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Meet Tyler and Jim Blair of The Washboard Laundry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler and Jim Blair.

Tyler and Jim, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After professionally succumbing to the Mortgage Industry (getting laid-off) in 2009, I needed to do something. Finding a job was difficult so I thought I would buy one in the form of a business.

After doing about a year of research, I honed in on the Laundry industry. My research showed me there was room for improvement in an industry that had changed little. I pitched my ideas to my Dad (investor) and away we went.

After months of looking for a laundry for sale all over the country, I found the Washboard Laundry for sale on Craigslist back.

I remember driving to the store, after closing at Escrow with the keys, being so nervous. Ending up having to drive around the block a few times to collect myself. That was on April 28, 2010.

The plan was to buy a non-performing business, apply some new ideas, take some risks and see what happened.

After almost a year of remodeling, the public devoured our ideas and concepts. Our laundry was staffed, clean, had free wi-fi, free coffee (on weekend) house plants, current magazines and was comfortable. We also had a website and were active on Facebook. Both were unheard of in the laundry industry back in 2010.

On a side note, there was a little website that just launched where customers could write reviews and leave comments and such (Yelp!). Once the word got out about us, the growth never really stowed.

Our retail business grew very quickly, with stable, loyal customers. We were very happy.

Every so often people would ask if we had drop off service. Since we were so focused on customer service, we would oblige. We ended up having to develop this service from scratch. My business plan accounted for no income from this segment since the recession was just starting to slow and we thought there were would be little discressionary income for this type of service. Boy were we wrong!

After a few years of double digit growth in both our residential and commercial account, we realized that we better take a real look at the service side of the business. We marketed this well on Facebook and were gaining 5* reviews, maintaining our #1 rank on the popular review site.

The service side grew and grew. The accounts were getting larger and larger. Government agencies were calling and we were driving all over San Diego county picking up laundry (we still are). We were essentially a Retail business doing the service on the side.

In the fall of 2016, we remodeled the store and removed the Retail and focus 100% on Laundry Service.

We are now in the process of revamping our Website to show a more current look for our service.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Ask any Small Business Owner if it is a smooth road and they will tell you not really.

You are the Marketing Department, the Labor, the Tech Support, The HR and most importantly – the Salesman for your business.

Chances are you are not a genius at all of these and you need to be. So yes, there is a lot of learning to do.

How to manage labor. How to manage costs. How to manage Receivables. How to manage Customer Service. How to Market your Business. How to manage Financial Stress

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Washboard Laundry – what should we know?
The Washboard Laundry is a family owned business, operating in San Diego since 2010. We specialize in Small Business laundry needs ranging from sheets and towels, clothes, blankets, to table cloths.

I am most proud of our ability to change. We remained flexible and followed the High Margin growth. We pioneered marketing for our industry. Store owners from around the country call us and ask our opinions on things, and that is very flattering.

What sets us apart from others, we are a family. We take care of each other. We define Small Business. Our crew (employees) have been with us from early stages (6 year Avg), so I am proud of them for sticking with us.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Daring to be different.

In all the research (over 60 laundries), I noticed a pattern.

All I had to do was make a list of what all the other laundry owners were doing and make sure we did not do any of it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tyler Blair
Jim Blair
Debby Flores
Nikkia Smith
Ashantti La Hori
Jim Schneider
Paul Russo

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