131. Run a Professional Unattended Laundromat Portfolio with Brian and Melissa Rheaume

We are excited to bring you the latest episode of the Laundromat Resource Podcast, where we dive deep into the world of running a professional unattended laundromat portfolio. Host Jordan Berry is joined by Brian and Melissa Rheaume, industry experts who share invaluable insights and strategies for success.

In this episode, Brian and Melissa stress the importance of taking action and encourage listeners to visit laundromatresource.com/forums for additional support and accountability. They emphasize the power of telling your story and getting others to buy into it. A compelling story gives you a competitive advantage in a crowded market where savvy investors and business owners are vying for success.

The episode highlights the significance of providing an exceptional customer experience to stay ahead of the competition. Brian and Melissa emphasize how top-notch laundromats have an edge and how this advantage will become even more crucial as more competitors enter the market. They firmly believe that having a captivating story differentiates a business from those who rely solely on promotions.

Watch The Podcast Here

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Episode Transcript

Brian Rheaume [00:00:00]:

Hey. Hey.

Jordan Berry [00:00:00]:

What’s up, guys? It’s Jordan with the laundromat Resource Podcast. This is show 131, and back on the show is powerhouse couple, Brian and Melissa Ram today, and they bring it, and they bring it hard today. There’s so much good stuff. And, you know, I know we’ve been talking a lot about pickup and delivery lately in the service side of the business. And, Brian and Melissa have a self serve portfolio, and they are running it like pros and they tell you exactly how they’re doing it. This is like a super good super good episode, and they were excited to share. They actually reached out and was like, hey. We need to come back on because we’ve got some great stuff to share, and they delivered.

Jordan Berry [00:00:43]:

So I’m super excited about this interview for you and for me and for them and for all of us. Real quick, I wanted to just you know, if we have a Fastlane tip for you, it’s this. We have finally joined the world of AI over here. And one thing piece of feedback that I get all the time, especially from people who are brand new to the community. By the way, welcome. Glad you’re here if that is you. One piece of feedback we get is that there’s just so much information, through the laundromat resource on all the different platforms, the podcast, the YouTube, the blog, the forums, yada yada yada, like, on and on and on. There’s just so much information.

Jordan Berry [00:01:23]:

And I’ve been trying to figure out how do I best make it most accessible. So we’re, like, tweaking things. We’re always trying to improve, so always open to feedback, on that. But one thing that we are doing and have done now, very excited about, is that with the pro community, you get access to our new AI tool that is trained specifically on all the information, from all our podcasts, from from all the YouTube videos that we’ve done, from all the q and a’s, from all the webinars, from a lot of coaching calls that I’ve done, and, the forms, like and and more. And so so much good information is there, and now you can interact with it in a way that will make it helpful. So for example, you could say, hey. You know, tell me, you know, the best marketing plan for my laundromat or, you know, whatever it is that you need. This AI chatbot is super cool.

Jordan Berry [00:02:23]:

I’m, like, super excited about it. For myself, I’ve already been using it to help me, organize information and stuff like that. And and, you know, if you’re someone who’s searching for information, specific questions about laundromats and stuff, Chances are pretty good that we have covered it at some point in time over the last few years of all this information, and so that AI chatbot can help you find it and organize it in a way that’s useful. So, that is available already to the pro community. People have been trying it out, and, helping improve it and and helping us train it. You know, it takes time for it to kinda learn, all the stuff and how to interact, but it is already pretty cool. So if you’re interested in that, check out laundrometresource.com/pro. You get access to that chatbot opportunity to join a mastermind group.

Jordan Berry [00:03:15]:

You get access to industry discounts and on and on and on, including just being a part of that, super positive, super helpful, super encouraging community that we got over there. A lot of really great stuff. So alumni resource.com/pro, and, that should help you out over there. Alright. Without further ado, let’s jump into it with Brian and Melissa and talk professional self serve laundromat portfolios. Ryan and Melissa, you guys are back. You know what? First of all, it’s been too long. So I’m glad you’re here.

Jordan Berry [00:03:47]:

How you guys doing?

Melissa Rheaume [00:03:48]:

We’re doing well.

Brian Rheaume [00:03:49]:

Doing good. I mean, this Podcast has made us famous, so you gotta come back for more.

Jordan Berry [00:03:55]:

That is that’s the goal, right, to make this sing like crack. So you gotta come back

Brian Rheaume [00:04:00]:

and get

Jordan Berry [00:04:00]:

your next hit, of of fame here. So you got you’re going for your 30 minutes of fame now.

Brian Rheaume [00:04:06]:


Jordan Berry [00:04:06]:

Which I love. No. Seriously, though, super good to have you guys back. I remember, our first interview. And, you know, you guys talk about how you were listening to the podcast driving around looking for laundromats and stuff. And, it’s I know you guys have had a lot going on over there, so, I’m excited to hear about what you guys have been up to the last couple years. But just in case well, first of all, if you haven’t listened to their 1st interview, you’ve gotta go listen to it. It’s episode 44, which you can find at laudamentresource.com/show44 or on the podcast players and YouTube and all that stuff too.

Jordan Berry [00:04:43]:

So go listen to that too. But just in case anybody Did not follow instructions and and go went and listened to that one first. Can you give us just a quick little background on you guys and how you got in the industry? Go for

Melissa Rheaume [00:04:56]:

it. We got into the industry. Brian was working and he wanted to retire, and it was a quick Google search on my part and I found a store for sale in our hometown. We went and looked at it and we were like, alright. Yeah. We can do this. We bought that 1st store and then a short time later, we bought 2 more so that he could ultimately leave his current Job that he had.

Brian Rheaume [00:05:21]:

After we said, okay. This could work. I think we could do this. We’ve got 1 just to make sure.

Jordan Berry [00:05:26]:

Yeah. Okay.

Brian Rheaume [00:05:27]:

Dip our toe in.

Jordan Berry [00:05:28]:

That’s right. Yeah. You don’t wanna jump full and get the tip. Well, how long was it? Remind me. How long was it between that first one and your next couple?

Melissa Rheaume [00:05:35]:

I think it was, like, 2 yeah. It wasn’t very long.

Brian Rheaume [00:05:37]:

4 months.

Jordan Berry [00:05:39]:

Okay. So you you did get 1 toe in the walker.

Brian Rheaume [00:05:42]:

Got 1 toe and then you put

Jordan Berry [00:05:42]:

a few can and bolt. Right.

Melissa Rheaume [00:05:44]:

We did. We did. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:05:46]:

Okay. Awesome. Well, what was it just out of curiosity, like, what was it about that first one that made you think, okay. Let’s Let’s get a couple more.

Melissa Rheaume [00:05:56]:

I don’t even know. I just maybe I was overly confident and didn’t really

Jordan Berry [00:06:00]:

That’s what I like to

Melissa Rheaume [00:06:01]:

Well, I think a lot

Brian Rheaume [00:06:02]:

of people, like, get to that 90% mark, and then they then they pull back, and they get scared. You know? And we were kinda like, are we gonna do this? Because if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. So we did it.

Jordan Berry [00:06:14]:

Speaking my language right now.

Brian Rheaume [00:06:15]:

Right. So

Jordan Berry [00:06:16]:

To my wife’s chagrin, by the way. Yeah. Okay. So you guys cannonball into, your, you know, your 3 stores. You had the opportunity popped up. Well, tell us about that opportunity real quick. It was,

Brian Rheaume [00:06:29]:

So there was 2 stores that it it’s it was rare for stores in our area to come up. There wasn’t a lot of stores, and there also just wasn’t a lot on the market back then, because it was Just a lot of mom and pop small run stores. So these other 2 came up. So we took advantage of them pretty quickly, because I wanted to get to the point where this is our full time job. So and we needed to have more than 1 store to make that happen. So these other 2 came up. 1 was a little further out than we wanted to. It’s like an hour away from us.

Brian Rheaume [00:06:59]:

But we took it, and we’re we’re glad that we did, because the story has been phenomenal for us. And then I left my full time career, And here we are. So we’re 6 years into it. 6 stores later, and, you know, we’re rocking and rolling. So Just taking that dive. You know? If you if you have those those doubts in your because if you have doubts in your mind, everybody does before they make a big commitment.

Jordan Berry [00:07:21]:

You know?

Brian Rheaume [00:07:22]:

But you gotta believe in yourself. Make sure you do your homework and do it correctly and and go for it. So

Jordan Berry [00:07:28]:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I love that. And, you know, one of the things that I been saying lately is that, you know, 1 to 1 to 3 laundromats is really all it takes to replace most people’s income to where you can have sort of that freedom to, You know, jump in if you wanna jump in. And so for you, it was 3, and then you took the leap out of the job, or did you get another 1 or 2 before that.

Brian Rheaume [00:07:52]:

No. I left with a 3, and then we expanded to 5 Okay. Pretty quickly after that.

Melissa Rheaume [00:07:57]:

And then we sold one.

Brian Rheaume [00:07:59]:

So I don’t know if the sold 1, built an and then we built our our latest store about a year and a half ago, and that was our 1st new builds. All the other stores were either in place, and lacking a lot of things that we we upgraded, both from an equipment and customer service, and experience side. So we did a lot of retooling and then but this new one is was all brand new. It was our 1st brand new store from the ground up, which we can talk about because it was it was definitely a fun experience.

Jordan Berry [00:08:32]:

Yeah. We’re definitely gonna have to dig into what it was like building, basically from white box. Right? There was no infrastructure in there before, so we’ll have to We’ll have to dig into that. But before we do, let’s, let’s keep rolling with with the story here. So you quit your job, And after you quit your job is when you purchased a couple more. I think a lot of people get scared of, like, man, if I quit my job, How am I gonna be able to continue to expand, in in the my business. Right? And either purchasing more laundromats or whatever that looks like for them. How did you guys expand after you had quit your job?

Melissa Rheaume [00:09:15]:

Well So I guess at that point, getting into laundromat business wasn’t really as popular.

Brian Rheaume [00:09:22]:

Even back 5 or 6 years ago as it is today.

Melissa Rheaume [00:09:24]:

So when you bought a store, you weren’t paying nearly what you’re paying now. So with Home equity loans and savings. We were able to have the capital to do what we did.

Brian Rheaume [00:09:38]:

And a little luck too. We went and looked at a store. It was, like, 30 miles from us. And then on the way back, she’s like, hey. Let’s go the scenic route. So we had the Laundromat Resource Podcast on our radio, and we take the scenic route home. And lo and behold, we never even knew that this laundromat was existed. It was closed for a year and a half.

