using them, the added quality it brings to their laundry experience.”
Sterling’s customers are equally as pleased with the performance of the Electrolux dryers; he is especially pleased with the equipment’s low gas consumption. “Thanks to the reversing and EcoPower feature on the Electrolux dryers, the clothes are dried in much less time with great results,” he shared. “My customers love using the machines and I love how they consistently deliver an excellent performance.”
Lucy’s Laundromat patrons appreciate that they are in-and-out – fast. “About 45 minutes to an hour, tops,” said Sterling. “It’s because more water is removed from the garments during the wash cycle and our dryers work more efficiently, drying faster. You can count on Electrolux for speed. All the equipment is built to be super efficient.”
Lucy’s Laundromat – “the best wash in town”
From the moment Lucy’s Laundromat opens its doors, excitement was in the air. “The turnout was amazing, bigger than expected,” shared Sterling. “We did a mailer and door hanger with a coupon to redeem for a five dollar laundry card. We’re a card store, so the five dollar card could only be used at my business. Then the card, with our name and address on it, went right into their wallet, becoming the perfect reminder when laundry day rolled around once again.”
People were excited for a new laundry experience, one that offered a big beautiful space with the best equipment and service in town. There is no comparison. “Our customers say that our wash and dry performance is the fastest and best,” Sterling said with obvious pride. “They love that we offer more machines, more sizes, and more options.”
And because Lucy’s Laundromat is also a card store, the competition can’t offer what it can – namely bonuses, discounts, and promotions. “I’ll continue to do bonuses and discounts because I love reaching out to new customers,” said Sterling. “The five-dollar card giveaway was a big deal. People responded to that and told all their friends to come in.”
A Laundromat designed to fit everyone’s need
The desert may have its challenges, yet thanks to Sterling’s vast experience, Lucy’s Laundromat has been designed to be comfortable and appealing in spite of drastic weather changes or water restrictions.
Since opening its doors in March 2014, a loyal Lucy’s following continues to flourish. Sterling knows that out of all the transformations the store underwent, the most impactful upgrade has been the equipment.
“I receive so many compliments on the store – how airy, clean, and safe it is – but honestly the majority of the raves are about the Electrolux washers and dryers,” said Sterling. “Customers are amazed how nice their clothes feel and that they dry so fast.”
As a longtime Laundromat professional, Sterling knows the value of choosing the right equipment. “A huge part of our success is the standout performance of Electrolux. It’s what continues to keep my customers happy and satisfied – and sharing their experience with their friends. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s this: Your best advertisement is your customers, so treat them well. ”