By Phyllis J. Nueberger staff reporter
There’s a game room, a pool table, five televisions and even a snack area to help customers pass the time while the wash is washing at Clean Street Laundry – a one of a kind, state of the art facility that recently opened at 3449 N. Federal Highway in Shoppers Haven Plaza, Pompano Beach.
Knowing that the average customer spends at least two hours in a laundry, I wanted to offer some fun and a lot of comfort to my customers,” says Bruno Charleux, owner of this new coin laundry that is probably the largest in South Florida with 125 washers and dryers. “My job is to offer customers a large, comfortable setting that is always attended and fully secured,” Charleux says with a smile.
“There’s no waiting here at Clean Street Laundry. We’re open from early morning until midnight, seven days a week. While the clothes are washing and drying, folks can pass the time in a variety of ways.” A stroll around this huge establishment is a visual treat too.
Street lamps separate the aisles of washers. Instead of street names the signs are laundry descriptions. Two large, colorful murals capture the eye. Created by the well known Las Olas Artist, James Kiselica, both feature easily recognized San Francisco trolleys chugging up famous steep hills. Of course the signs on the side of the trolley advertise the Clean Street Laundry.
A third piece of art is sure to give visitors pause. As they look at the large poster photograph of an old fashioned laundry. They are reminded that it’s a lot easier to do the wash now than it used to be.
It’s hard to believe that the owner of this sparkling new laundry spent the past twenty years as executive chef of the Café de Paris, the famous restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard.
Asked how this career switch came about, Charleux responds, “Well, I wanted to be on my own. This is much easier to run than a restaurant. Of course, I must admit I am putting in some pretty rough hours in the beginning, but it will work out.
And he has good reason to feel this new business will succeed!
Charleux credits Arthur Lapon, a laundry Consultant and President of ADL Consulting Services with not only, getting him into the business, but also helping him make the right decision with location, lease, design, construction and marketing. The entire concept was Lapon’s brainchild, and the customers love it.
Charleux recently sold a similar laundry in Mirimar. “Another ADL Consulting Services, Laundry concept, that was my first coin laundry venture and it became a very successful operation,” he explained. “I wanted this location which is excellent. “And I had excellent help from Arthur Lapon, the President of ADL Consulting Service who personally assisted me with the whole project from start to finish”.
“When you have good anchor stores like Wynn-Dixie, Walgreens and the like, you can count on good traffic. That’s all we need to succeed”
A very promotional business man, Charleux opened his doors with a “get acquainted special” which was a free wash for all a customer could carry.
“I really packed people in here and that was the whole idea. Although it cost me a lot of money, it did succeed in making a lot of customers aware of us and that’s what a new business must do. I wanted people to try us out fast and they did. Other promotions will follow.
Clean Street can accommodate commercial and residential needs with washer capacities of 12, 18, 35, and 50 pounds. the cost ranges from 75 cents to $3.50 for a 50 pound load. Dryers cost only 25 cents for 10 minutes.
Customers can do the laundry themselves or take advantage of the wash/dry and fold service. A drop off, dry cleaning service is still another customer convenience. “In the near future we may offer pick up and delivery of both dry cleaning and laundry,” Charleux says.
Business is off to a great start. Clean Street has a staff of five plus the owner and his wife Rica who handles the accounting end of the business.
Though Bruno Charleux who was also trained, by Arthur Lapon, says the skills needed are those of a business person. “One must offer a top level product in an attractive atmosphere and be able to relate to the customers who in this case are men and women of all ages, all races, and all cultures.”
Continuing he says, “I’m a people person. I get a kick out of watching people enjoy what we have to offer. A lot of folks go next store to the Chinese restaurant and bring the food back her to eat at our snack bar. The average customer has four to five loads of wash to do.”
“The biggest laundry to come in so far used 20 washers at once for about 500 pounds of clothing. It took the couple many trips to bring it all in.”
Will there be pool tournaments at Clean Street while the wash is washing? Will there be homework help for the kids, while the folks do the laundry?
“Anything is possible if it keeps the customers happy and business rolling in”, says Bruno Charleux with a grin.