Brian Rheaume [00:09:56]:

We’re like, oh my god. You should be a laundromat. We should go you know, we should meet the landlord. So I looked up the land records and found out who the owner was of the property and Established relationship with him and and, like, 3 weeks later, we signed a lease and we fully renovated that store, and it’s one of my favorite stores. It’s it’s It’s very It’s a small it’s our smallest store, but it’s in a great little area and it runs. And it’s it’s you just get on, I guess it’s dumb luck. Some of it’s dumb luck. You know, some of it’s just I don’t know.

Brian Rheaume [00:10:25]:

It it’s maybe your podcast let us there. I don’t know.

Jordan Berry [00:10:28]:

Yeah. I’m gonna have to go ahead and take Take credit. At least some partial credit for that one, there. So

Brian Rheaume [00:10:34]:

I like to see that we wore the same shirt today

Jordan Berry [00:10:36]:

I was gonna say, we we’re kinda all matching here.

Brian Rheaume [00:10:40]:

I No problem, man.

Jordan Berry [00:10:42]:

I love what we got going on here. Way to coordinate, all of us. Okay. So well, you know, it’s interesting because, I mean, yes, there probably is some luck. Right? But it’s that whole, like, you know, yellow car thing or Volvo thing or right? Like, you you say, like, oh, I never see yellow cars, and all of a sudden, you see yellow cars everywhere. Right? Like, when you start, you know, honing in on something. You start seeing things that most people don’t see. Right? And I think it’s one of the benefits of immersing yourself in whatever it is that you’re you’re doing, whatever it is that you’re trying to build, figuring out how to immerse yourself in you know, More specifically, what that looks like is listening to more podcast episodes.

Brian Rheaume [00:11:23]:

Right. Exactly. Here. Right.

Jordan Berry [00:11:25]:

But, no. But, you know, genuinely, like, being around people who are doing the same types of things, have the same types of mindsets, you know, and and just kind of letting letting that stuff just soak into you, and then all of a sudden, you start seeing opportunities that other people, not only don’t they see, they they can’t See those opportunities because they don’t know what that opportunity looks like and what the potential is. So, obviously, yes, there was Probably some luck in there that you just happened upon this thing, but you guys were prepared for it. Right? You were ready for it at that point, and so it was right time, right place, right people, to make an awesome little laundromat.

Brian Rheaume [00:12:04]:


Jordan Berry [00:12:05]:

That’s cruising. So

Brian Rheaume [00:12:06]:


Jordan Berry [00:12:07]:

Hope that’d be a listen to everybody out there. Listen to more a lot of my resource podcast.

Brian Rheaume [00:12:11]:

That’s right. See? Yes. Education for the brain. So we we’ve got that store. We built the whole the whole, infrastructure and equipment. And then our 5th store was one that was

Melissa Rheaume [00:12:24]:

Well, we went that you start Yeah. So we went to look at a store in this town, and it just didn’t pan out. The guy wanted way too much money for it. And Just structurally, it wasn’t gonna work out to put the equipment that we wanted in that store. So when we left, we went the opposite direction, and we drove by another closed down laundromat. And Brian sent the landlord a letter he sent.

Brian Rheaume [00:12:50]:

I find them. I look them up on land records. I I I went to the broker that had a couple of spaces that were open in the plaza. I eventually found the owner of the plaza and the owner of the laundromat and And sent them a bunch of letters expressing interest and got it. So That it’s a it’s a good sized store. It’s our 2nd largest store, and it was a true definition of a zombie mat. It was 2 2 lights working in the ceiling.

Melissa Rheaume [00:13:23]:

Fan hanging down.

Brian Rheaume [00:13:24]:

Fan ceiling fan hanging down from the ceiling. 75% of the washers are out of service. Same thing with dryers, 70 at least 75% of the dryers. I mean, it was just your true definition. But to to me, it was like, oh, this is an awesome opportunity for us. Like, this is this is I can envision this. You know? I can I see what what we can do with this and And, we’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that location and turned it around pretty quickly? And it’s a soft mount store, And customers do like the soft mount equipment. That’s for sure.

Brian Rheaume [00:13:58]:

So we got a really good What do you

Jordan Berry [00:14:00]:

really like about it?

Brian Rheaume [00:14:03]:

You can definitely set yourself apart with it. But it’s not just having the machines there and letting the customers figure it out. It’s telling a story on why these machines are so good. Watch the spin cycle. It’s 4 times faster than, you know, the competition. So we we we we not only have the equipment in the stores, but we also tell the story behind the equipment through our signage, and And we we we try to educate customers as to why there’s a better value here than there is somewhere else. And with soft mount, it’s it’s, you know, 20 minute dry time. So that’s a pretty pretty good story to tell that you can wash and dry in 45 to 50 minutes at that store.

Brian Rheaume [00:14:48]:


Jordan Berry [00:14:48]:

Yeah. In and out in an hour. I love it.

Brian Rheaume [00:14:51]:

Yep. Yep.

Jordan Berry [00:14:51]:

I love it. Are all of your stores soft mount? Or

Brian Rheaume [00:14:55]:

half and half. So k. Our brand new one is all soft mount. Our our big washers there have the The, chemical injection. So we inject hide and downy, into every load on the the big monster machines. We weren’t sure how it was gonna work out. We’re kinda like, I don’t know if customers are gonna like that. You know? People like to have their own soap, And, it’s turned out really well.

Brian Rheaume [00:15:20]:

Customers really really do like having that option. So the new store is all continental soft now. We have a really good distributor, great sales guy, for that, for that line. And then the other half of our stores are Dexter, hard mounts, and Dexter’s are tanks. They don’t break. So it really depends on the competitive situation for us, which line we use. You know? The The the Dexter chassis are a little smaller. So if you’re you know, the the continentals, they take up a big footprint.

Brian Rheaume [00:15:52]:

I mean, the the 9 load washer is Oh, it’s over 6 feet tall, and and and it’s super wide. So depending on space space and budget and competitive situation. I mean, we have Just reasoning for using hardbound for a soft mount. So

Jordan Berry [00:16:09]:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. I mean, that’s something I think Doesn’t get into enough is, like, you know, the the whole hard mount, soft mount. How do you know which machines to go with and which ones to choose? I appreciate you sharing some of the, some of the criteria there. Okay. So, that was your 5th one. Right? Real real quick.

Jordan Berry [00:16:28]:

I mean, That one was shut down, or it was just kinda limping along?

Melissa Rheaume [00:16:33]:

She was going through a family situation, and she was Open one day a week and then not open. And

Brian Rheaume [00:16:41]:

Okay. It was limping along. It was on life support.

Jordan Berry [00:16:45]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So how do you guys come in and say, okay. We find this one that shut down. We’re gonna take it over and just kill it. Find this one that’s barely I mean, literally, that’s like a that’s like a literal definition of a zombie mat. Right? Like, it’s still upright, but

Melissa Rheaume [00:17:00]:

It was sideways.

Brian Rheaume [00:17:01]:

Just bear with me.

Jordan Berry [00:17:02]:

Yeah. It’s like good grief. But how do you take these situations and say, okay. These could be good moneymakers for us. I mean, that’s a a question I get all the time is how do I know if I can make money? Like, somebody’s obviously already failed at both of these locations. So how do you know that you can succeed at one of these laundromats?

Melissa Rheaume [00:17:25]:

Well, they both were successful at one time. The last one we talked about was a laundromat for a very long time, and it was successful before she took it over. We talked to a distributor, and he had, you know, kinda told us what we thought that

Brian Rheaume [00:17:43]:

Yeah. Gave us a history of it. He built it originally, and So he knew a lot of the history about it. We didn’t do demographics. We didn’t do any of that stuff. We’re from the area. You drive the area. You look at your competition.

Brian Rheaume [00:17:56]:

You get a gut on whether or not you know, we it it wasn’t our 1st store, so we knew going in what the risk was, and we also knew what the reward was. So if you look at the percentage of renters just by driving around, renters, multifamily homes, apartments, things like that, and competitively. Okay. You know, you look at those 2 things. Does it feel alright? Is the price right? Yeah. Alright. Let’s do it. I mean, we are in a better position.

Brian Rheaume [00:18:23]:

If it was our 1st store, obviously, probably wouldn’t be that quick because it was a pretty quick turnaround. It it was probably, like, 2 to 3 weeks when we first Established, connection with the owner, that we ended up closing on it. So, you know, it was it was fast. So then we’ll go in and and we looked at all the equipment and we ended up keeping because some of it was soft mount stuff that had very few turns on it. So it was in actually decent shape that just needed a little bit of love. So that’s what we went in and did. I’m I mean, it was Right right during COVID, we we went in and Melissa Melissa’s the painter, so she painted all the walls. And I’m the repair guy, so I went in and assessed what each machine needed.

Brian Rheaume [00:19:09]:

We ended up tossing some machines, keeping some, and then and then buying, you know, a 9 9 load machine, couple of forties, like, just to fill in where we thought size wise and and, what we needed for that store. And, you know, it’s it’s turned out to be a a good good store. But it’s a good store for a lot of reasons, not just because, you know, it’s Nice washers and dryers in it, and we try to just complement the customer experience with great amenities, comfortable seating, bright lighting, The the feeling of being safe. I mean, all of those basic principles of successful laundromats. Put those all in play and see See what happens. So that’s been almost 3 years since we won the Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:19:54]:

Okay. So, Awesome. And, I mean, I do wanna kinda I mean, you guys are running you you guys kinda have an interesting thing going, because your laundromats and we’re gonna talk about the build here in a second, but your laundrom are all of your laundromats unattended?

Brian Rheaume [00:20:12]:

Except for 1. 1 is not. And that’s the outlier of our family of laundromats. It’s an hour away. That one’s fully attended. It’s in inner city, so, we do watch Trifold there. The other 4 right now are All within probably, what, 10 to 15 miles of each other?

Melissa Rheaume [00:20:32]:


Brian Rheaume [00:20:33]:

Yeah. So they’re pretty close to each other, and we market them together, as a brand, those are all self serve unattended.

Jordan Berry [00:20:42]:

Okay. So you have this unique business model where you have all these unattended laundromats, but you’re you’ve got you’ve sort of professionalized them. And I I I’m I’m hoping that you guys will share with us a little bit. Like, what does that mean to professionalize an unattended laundromat? Because, you know, we kinda talked about this offline before, but, you know, the what’s interesting about our industry right now is that There are more and more savvy investors and business owners coming in. Competition is raising right now. And, you know, one one thing that I see happen a lot is these owners who aren’t really taking care of their laundromats, their laundromats zombie mats or borderline zombie mats are you know, they’re getting pushed around by people who are coming in and

Brian Rheaume [00:21:44]:

sort of running these professional businesses. But what does, like, a a professional unattended laundromat

Jordan Berry [00:21:44]:

kinda look like, and how are you guys running those businesses, to make them so, you know, profitable and prosperous.

Melissa Rheaume [00:21:51]:

Do you wanna talk about, like, the phone service

Brian Rheaume [00:21:54]:

Yeah. So when you go into our stores, you know, between all of our stores right now, I think I have 1 dryer down, as of this morning, that I’m waiting for a part 4. So when you walk into our stores, all the equipment’s working. They’re nice and bright. They’re clean. They are unattended, but they’re virtually attended, I guess you could say, because Our numbers are on the wall. Our name and number are on the wall. And love it or hate it, it comes to my phone on a on a separate, you know, Google voice number.

Brian Rheaume [00:22:29]:

And my I pride myself on getting right back to customers. You know, there’s a few things that we’ve really invested in equipment wise, so there’s really I I don’t want customers to have problems. If there is a problem, 99% of the time, it’s either misuse or, you know, Wasn’t sure how to use something or, you know, the from the equipment standpoint, we’re pretty strong. Everything’s very new in our stores. But if a customer does have a problem, even if it’s a customer that, did something wrong, you know, loaded machine or whatever. Right? We we, we take care of the problem. And what we ended up doing is we use PayRange. So we all of our stores are hybrid, so they’re coin and Payrange.

Brian Rheaume [00:23:17]:

We also have the Payrange kiosks on the walls so customers can start machines with debit or credit cards Through the kiosk, use the PayRage app, or if they’re old school, they can use coins, which a lot of customers still prefer, to do. So if a customer has a problem, we have lock boxes on the walls. So my big thing is I’m not gonna make a customer write a sheet down and submit it into a box and then Call them back and mail them a check or I wanna solve the problem right away for them. I don’t wanna make them jump through hoops even if it’s their fault. I try to educate customers And then say, oh, there’s a lockbox on the wall. Here’s the code. Grab a few bucks. Go ahead and restart that machine.

Brian Rheaume [00:23:55]:

It’s just not worth it to us to lose a a customer, you You know, over a couple of dollars. So we do all that through text, and that’s with through, to us directly. You know, and we We keep track of histories of customers too, and, you know, I can see if it’s a customer that’s been there a long time or the 1st time reaching out, and you you can get a general vibe as far as how your response will be. That’s how we handle most of them. We also through our, Google platform and social media and website Have a separate phone number from our tech support or customer service line. The number that’s advertised goes to an answering service, and they have all the frequently asked questions for the laundromats, locations, hours, machine sizes, prices, So on and so forth. So we try to have a buttoned up operation. You’re dealing directly with the ownership if there’s an a problem with the laundromats, which I happily will do and I do every day.

Brian Rheaume [00:24:56]:

And then also from a from a new customer, new prospect point of view, we have a professional answering service that will answer, any questions or Anything that potential new customers or, existing customers have. So we try to have a nice buttoned up Presentation. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:25:16]:

Yeah. Well and I think that that’s, I I love some of the I mean, I’m kinda interested about this lockbox You just got, like, piles of money in there. What’s

Brian Rheaume [00:25:24]:

No. So what I do is I leave We do. With under There’s

Jordan Berry [00:25:27]:

$100 in there, but just like, 2 or 3,

Brian Rheaume [00:25:30]:

and they No. No.

Melissa Rheaume [00:25:31]:

We laugh because we’ll put we put the like, usually, we put the price of the most expensive VIN in there. That’s how much the the max It’s in there. But if people only need $3, you tell them to take $3, they’ll, like, hold it up to the camera.

Brian Rheaume [00:25:42]:

Camera. Oh, I have 3. Oh, I have 3. And then

Melissa Rheaume [00:25:44]:

they’ll close it and lock it back up. Like, we’ve never had anyone just take it Dall and Ronnie.

Brian Rheaume [00:25:47]:

Here’s the thing. If you take it all, I have your phone number, number 1. Right? Yeah. Number 2, it’s not worth me driving up there because gas is $8 again. Oh my god. Yeah. So whatever. Right? But what we end up doing is the code changes every time the the money gets, taken out.

Brian Rheaume [00:26:01]:

Right? So it keeps the honest people honest. But the thing is, I just like to have it there. I like to have a a fast resolution to the problem so they’re happy, I’m happy, their laundry gets done, and we move on. If they use the the and I usually if it’s a true machine problem, which is very rare, but it does happen. It happens at every laundromat.

Jordan Berry [00:26:21]:


Brian Rheaume [00:26:21]:

I’ll I’ll say, you know, it takes some extra money to drive for free for the inconvenience. You know? And that’s just the way I handle our customers. I want them back. I want them happy. I want them talking about our laundromat, and word-of-mouth is the best advertising. You can spend all the money you want on Google Ads. You can spend all the money you want on whatever kind of marketing. But if someone has a good experience and they tell someone else, you know, it cost me a couple of bucks.

Brian Rheaume [00:26:45]:


Jordan Berry [00:26:46]:


Brian Rheaume [00:26:46]:

If they had a bad experience and they tell 10 people, well, And it really cost you.

Jordan Berry [00:26:50]:

Yeah. Well, solving people’s problems fast is invaluable. Right? Like And and I think that’s one of the biggest frustrations that I saw when I, was dealing with customers from my unattended laundromat was, like, You know, I live depending on when I go when they call me, like, anywhere from 40 to an hour and 15 minutes away from my laundromat. Right? And so if there’s a problem and I can’t solve it over the phone, and I gotta go there. They’ve gotta wait, you know, however long. Right? And so I mean, the the lockbox thing is interesting because What I would do there’s no way on God’s green earth I could put a lockbox with money in it. I I literally I was telling, Martin Vlastcamp on Twitter. Sounded like somebody literally one time tore down an entire wall in my laundromat just to get back behind the machine.

Jordan Berry [00:27:48]:

There was nothing even back They’re but they literally tore down the whole wall. So there’s no way I could put a lockbox in there, but, without people trying to get into it nonstop. But, what I was doing was I was you know, if if the option was there, I would send them, like, a Zelle or a Cash App or something Like that. Sure.

Brian Rheaume [00:28:06]:

Yeah. There’s there’s

Melissa Rheaume [00:28:07]:

he use Venmo and stuff like that too.

Jordan Berry [00:28:09]:

Venmo. But the problem with that is that they don’t have that cash

Brian Rheaume [00:28:12]:

right away.

Jordan Berry [00:28:13]:

So if they don’t have any more cash

Brian Rheaume [00:28:15]:

They They’re out of luck.

Jordan Berry [00:28:16]:

To do the machines. And I it was a coin store only on mine. Right? And so then they were just out of luck, or they had to try to figure out the casting. So it was an imperfect solution, to a prom. Didn’t happen a ton, but it did happen, you know, sometimes. So And it always happens

Melissa Rheaume [00:28:31]:

at the most inconvenient Time. Right?

Jordan Berry [00:28:33]:


Brian Rheaume [00:28:33]:

And on the smallest machines.

Jordan Berry [00:28:35]:

Yep. I

Brian Rheaume [00:28:35]:

don’t know. It’s just that’s just our luck. But I I just It’s not worth it from from my sanity and from a best business practice point of view to make somebody wait. Yeah. There’s a lot of people that do come in. They just they don’t have money floating around just to feed another washer. And and the other thing is VIN prices aren’t what they were 10 or 12 or 15 years ago either. I mean, If they load 1 of our 6 load machines, that VIN price could be up almost to $10.

Brian Rheaume [00:29:01]:

So it’s just, You know, you just try to solve the problem immediately. They’re they’re happy. We’re happy, and, life goes on.

Jordan Berry [00:29:10]:

Yeah. Yeah. No. I do I do think that that’s a that’s a interesting one. I that never would have even crossed my mind to put a lockbox with actual cash in there, and for good reason at my laundromat. But, I love that that is an option because, I mean, like you said, that’s That’s a way to solve that problem quickly. It’s easy for you. It’s easy for them.

Jordan Berry [00:29:33]:

Right. And they just don’t have to worry about it. So I like that.

Brian Rheaume [00:29:36]:

We’re $13 solution.

Jordan Berry [00:29:38]:

That’s right. That’s right. And, you know, even if it forget gas. Like, even just your time is worth more than $13.

Brian Rheaume [00:29:45]:


Jordan Berry [00:29:46]:

know? They’re going out there. So Great. Okay. Awesome. Alright. So you guys are running this this, you know, empire. I’ll call it an empire. Let’s call it that.

Jordan Berry [00:29:59]:

You have said you said laundromat family, but I’m gonna call it a portfolio because that sounds.

Brian Rheaume [00:30:03]:

I like that. I like that.

Jordan Berry [00:30:04]:

Legit. That’s

Brian Rheaume [00:30:05]:

a Wall Street number. Alright. It’s our Wall Street turn rather. Yeah. Right.

Jordan Berry [00:30:08]:

I mean, you’re just sounding legit that way. So you got this portfolio of, professional epic laundromats. And, you decide at some point along the way that you wanna build 1 from scratch, essentially. Like, how did this come about? And then I wanna kinda dig into that process of what that was like too.

Melissa Rheaume [00:30:30]:

So we wanted all of our stores to be unattended. Our 1st store that we bought was attended, and I was working it quite a bit.

Brian Rheaume [00:30:38]:

And it did a lot of wash and fall. It was, like, 50%, 60% wash and fall business.

Melissa Rheaume [00:30:44]:

So our idea was is we’ll Sell this store, use the capital to build a store. But first, we need to find a location.

Brian Rheaume [00:30:54]:

So We our favorite car wash had this building next door to it, and it used to be a laundromat like 25 years ago. Right? So it had the 2 inch or 3 inch gas main, 2 inch water. It had all of those things. It was completely, stripped down, though, because it was like a restaurant and then a poetry studio. So there was it was a a few other things, in between when it was a laundromat in the nineties and today. But it had all the services right into the closet, you know, right into the storage room. So literally was tap in and go. So that saved us That’s a huge perk.

Brian Rheaume [00:31:33]:

Yeah. $100. I think, you know and The utility run for that store is, like, almost a 1000 feet to to where it ties in. So you’re talking That’s probably be a deal breaker. Right? I mean, it’s just a lot of money. Mhmm. So, but it had all the bones. So We contacted the owner and, of the of the property.

Brian Rheaume [00:31:57]:

It’s been in the family since the sixties and put together a deal. I mean, that was another one that was, like, I don’t know. It was quick. 2 weeks. You know? And, in that time frame, I got my distributor in there. He did run a demographic report because we did, finance the equipment through Eastern. So So they needed all that documentation. We knew in our hearts and our guts that, hey, this is gonna be a winner.

Brian Rheaume [00:32:26]:

So, that was what? July of 21. Right? Yeah. Yeah. July of 20 I think so. July or August of 21. Forget. So that was during COVID, and that was during all those, like, the equipment was just hard to get. I mean, we ordered the equipment in July, and We didn’t get it till January.

Brian Rheaume [00:32:49]:

So that was our biggest wait, was for equipment. But the Distributor put together the demographic reports. We looked at the competition. It was kinda like the other store that we that we renovated. We just felt like there was a need in the market. Quite a few laundromats around it, just nothing great. So we felt like, alright. There’s room for us here, but we’re gonna do a softmount because we’re gonna tell a different story.

Brian Rheaume [00:33:12]:

We’re gonna tell a story that you can come in and come out with within 45 to 50 minutes, with these machines. So we decided to go with Continental, And the rest is history.

Jordan Berry [00:33:28]:

Yeah. So the rest is legendary. So did you just find this building while you were at getting your car washed or, like,

Melissa Rheaume [00:33:42]:

in did you

Jordan Berry [00:33:43]:

know it was? And and most importantly, did you ever read your own poetry in the poetry corner

Melissa Rheaume [00:33:50]:

It was for a high school. It was high school poetry. So that was for a short time, and then the building sat bank vacant for a very long time. 15 years.

Brian Rheaume [00:33:58]:

Like, it was a it was a, restaurant for a minute and then this post street thing for a minute, and then it was, like, empty. So we were, like, getting our cars washed, and we’re like, What are

Melissa Rheaume [00:34:09]:

because we’ve been looking around for

Brian Rheaume [00:34:10]:

a season. Perfect. Like, let’s do this. This went on years that we looked at this building. Right? You’re just staring at it.

Jordan Berry [00:34:16]:

One day it’s like, Oh, yeah. This one. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Rheaume [00:34:18]:

Like, this could be it.

Melissa Rheaume [00:34:19]:

No. This is this is a well, we looked at a couple other spaces, and I’m like, oh, it’s so expensive to build out. And I don’t even know that we knew at that point that it had been a laundromat at one time. No.

Brian Rheaume [00:34:29]:

I don’t think so.

Melissa Rheaume [00:34:29]:

We didn’t know until we actually went in and looked at Space. And we were like, are you kidding? There’s, like, drains in the floor already. Like Like,

Brian Rheaume [00:34:35]:

it was per it was a vanilla box, but formerly a laundromat. Right? So Yeah. It had everything ready to go. So from an infrastructure point of view, there’s a big savings. So that that allowed us to do some other things there that we probably wouldn’t have if we had to, you know, build from the ground up. So, yeah, I mean, it it went together Really quickly. And we put some nice equipment in there and, you know, it’s a it’s a great store. We put a lot of pride and effort into our stores and, Hopefully, it shows.

Brian Rheaume [00:35:04]:

We get good feedback from customers, and, it was definitely a a cool experience to be able to do it. So it wasn’t really a true, like, ground up build, but it necessarily wasn’t buying an old store and renovating. So

Jordan Berry [00:35:19]:

Yeah. Yeah. So okay. So you found this location after years of staring at it, and, You said, okay. We’ll check this out. Right? So what was the process like? Just for somebody who’s interested in building out a space, what was the process like of, like, okay. This location might work to okay. We’re signing a lease for this.

Jordan Berry [00:35:41]:

How did you did you have to, you know, start talking to eastern funding or distributor or, like, what was that process like in the beginning there?

Brian Rheaume [00:35:51]:

So it was Talking about landlord for first and coming up with, basically, a letter of intent. You know? So our what we agreed upon 4. Okay. This is what we pay for rent. This is how long. We did a 30 year lease there. We did a a 15 year initial with 3 5 year renewals. So we did a nice long lease there.

Brian Rheaume [00:36:12]:

So we don’t anything to worry about. It’s a fixed, price. Everything’s fixed there, so we don’t we know what our number is gonna be every month. So once we got the letter of intent signed, then I went to my distributor and said, okay. We have this location. Why don’t you come look at it? He came and looked at it, and we scribbled out on the floor layout that we thought because Melissa, that’s her specialty. She loves laying out laundromats. That’s I mean, she does it.

Brian Rheaume [00:36:39]:

She’s awesome at it. She puts just the right amount of machines in, not too many, not too few and and these wide aisles and all of the things that, successful stores strive to have. So, anyway, so she did that with our distributor and Came up with a machine count and went through the, quote process. And then I talked to Jennifer, Whitney at Eastern and said, okay. Here’s what we’re looking to do. Here’s the location, and they have their whole process as far as what they want from for docs from you. So, you know, it it it was originally the letter of intent, the quote, to say, okay. Is this possible? Do these numbers work for you guys? Because they have to be on board, you know.

Brian Rheaume [00:37:24]:

And then she came they’ve been fantastic by the way. I know a lot of people that do use them, and I’m certainly not in endorsing them, but it was our 1st time use having to use a lender. Mhmm. You know, laundromat lender because it was a big number. Little bit of a scary number, but it was a big number. And, they were fantastic to deal with. So, she said, yeah. That, you know, that looks like it will work.

Brian Rheaume [00:37:53]:

So, they requested some more information from us, And then we end up putting the lease together. I mean, this is all within, like, 10 days or 14 days. So once we got preapproved from Eastern, figured out how long the because that was a big thing is, like, how long is it gonna take? Because continentals are made in Spain, so, it’s involving shipping, and it was at the time when all the shipping containers were getting, like, you know, stacked up.

Jordan Berry [00:38:20]:

Of the ocean. Yeah.

Brian Rheaume [00:38:21]:

Yeah. Right. So we’re like, alright. How long is this gonna be? Because I think it was July that we ordered it. And like I said, we didn’t get it till, like, mid January. So, you know, how long is it gonna take the equipment and then trying to build in some rent abatement to say, hey. We’d be ready to go in October because it really only us a couple of months to get the store going because the infrastructure was there, but the equipment’s gonna take longer. So the landlord built in, I don’t know, 4 months or something like that of Abatement.

Brian Rheaume [00:38:51]:

So Okay. We were 1 month short.

Melissa Rheaume [00:38:54]:

Yeah. We ended up paying a month.

Brian Rheaume [00:38:54]:

We ended up paying a month. But

Jordan Berry [00:38:56]:

Should’ve pushed for more because that guy or gal hadn’t had rent for

Brian Rheaume [00:39:00]:

I know.

Jordan Berry [00:39:01]:

Decade and I know. Before. You know? I know. But

Brian Rheaume [00:39:05]:

it’s all good.

Jordan Berry [00:39:06]:

Yeah. Okay. So, I mean, did you were you guys doing anything on the build out while you were waiting on machines? What was that like?

Brian Rheaume [00:39:14]:

Yeah. So we, I put it out to bid, and ended up getting 2 guys that are retired plumbers, for this from the state of Connecticut that came in and did the build out on the plumbing. And one beauty of having the machines take so long is that we could kinda pace ourselves. So, hey, I’m not in a rush to do this job. If you wanna come in and work a couple of days and you had another job that takes you a week, come back. You know, I said, this is my deadline. It’s January 1st. I said, I don’t care how long it takes you.

Brian Rheaume [00:39:51]:

I just need to be done January 1st. Same thing with our our electrician. And that was the other thing too. The electrical service was big enough to support All the new machines. We didn’t have to run any new electrical service or anything.

Jordan Berry [00:40:03]:

Oh, nice.

Brian Rheaume [00:40:04]:

Yeah. So we gave the the, The sub we subcontract general contracted the job ourselves and just hired subcontractors and did a lot of it ourselves too. And we yeah. We put it together and, you know, we we were really fortunate from a contractor point of view. We had really good subs for that job.

Melissa Rheaume [00:40:24]:

Yeah. Retirees are awesome. They work harder than

Brian Rheaume [00:40:27]:

Yeah. These guys are, like, 70 years old. They’re, like, they’re rock stars. They they they did the plumbing build out in, like, 4 day plumbing and gas in, like, 4 days.

Jordan Berry [00:40:37]:

You know? Need it for another 6 months or so. Okay. You’re done.

Brian Rheaume [00:40:41]:

That’s pretty much how it worked. That’s pretty much how it went down. I was really impressed with with how they work. So And they gave me some ideas I never would have thought of too. And that was their 1st laundromat build. So, pretty cool. We ended up doing bulkheads in that store, prebuilt Highmark bullheads.

Jordan Berry [00:40:59]:


Brian Rheaume [00:40:59]:

So those came pre plumbed and the electrical in them. So that was just a a basically just tying into those. And that was a first for us too. Yeah. I was I was yeah. I liked it. Made things really easy. It looks nice.

Brian Rheaume [00:41:14]:

So, Yeah. We we we kinda spare no expense with that store.

Jordan Berry [00:41:19]:

Yeah. I mean, is that the you know, you mentioned that. Is that the way that you would do it again? Bear no expense because, typically, our industry has been very frugal. Right? Like, we don’t we invest a minimum possible. We use cheap, hearty materials, you know, linoleum square tile floors, and, you know, stuff like that, which, you know, is one way to go, I guess. But, you know, more and more I see of sort of the the people who are doing the best are investing a little more for a little more quality in their stores. So I’m just kinda curious like, okay. Today, I bring you another location.

Jordan Berry [00:41:59]:

It’s a great location. You’re gonna build it out. Are you doing sort of that same caliber of build again. Would you take it down a notch? What would you do there?

Melissa Rheaume [00:42:08]:

Now I mean, we do we started doing, like, the Polished concrete floors, which I really like because that you can’t like, it’s supposed to look industrial, so it’s not gonna, you know, look beat up or Worn out. That’s just how it’s designed to look from the get go. So it’s nice to have that as a flooring choice, and we’ve done it in almost all of our stores now because we really do like it that much.

Brian Rheaume [00:42:32]:

All of our stores have a similar vibe, and they’re they’re all co branded, so they all look pretty similar.

Melissa Rheaume [00:42:37]:

Yeah. We kept the same colors and kind of we try to make it Look like it’s the same, you know, that they are chain almost because we do get a lot of people moving from 1 city to the next, so they will u r use our store When they move.

Brian Rheaume [00:42:51]:

Or I’ll gonna text them our our support number. Your store is packed right now. Can you look on the cameras and let me know what your other location if it’s, You know, they’re busy. And you know what? I’ll look on the cameras for them and tell them. You know? I I I live and breathe this business. I mean, ask her. Drives her nuts. You know, we’ll be on vacation and I’ll be, like, you know, looking up laundromat stuff.

Brian Rheaume [00:43:11]:

But to answer your question, no. I don’t cut corners. I I just I it it We’re we’re fortunate enough that we didn’t buy a new piece of equipment in the 1st 3 years that we started. It was either fixing what was broken or buying refurbished out of New York City. So, really, it wasn’t until The 3rd year that we bought new stuff. Because I I you know, we we said, oh my god. How can we afford these machines? They’re so expensive. You know? So it wasn’t until year 3, year 4 that, you know, we could we could pay for new.

Brian Rheaume [00:43:47]:

But, no, I won’t spare any expense. And if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it. It’s just I I I we have a good reputation in the community. I’m gonna keep that reputation. You know, That’s the the new store has automatic door. It’s got all the bells and whistles. Right? That’s how I want it to be. That’s how I want the experience to be.

Brian Rheaume [00:44:07]:

Comfortable seating. It’s got good tunes. All of our stores play the same music, playlist, which we get complimented on, quite a bit. So they have the same vibe. When you walk in one of our stores, you know it’s one of our stores. They’re all co branded. We cross promote, because like Melissa said, you know, people go from location to location. Sorry about the dog.

Brian Rheaume [00:44:32]:

People go from you know, move around the area. She’s a 4 pound security dog.

Jordan Berry [00:44:39]:

That’s right.

Brian Rheaume [00:44:40]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:44:41]:

I got a little 12 pound Italian greyhound security dog. Probably can’t hear him, but he’s howling downstairs right now.

Brian Rheaume [00:44:46]:

Yeah. I know. She’s a a Yorkshire terrier. She thinks she’s a pit bull.

Jordan Berry [00:44:51]:

Yeah. Well, I I mean, I love the mindset because, you know, like I said, I think that’s a that’s been a very rare mindset, you know, in our industry of, hey. If I’m not gonna do it right, I’m not gonna do it. You know, that it I think that’s relatively new for this industry. Obviously, there’s always exceptions, but, you know, but I I just see like, I just talked to so many laundromat owners all over. Right? And the ones that are doing the best, that are enjoying the business, that are profiting the most from the business are the ones who are have that same mindset, right, who are, you know, taking care of their customers, communicating they value the customers by providing a good experience for them in running their business like a business. Right? And, so I love, obviously, hearing that. You know? I mean, besides the fact that you guys flattered me on the last interview.

Jordan Berry [00:45:49]:

It’s the other reason that you’re back on here. You know? I just think we need more of that mindset.

Brian Rheaume [00:45:53]:

So yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:45:53]:

But mostly it’s just the flattery thing.

Brian Rheaume [00:45:55]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:45:56]:

Works on me. You know?

Brian Rheaume [00:45:57]:

It just works. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [00:45:59]:

Okay. Well, I mean, you mentioned a couple times now, like, comfortable seating, bright lights, stuff What kind of seating are you? Are you throwing in couches in there? What are you doing? You got recliners?

Brian Rheaume [00:46:09]:

We don’t recliners. We have comfortable, like, couch setups. I mean, we have, we started doing cocktail tables with stools, customers like that. Wonderful. Yeah. So we’ve been adding that into the mix At our stores, that’s actually been the most favorite is the the, the high tops, you know, and,

Jordan Berry [00:46:32]:

Kinda gives a good vibe, I think.

Brian Rheaume [00:46:33]:

It well, I was just gonna say it’s the vibe. You know? It’s it’s the vibe. And and we we we sell our story in the stores. Like, why? What’s the benefit of coming here? You know? I go into so many laundromats. Like, this is what we do. We we the other day, we went into 2. You know? I go in, it’s like, The TVs are off. There’s no music playing.

Brian Rheaume [00:46:51]:

It’s just you know, if that’s how you wanna run your store, that’s great. You come into ours, we have atmosphere TV playing. We got the tunes playing. I mean, how much feedback do we get on the music?

Melissa Rheaume [00:47:03]:

People love the music.

Brian Rheaume [00:47:04]:

It’s crazy. It’s crazy.

Jordan Berry [00:47:05]:

One of you guys has the good taste in music?

Brian Rheaume [00:47:07]:

That’s what I’m wondering.

Melissa Rheaume [00:47:08]:

Has Unfair Advantage.

Brian Rheaume [00:47:09]:

I I was in the radio business for 25 years, so I know it works and it doesn’t work.

Jordan Berry [00:47:14]:


Brian Rheaume [00:47:15]:

So I will not share my music secrets.

Jordan Berry [00:47:17]:

Oh, I like it.

Brian Rheaume [00:47:19]:

That’s like the secret sauce of McDonald’s, man.

Jordan Berry [00:47:21]:

Yeah. That’s right. He’s got it. Alright. Well, now I’m gonna have to just go sit in your laundromat and write down every song

Brian Rheaume [00:47:28]:

that’s going,

Jordan Berry [00:47:30]:

in there. That’s funny.

Brian Rheaume [00:47:31]:

I’ll have

Jordan Berry [00:47:31]:

to, I’ll have to connect you up with my Yeah. That’s awesome. I love that. I’ll just connect it with my son who just started on his own, laundromat Resource Radio. Nice. Which is pretty, pretty fun. So go check that out. Learnmentresource.com/radio.

Jordan Berry [00:47:46]:

Supposedly just replays of stuff right now, but he’s got some ideas. So I’ll be Awesome. Interested to see if they play out. Okay. So, you I mean, you’ve mentioned this a couple times too, and I I’m wondering if we can just dive into this a little bit more. But you’ve talked about, hey. We’re selling we’re selling our story here. And I love that.

Jordan Berry [00:48:12]:

You know, I just finished, well, StoryBrand I’ve read. I don’t know if you’ve read that, but Donald Miller. I mean, not Donald. Is it Donald Miller? Dang. StoryBrand. It’s a great book. You should check it out. Sounds like you’re already doing it.

Jordan Berry [00:48:25]:

And then there’s another one that he wrote, like, how to start a small business or how to run a small business. It’s similar. It’s talking about, you know, story, right, and using story to to sell and to connect with your customers and your clients and stuff. So I love that. So I’m wondering if we can just kinda dive into, like, what is the story that you’re selling? And you’ve already mentioned a couple ways that you’re communicating that story, but let’s talk about that a little bit if you don’t mind.

Brian Rheaume [00:48:52]:

So, specifically, The time, obviously, is something that nobody can get back. So, the the quick wash cycles. We don’t have any machines in our stores that are under 100 g’s. So all of our stuff is 200 g or above. So we can sell a pretty quick turnaround story, which a lot of people, You know, everyone’s crunched on time. Everyone’s working 2 jobs or running around with the kids or, you know, doesn’t wanna sit in a laundromat in the summer, you know, just for hours at, you know, our 1st store, the dry time was what?

Melissa Rheaume [00:49:27]:

49 minutes.

Brian Rheaume [00:49:29]:

Yeah. I

Jordan Berry [00:49:30]:

mean 49. 1 store.

Brian Rheaume [00:49:31]:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. So I I know that because I

Melissa Rheaume [00:49:34]:

was doing a lot of the wash and fold, and I’d be, like, waiting for just Chomping at the bit to get it to be done.

Jordan Berry [00:49:40]:

Oh my gosh.

Brian Rheaume [00:49:41]:

Yeah. So just talking about the time, obviously, The fast extract speed on the washers. The benefits of a fast extract speed, cleaner laundry, shorter dry time. You know, a long dry time isn’t great for your for your garments. Sorry about that. So just talking about that, you know

Melissa Rheaume [00:50:02]:

Safe, bright lighting. Lots you know, there’s lots of security cameras so people feel safe.

Brian Rheaume [00:50:08]:

And And with the high extract speeds, people think it’s the dryers that are doing the heavy lifting. It’s actually the washers. But when you promote that you have a, you know, hot dryers And they come in and use a fast extract washer, and it only takes 20 minutes to dry. The dryers get the credit.

Jordan Berry [00:50:22]:

Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Rheaume [00:50:24]:

You know? So, And then just having the, you know, the basics, the Wi Fi, the good customer service, all the pieces of the puzzle. You know? We’ve We’ve kind of refined our, model, for self serve unattended, and we’ve duplicated it throughout these 5 stores. And As we expand, even more, we just basically rinse and repeat now, and feel like we have a good model going forward. I I

Jordan Berry [00:50:53]:

think that that’s great. And I I mean, I think it’s one of the awesome things about our business, right, is, like, once you find a model that works, You can kind of transplant that model to different location. Obviously, there’s gonna be some nuances for every location.

Brian Rheaume [00:51:06]:


Jordan Berry [00:51:07]:

But, you know, by and large, You know, you can you can do I mean, I think that’s like what the Willeford brothers have done with their, you know, 2,000 large batch or whatever. Not really 2000, but, you know, they they’ve got a model that works, and they just sorta drop it on top of other existing laundromats or laundromat builds that they do. And sounds like you guys are just doing the same thing. You’ve you’ve found a model that works for you guys, and you’ve refined it. You continue to refine it, but then you just, You know, keep plopping it on. You look

Brian Rheaume [00:51:35]:

And like you said, there’s different nuances. We have 1 store, this this the small store that we we, found that was closed, and it was parking lot challenged. Right? So you adapt and overcome. That’s what That’s what I try to do. Okay. Here’s the problem. How do we fix it? So the pizza place next door has a huge parking lot. It’s right next door to us, like, literally 10 steps from our front door to theirs.

Brian Rheaume [00:52:00]:

So we put a deal together. We pay them a little money, and our customers can park in their parking lot. You just try to find solutions to your problems, you know, and we’re able to do that. You adapt and overcome. So, there’s more than one way to figure it out, you know. If If a store is doesn’t have parking and you love the store, but it’s just not gonna work out well, well, maybe you can strike a deal with somebody that has parking next door. So we ended up doing that in in that situation. Not ideal, but, in this spot, it was close enough to work.

Brian Rheaume [00:52:33]:


Jordan Berry [00:52:36]:

Yeah. Yeah. Dude. Yes. Absolutely. And and there’s, you know, not just, It’s not just, like, obstacles to overcome. Nuances, there’s also opportunities at different locations, right, where you can do some things at One location that you maybe can’t do, at another. You know, maybe you got extra space or something and you can run a pickup and delivery out of it because you got storage space.

Jordan Berry [00:52:59]:

Right? Like, there’s a lot of different, nuances that you can, you know, you can look to, number 1, solve a problem. And and, you know, I bet If you can find those problems in a laundromat that you’re looking at and the current owner hasn’t been able to solve it, you can bet that’s The value add opportunity when you go and you say, you know, forever, a laundromat owner or laundromat customers haven’t been able to park in the pizza parking lot. And now all of a sudden, you’ve just opened up 5 or 10 more spots that they can open up in. Well, hey. You’ve just added value to that laundromat by making things more convenient for the customers. Right? Yep. And so looking for those opportunities both in solving problems and also looking at untapped, potential, at a certain location, which is pretty cool. I’m curious.

Jordan Berry [00:53:50]:

So one of the things I’ve found in in, you know, your your, man, you guys must have really flattered me good because I’m looking at your last episode. And I basically call you a husband and wife laundromat power couple in the title. And, I don’t know. Did you guys pay me? I don’t know what happened.

Brian Rheaume [00:54:10]:

We did. Did you check clear?

Jordan Berry [00:54:13]:

Yeah. It must’ve cleared. I don’t I don’t remember, but it must’ve so

Brian Rheaume [00:54:16]:

We put it in our lockbox. You haven’t picked it up yet.

Jordan Berry [00:54:19]:

It’s in the lockbox. You got a lockbox all the podcast you’ve been on. Okay. So, but, you know, I’m kinda curious. Like, what makes you guys a good team? What are your guys’ strengths and weaknesses. And do you guys complement each other? Do you guys both have, like, similar strengths? And it just kind of like, you know, this constructive interference where, like, a wave hits another wave and it’s like a mega wave, or are you guys, like, leveling each other out because one of you is way up here and one of you is down here and then vice versa? ShoutOut.

Brian Rheaume [00:54:51]:

Me out. I’ll she levels me out. Because I’ll be like, hey. I wanna put a 10 load washer in this store. I wanna do this. Oh, this store is for sale. I wanna buy this store. Let’s do that.

Brian Rheaume [00:54:59]:

No. Let’s not do that. Let’s not do any of that. You know? I like our life the way it is. You’re crazy.

Melissa Rheaume [00:55:05]:

No. It’s not true. No. We have different strengths and weaknesses, Definitely. We definitely do. I think that my superpower is my intuition.

Brian Rheaume [00:55:15]:

So Yeah. She knows if it’s a good deal or bad deal.

Melissa Rheaume [00:55:17]:

I can just I can read people.

Brian Rheaume [00:55:18]:

Well, you you should charge for that.

Melissa Rheaume [00:55:20]:

I hate when it happens though because we had a deal that we wanted to do, and we met with the people. And I just this Feeling in my stomach. I just I know that feeling. I’m like, we can’t. I was like, I just I don’t like them. I don’t trust them. It’s just and he’s like, oh, that’s ridiculous. You can’t I’m like because

Brian Rheaume [00:55:37]:

I’m more like, let’s just do it. Come on. Yeah. You know? Yeah. I feel like that’s kinda gotten us somewhat like, Her strengths and my strengths both maybe aren’t perfectly aligned, but both of us have gotten us to where we are because of our strengths. Like, of me pushing her, like, no. We gotta do this. This is good.

Brian Rheaume [00:55:57]:

And her being like, you’re nuts. You know? Like, no. We’re not doing this. Right? Yeah. But I think her kinda checking me a little bit every once in a while is a good thing. So Yeah. Well and You’re married. You know how it goes.

Jordan Berry [00:56:12]:

No. I know exactly how it goes. We have the exact same I mean, I’m pretty extreme with, like Come on.

Brian Rheaume [00:56:18]:

Yeah. Right. That’s me. That’s me.

Jordan Berry [00:56:19]:

Let’s just do it. And my wife is, like, pretty conservative. Like, I don’t know about that. And it It was a source of conflict for a long time for us until we kind of figured out how to, you know, how to how to make it work for us and not against us, which is a skill set on its own.

Brian Rheaume [00:56:37]:

Sure. Sure.

Jordan Berry [00:56:38]:

Some marriage, advice there. Expected what’s going on because I see just a lot of the best partnerships out there. Right? Whether that’s a husband and wife. I mean, Wilford Brothers, I think have a similar thing going, with their stuff, their brothers, or just business partners, right, where there’s one who’s really pushing the boundaries. And I think you need that. Right? I’m maybe I’m biased because that’s who I am.

Brian Rheaume [00:57:03]:

You. But

Jordan Berry [00:57:04]:

but yeah. But really just pushing the boundaries of, like, hey. We’ve gotta get, like,

Brian Rheaume [00:57:09]:


Jordan Berry [00:57:10]:

You gotta go. Like, 0 or a100, let’s get a100 here. That’s me. Right? Like, maybe even a little bit more than a100. Right? But you also need that other kind of guiding force that’s like, okay. Hold on a second. If we do that, you know, you gotta stop and think about the implications of all this. Right? Like, well, I’m not thinking about that.

Jordan Berry [00:57:27]:

I just it’d be awesome to have a 100 pound washer in here, and it fits right here. It’s perfect. Let’s just do it. Right? And, but you’ve got those 2 kind of things working together. And, you know, it makes me think of, you know, Traction, the book Traction, or Rocket Fuel where it talks about, hey. Most of the successful businesses, you got the Jobs Wozniak thing, you know, etcetera, etcetera. You go down the line where you’ve got this This kinda push and pull, this yin and yang that’s going on. And as long as you can figure out how to work together, you’ve got, like, a super a super team.

Jordan Berry [00:57:59]:

Right? Yep. You got a a powerhouse couple, if you will.

Brian Rheaume [00:58:03]:

Well, like, we try to just our our root is how can we serve our customers the best possible way. Right? So everything that’s the foundation of what we do, you know, because we’re providing a service. And in return for the service that we provide, you know, we get paid. But without having that foundation of how can we best serve our Customers, and we build off of that. You know? And and honestly, at the end of the day, that’s what we come back to when we make our decisions. How can we best serve Our customers. You know, and I’m like, well, let’s buy, you know, we we put a a a 10 load machine and I’m like, well, now we need 2. Like, why don’t we have 2? And she’s like, no.

Brian Rheaume [00:58:44]:

It’s a fine demand. Find demand. Right? Like, make the one special that we have. It’s special, and people will wait for it. There’s a lot of people waiting for them. Like, we need 2. And she’s like, no. They’re $30.

Brian Rheaume [00:58:54]:

We’re not getting 2. You know? So it’s like, Okay, honey.

Melissa Rheaume [00:58:59]:

Well and plus, you have to have the dry space to support it. And if we can’t fit the dry space Yeah. K.

Jordan Berry [00:59:04]:

Listen. You’re you’re bringing logic into this, and we’re getting excited about or what if we just listen. Let’s brainstorm here a little bit. What if we just got rid of all the machines and only put in 100 pounders?

Brian Rheaume [00:59:15]:

There you go.

Melissa Rheaume [00:59:15]:

Right? Clothes lines off the side of the building. No.

Brian Rheaume [00:59:18]:

You do you do you do you do Listen. You do 10 hunt you do 10 10 load machines And then figure out your dry capacity, and then you’re done.

Melissa Rheaume [00:59:26]:

Wait. You’re giving me my secret because I do wanna do that. I wanted I wanted to open a store and Have it just be big washers and big dryers, and that’s it.

Jordan Berry [00:59:34]:

I love see, she’s in. We’ve already convinced it.

Brian Rheaume [00:59:37]:

She’s converted in the last 3 minutes.

Jordan Berry [00:59:40]:

You know what she’s doing? She’s laying the groundwork for episode 3.

Brian Rheaume [00:59:44]:

Yeah. I’m getting here. So,

Jordan Berry [00:59:46]:

because we don’t definitely happens. Yeah. We definitely have to I have home.

Brian Rheaume [00:59:59]:

I like it. Oh, it’s

Melissa Rheaume [01:00:00]:

like a close one of those round closed racks on your wrist with an umbrella. Something like this.

Brian Rheaume [01:00:05]:

Exactly. Perfect. Done.

Jordan Berry [01:00:06]:

Listen. There’s there’s wherever Wherever there’s a problem, there’s a solution. Right?

Brian Rheaume [01:00:09]:

There is.

Jordan Berry [01:00:10]:

Absolutely. We’ve got it. We’ve got it figured out. No. Okay. So yeah. Awesome. So you build this thing out.

Jordan Berry [01:00:17]:

And, You know, one of the things I talk about with clients a lot is who who are interested in building is and we talked about this a little bit. But, You know, when you build out a new location, everybody you need to do laundry at your store to make it successful is currently doing laundry somewhere else. So how did you guys get customers who were doing their laundry somewhere else into your store?

Brian Rheaume [01:00:44]:

It’s all part of the competitive analysis for us. We’ll see we’ll go in every one of our competitors, see what they’re doing, what they’re not doing, what we think that we could do better, and And kinda build off of of that. I mean, that’s really, right?

Melissa Rheaume [01:00:58]:

Yeah. And we’re our location, it was on a really busy street and with the car wash being pretty complimentary to a laundromat. We had the coming soon sign for a while, so people were anticipating us opening, which helped in the beginning. We advertised.

Brian Rheaume [01:01:13]:

Yeah. We we do a lot lot of marketing.

Jordan Berry [01:01:16]:

Some might say you false advertise on the coming soon part.

Brian Rheaume [01:01:19]:

Yeah. Right.

Jordan Berry [01:01:20]:

Took, like, 7 months, but,

Brian Rheaume [01:01:21]:

you know, there

Jordan Berry [01:01:22]:

you go.

Brian Rheaume [01:01:22]:

We put a couple extra o’s in there. So it’s like kinda soon.

Jordan Berry [01:01:27]:

All relatives already.

Brian Rheaume [01:01:29]:

It is. As soon as

Melissa Rheaume [01:01:30]:

it could be 3 years from now.

Jordan Berry [01:01:31]:

Yeah. Right.

Brian Rheaume [01:01:32]:

That’s right. It’s fine. But, But a healthy amount of advertising too. I came from a a 25 year advertising background. So, use a lot of that knowledge to in this business, and spend a healthy number advertising, and telling that story.

Jordan Berry [01:01:55]:

Do you guys continue to advertise at the same level, or did you advertise heavier up front and then back off after you kinda got things running.

Brian Rheaume [01:02:03]:

We advertise heavy upfront.

Jordan Berry [01:02:05]:


Brian Rheaume [01:02:05]:

I’m not gonna spin my wheels for 6 months and wonder why. I’d rather just make a a huge splash and and eating people through the door. And then they’ll tell other people, hey. This is in the laundromat. It’s awesome. Then, you know so, no, I I don’t we have continuing campaigns for all the stores, But when we open a new store, we really front load our advertising.

Jordan Berry [01:02:28]:

Yeah. And and, you know, I was reflecting on it, I don’t know, like, a long time ago, but, like, I think one of the mistakes I made, in my 1st laundromat when I got in is, you You know, I mean, the broker told me, hey. You put in new machines, and here’s what number you’re gonna make. Like, it was, like, 5 or 6,000 net, right, of income. And I was like, oh, sweet. Like, that’s Awesome. But I came in very complacent and was just you know, I didn’t do any advertising up front because he didn’t tell me I needed to, and I was done. So, but I I you know, I think having that sort of big bang up front and getting the word out, telling the story, of your store.

Jordan Berry [01:03:09]:

And I I mean, I think all that is so important. It’s only gonna be more and more important as we go forward, because it’s getting more and more competitive out there. We got people like you who are running top notch, you know, laundromats with you know, professionally and giving customers a great experience. And, you know, right now, there’s still a lot of laundromats that aren’t doing that. And so you guys have a huge advantage, but as more and more people come in, you know, it’s gonna get more and more competitive there. So that’ll be more and more important. And having that story, I think gives you a huge competitive advantage over someone else who may even just be, you know, have some promotion or something.

Brian Rheaume [01:03:50]:

We did billboards for this store, which I’ve never done before. That was the first in in I did it in my prior job, but not for our laundromats. So we we did we did a heavy advertising campaign, probably much heavier than Most laundromats do when they open, but I’m not gonna sit and spin my wheels for 6, 8, 9 months.

Melissa Rheaume [01:04:13]:

We did. We got the billboard across the street from the store.

Brian Rheaume [01:04:16]:

Yep. With a big arrow. You know? You know? Just Strategically placing those. And I think for us too, like, we both were born here. We both have lived here our entire lives, so we know, like, where things are. We know where to advertise. We know what people to hit. So somewhat of the home court advantage, there, which I think helps too.

Jordan Berry [01:04:40]:

Do you have any sense of how that billboard performed for you? I mean, billboards, I think, are notoriously pretty difficult to track. Yeah.

Brian Rheaume [01:04:46]:

It’s hard to track.

Jordan Berry [01:04:47]:

So maybe it’s intangible, but Just out of curiosity, like, did you get any sense?

Brian Rheaume [01:04:53]:

No. But collectively like, there’s no silver bullet in advertising. Right. Right? So collectively, I like to say it’s, you know, it’s a success. With everything that we do on an ongoing basis And things that we do for launches, collectively, it’s it works. But now you it’s it’s hard. You know? You you don’t get the per click.

Jordan Berry [01:05:19]:

Yeah. Right.

Brian Rheaume [01:05:21]:

You know, you get car counts, but that’s,

Melissa Rheaume [01:05:23]:

That is what it is.

Brian Rheaume [01:05:24]:

It is what it is. You know? Yeah. But I think it all comes you could have a billboard on, you know, in in the middle of Times Square, but if your message isn’t right, Ain’t gonna work. You’re gonna spend the money, you know. So I think coming back to telling a story,

Jordan Berry [01:05:40]:


Brian Rheaume [01:05:41]:

giving people a reason why they should step foot into your store is so important. So, yeah. Yep.

Jordan Berry [01:05:50]:

One of the things that I mean, you mentioned, I think, also so important is you went to you you said you went to your competitors and you look to see, like, you know, what what holes you could fill that they’re not filling. Right? And What services you could fulfill, they’re not fulfilling. Right? And so finding sort of that place in the market and being able to stand out. I think a lot of people just sort of Well, I’ll just speak for myself. I just sort of put up a laundromat and like, okay. I’m a put new equipment in. Bam. Everybody come and love me now and give me money.

Jordan Berry [01:06:26]:

Right? And it doesn’t work that way, but finding that niche in there where you can kind of position yourself and, you know, and tying that into your story, right, and integrating into your story actually allows you to attract a whole lot more customers. It sounds like you guys did a good job of that.

Brian Rheaume [01:06:42]:

And the thing is too, If we went to our competitors because this has come up because we’ve had other locations present themselves to us to expand to. And for whatever reason, they just didn’t work out. And maybe it was because the competitors are all doing a great job. I mean, I get that from a lot of people that contact us that are first time buyers that either haven’t looked at the competitors or have And refuse to accept that there just isn’t a lane for you, you know. And and that’s so important. You gotta know when to say no to. You have to because let’s face it. The equipment’s not getting cheaper.

Brian Rheaume [01:07:20]:

Labor’s not getting cheap. I mean, it’s big you’re talking big money now. You know? You could build a store Equipment wise for, like, a $100 back in o four. That number now is like 450 500, you know? And on top of all of your infrastructure and everything else that goes into Right. So the risk is just huge. But knowing when to walk away too, we’ve walked away from deals just for whatever reason. You know? There was 1 in a smaller Smaller, city, and they had 2 competitors that were doing pretty good job. So why am I gonna spin my wheels? You know? Good for them that they’re doing good.

Brian Rheaume [01:08:00]:

I’m glad. You know? It’s good to see our because if they do well, we all do well. Right? But when there’s the opportunity and you you seize on it because You don’t feel like it’s up to the market’s up to par. Well, that’s what we we try to look for.

Jordan Berry [01:08:15]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So I’m curious now. I mean, you you mentioned a lot of stuff, and I’m curious now. Like, what’s the future plans for you guys? Are you trying to keep scaling up. Are you sitting tight on your 5 4 or 5 laundromats? What’s your was that a laugh?

Brian Rheaume [01:08:34]:

Yeah. My my answer or hers?

Jordan Berry [01:08:37]:

Well, let’s get the real answer. So, Alyssa, what’s the

Brian Rheaume [01:08:40]:

I’m just kidding.

Melissa Rheaume [01:08:42]:

We’re we’re always looking, and, you know, we have Always have feelers out there.

Brian Rheaume [01:08:47]:

And Yeah. We have some

Jordan Berry [01:08:50]:

That’s the diplomatic answer. Let’s get the let’s get the fun answer, Brian. BS.

Brian Rheaume [01:08:54]:

So Yeah. We, you know, we have a a a a long term long range plan for our businesses, you know, and we have the locations, the the cities that we wanna be in, and we’re checking those boxes off as we go, and we’re getting closer to that. I would rather you know, When when we started 6 years ago, I said, we should own 50 laundromats or, you know, we should own 25 laundromats, and I don’t care where they are. Let’s just do it, to let’s let’s get a handful of stores right at this moment, a handful of stores in the right areas, and capitalize on those. So we’re in, like, 3 in the 5 areas that we wanna be right now. There’s 2 other areas that we’re looking into, to expand. So, you know, as they present themselves, well, you know, I’d rather have fewer stores in great locations than a lot of stores in so so locations. So so

Jordan Berry [01:09:54]:

Melissa, are you, are you proud of yourself right now? That that just sounds like there’s a lot of growth that happened along the process in Brian where he was, You know? He’s out there doing his Brian thing. Let’s get all of them. And now look how mature he is.

Brian Rheaume [01:10:06]:

You know what I mean? He’s like up there early. Right?

Jordan Berry [01:10:09]:

He’s so mature, and we know for a fact that that is due to you for sure. So you should feel very proud. As you’re as you’re kinda looking, as you’re kinda looking around, I mean, like you mentioned, there’s a lot of obstacles right now. Right? There’s Sheen costs have gone dramatically up. You know? Labor costs are going up. Labor shortages are happening. Interest rates are high. Like, on and on and on and on.

Jordan Berry [01:10:39]:

And it’s like you said, it’s getting it’s getting tougher. You gotta you gotta be You gotta be on top of your game here a little bit right now. And there’s a shortage of laundromats for sale too on top of it all, and and multiples are going up. And, You know, so, I mean, as as you guys are trying to navigate that, like, do you do you have any, like, tips or any ways that you’re kinda thinking about this stuff as as you’re doing it for yourself?

Brian Rheaume [01:11:08]:

Just buying with your head, not your heart. Right? Is that the right side? I I don’t know. Just just like That is so hard.

Jordan Berry [01:11:17]:

I didn’t know where you’re going

Brian Rheaume [01:11:18]:

with that, to be honest. It was it’s romantic laundromat talk. I love it. You know, I just think it goes back to being in the right locations, you know, because You whether you dump a half $1,000,000 into the store in in a not desirable area for a laundromat or 500,000 into a store, whatever the price is, right, Of a of a of a into a market that’s gonna do well. You just gotta do your homework and, you know, and and make sure that you’re going in the competition And then seeing what everyone else is doing, seeing if there’s a a a a void somewhere where you can fit in. If There’s not. You need to know when to back off and say, you know what? This isn’t the right place. This is you know? And and I think between the 2 of us, we’re pretty good at that.

Brian Rheaume [01:12:07]:

Like I said, she had me going from, you know, I want 50 stores to, like, let’s get a nice portfolio of strong stores. So that’s on her.

Jordan Berry [01:12:19]:

No big deal. Kind of a big deal over here. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Good I mean, that’s good advice because right now, you know, in in kinda what I’m hearing you saying is, like, Let’s go back to the fundamentals and make sure all the fundamentals are solid. Right? Use using your head is making sure the numbers are Gonna work, making sure the business is gonna be there, making sure you’re signing on a good lease, you know, making sure once you have that store, you’re really taking care of it and running it professionally, you know, all that stuff.

Jordan Berry [01:12:51]:

It sounds like, hey, you know, take care of the fundamentals, and the fundamentals to take care of you.

Brian Rheaume [01:12:58]:

Oh, I like that. That’s that’s perfect. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s true, though, because everything’s just gotten so expensive. Like, Your numbers, you have to cover, you know, a lot bigger of a number now. We’re talking about remember we’re talking about, like, VIN prices. You know, VIN prices 15 years ago versus Venn prices now.

Brian Rheaume [01:13:16]:

Machine cost 15 years ago versus machine cost now. Right? Like This Yep.

Melissa Rheaume [01:13:21]:

It just doesn’t line up.

Brian Rheaume [01:13:22]:

It doesn’t line up. You know? And then you were paying people back then $8 an hour. Now, like, Connecticut’s gone a dollar an hour every year since 2011. So, you know, 50% increase on wages, 50% increase on workers’ comp. So you you gotta make sure your your game you’re operating at a high level, because The Bills are coming fast and furious, you know, and they’re coming whether you’re making money or not. So, it’s just so important to do your homework, and reach out to somebody reach out to somebody that can guide you. If you’re a first time buyer, reach out to somebody that can guide you, through the lease process. A lot of people get stumbled up in leases, you know, and don’t pay attention to the escalators.

Brian Rheaume [01:14:06]:

They like that shiny number at year 1, but then they’re 5, 8, 10 years in. That number is, you know, multiplying, and nothing else is getting cheaper. So, Yeah. Just I know a lot of first time buyers watch your podcast, so it’s important to grab somebody that’s in the business to to help guide you. It’s money well spent. That’s for sure.

Jordan Berry [01:14:31]:

Yeah. I agree. And, you know, I’ve said this a lot, but, like, man, if if someone like you guys Coulda had a conversation with me before I bought my first one. Like, it would save me 6 figures plus. Right? Like, it just There’s a lot of potential gotchas in this business. Business can be great, and it could be your ticket to freedom, and You could do a you could run it a whole lot of different ways. You could build a huge business. You could have just a couple smaller stuff.

Jordan Berry [01:15:00]:

You could run unattended, fully attended service, not sort like, There’s a whole bunch of ways you can do it. And and really, it only takes 1 to 3 to get you out of your 9 to 5 if that’s what you wanna do. However, it’s a tricky little business to get into, especially early on because there’s a whole lot of places you can go wrong. And so it’s just Priceless to have somebody who understands the business, hoping you think, especially that first deal.

Brian Rheaume [01:15:24]:

For sure. And I don’t think it’s as easy as a lot of people perceive it to be. You know, I think that a lot of people get hooked on the passive. You know, it’s not a passive business. Are there some people running it passively? Yeah. They are. But if you talk to anyone that’s mildly successful in this business, they’re they’re not running it passively. They’re running it, Like, this is our full time gig.

Brian Rheaume [01:15:48]:

This is what we do, you know, and I think to be successful, you need to Be more than passive.

Jordan Berry [01:16:00]:

Yeah. So I I think I’m, like, I think I’m winding down on questions here, but you just keep you just keep bringing it out of me. You know? But now I mean, you you’ve got 5 right now. Right?

Melissa Rheaume [01:16:13]:


Jordan Berry [01:16:14]:

Okay. So, I mean, how many hours are you guys spending on these 5 laundromats right now?

Brian Rheaume [01:16:20]:

Well, this past weekend when a 4 year old set off a fire extinguisher and coated the entire store in powder or a normal week. No. I’m in the stores.

Jordan Berry [01:16:30]:

Sounds like a good time to me.

Brian Rheaume [01:16:32]:

I don’t know. It was a great time.

Jordan Berry [01:16:34]:

I was in such a good mood. For the 4 year old.

Brian Rheaume [01:16:36]:

Oh, yeah. You had a great time. It’s like a phone party. You know those phone parties they have at the clubs? Like, this is a powder party. But, On a normal week, I’m in the stores, at least 5 days a week, all of the stores. Except the the attended one, I’m there a little bit less. I’m there, like, 2 to 3 times a week. I have a cleaning company that comes in, 7 afternoons to all the stores in 5 mornings.

Brian Rheaume [01:17:03]:

So oh, I’m sorry. In 2 mornings. So I go to all of the stores 5 mornings and then throughout the day. They’re all relatively close to us, So I pop in throughout the day. We’re heavy on the cameras and security. So, if I see something in the stores I don’t like, I’ll take a ride out and Fix it. Yeah. So, at least 5 days a week, I’m at every one of our unattended stores and then couple of days a week on the attendant store.

Brian Rheaume [01:17:32]:

So and it just depends, like, overall hours. You know, we like to enjoy our summers in New England. They’re so short. So I try to Front load my work schedule, do all the grunt work, the build outs, the equipment changes, anything big project wise, I try to do that over the winter And then try to enjoy, you know, the summer as much as possible. So that’s one of the benefits, like you say, of The laundromat business is that you’re able to to do things like that if you set things up properly and Are able, you know, to do it, and we feel like we’re at a good spot right now that we’re able to do that. So

Jordan Berry [01:18:09]:

Yeah. Get that flex time going. I like that.

Brian Rheaume [01:18:12]:


Jordan Berry [01:18:12]:

Alright. Well, I mean, listen. We’ve already done this before, but I’m curious. Do you guys have okay. We got secret sauce, which is one piece of advice for current laundromat owners. You got something for current lawn mowers that you think they could, you know, insert into their business or or do into their business to help them improve it.

Melissa Rheaume [01:18:37]:

We’ll go with the music. I’ll go with the music. What? I think that having good music is A good season.

Jordan Berry [01:18:45]:

How are you guys how are you guys doing the music? Are you just putting together your own playlist? Do you are you using, like, a service? How are you doing that?

Brian Rheaume [01:18:54]:

So we’re using a service that pays the royalties, because I don’t know how they are in California, but ASCAP and BMI. They’re they they, you know, if they go into a place and they have music playing, they wanna make sure certified. So there’s companies out there that do that. But you can create your own Spotify playlist within that. So

Jordan Berry [01:19:15]:

Oh, okay.

Brian Rheaume [01:19:16]:

So what we do is we originate a Spotify playlist and then Export it out to the stores. Do you

Jordan Berry [01:19:22]:

know what that service is called? That’s okay. I’m not. I’m just curious.

Brian Rheaume [01:19:27]:

You know, I’ll shoot it over to you, Jordan. Alright. So you have it.

Jordan Berry [01:19:30]:

If he actually does, I’ll put a link in the description of the show notes. But don’t hold your breath.

Brian Rheaume [01:19:35]:

I can’t find that book.

Melissa Rheaume [01:19:42]:

It’s okay.

Jordan Berry [01:19:44]:

Must not be that

Brian Rheaume [01:19:46]:

great. No. It’s really good. I don’t have it with me. That’s the problem.

Jordan Berry [01:19:49]:

Do you know who it’s by? What’s the general idea of the book? Probably read it.

Brian Rheaume [01:19:52]:

So it’s a it’s a restaurant owner in New York and hang on. It’s a really good book. So he’s a restaurant owner in New York, and he was awarded one of the top 50 restaurants in the country. Right? So we went to this and he was a new restaurant owner. He got 50th place and he was all pissed off. But he

Jordan Berry [01:20:23]:

was a bum. Setting the table? No. Okay.

Melissa Rheaume [01:20:29]:

It’s the book Alright.

Jordan Berry [01:20:30]:

Keep going. Keep going.

Melissa Rheaume [01:20:31]:

The show The Bear.

Brian Rheaume [01:20:35]:

Hang on. I’m sorry. I’m holding you up. I’m gonna find out.

Jordan Berry [01:20:42]:

He’s on a mission now. Okay. While he’s doing that, Melissa, as someone who’s an expert in store layouts and store design

Melissa Rheaume [01:20:51]:

and all that stuff. Be an expert, but

Brian Rheaume [01:20:53]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Jordan Berry [01:20:54]:

Brian claimed that you’re an expert, so that that’s just what it is. So, I mean, what what kinds of things are you looking for or or looking to do in terms of layouts and stuff? Are you Do you have, like, a certain, like, process that you’re going through to say, okay. Here’s how many machines or what where to put them or anything like that?

Melissa Rheaume [01:21:17]:

So with our last store, one thing that I noticed when we bought our taffyled store, it had good floor space, and there weren’t any bottlenecks. So I’ve gone into stores, and one thing that I don’t like when I go into a store is if the machines are too close together and someone comes in with a ton of laundry if they’re loading the machine, if the person be can’t get behind them or can’t load the machine behind them. So when we built our new London store, I made sure that the aisles were wide enough that you could be loading a machine on both sides of the aisle, and you Would still have room to walk between the 2 people, and that laundry carts would fit freely if people were standing at folding tables. I didn’t want any bottlenecks, and I like nice wide space. And with COVID, it kind of solidified that people wanted space. Right? So that was Huge. Important. Yeah.

Melissa Rheaume [01:22:07]:

People did

Jordan Berry [01:22:07]:

really Yeah. And, you know, it’s interesting because, you know, here in LA, like New York, like, space is at a premium. Right? Space in in there too, actually. But, you know, you just see so many laundromats where machines are crammed in there. You know, and also, You know, distributors get paid based off of how much they sell you, and so they sell you a whole lot of machines. And sometimes you don’t need that many machines, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Right? So,

Brian Rheaume [01:22:39]:


Jordan Berry [01:22:39]:

And that idea had never even Crossed my mind, really, until I started the podcast. I started talking to some owners that are, you know, doing really well, and and they had, like, Space in the Isles. And I’m like, woah. Like, people are like

Melissa Rheaume [01:22:53]:

Yeah. You can move around.

Jordan Berry [01:22:54]:

You know, like, getting through each other and, like, having to wait and stuff. So, yeah, I I love that, and I think that that is, also, you know, part of the way of the future is having that throughput and and making things really smooth and frictionless for the customer and their experience in the store.

Brian Rheaume [01:23:14]:

Alright. For current owners, the book’s called Unreasonable Hospitality.

Jordan Berry [01:23:21]:


Brian Rheaume [01:23:22]:

The remarkable power of giving people more than they expect. And it’s written for the restaurant industry, but there’s so much in that book that transcends to every business. So and just that line of giving people More Than They Expect is that did it for me. So that’s my one of my summer reading books. I’m not done with it yet, but it’s a fantastic book.

Jordan Berry [01:23:47]:

Yeah. I love that. I have not read that book actually, so I’m gonna put it on my put it on my list.

Brian Rheaume [01:23:53]:

Yep. That’s

Jordan Berry [01:23:53]:

good. And I’ll drop a link for anybody who wants it, in the show notes or if you’re on YouTube, it’s down below. So on your way to

Brian Rheaume [01:24:01]:

Chris Jones is in the restaurant business, and he said you need that book. It’ll work for your business.

Jordan Berry [01:24:07]:

Guys, if people want to get in contact with you, maybe they have questions for you, maybe they need Maybe they need the guru of laundromat layouts to, help them lay out a store, or they just have questions about how you’re building your business. Because like I said, I mean, most Most people are trying to get in and do what you guys are doing, and and are killing it. But people wanna contact you. What’s the best way they can get ahold of you?

Brian Rheaume [01:24:30]:

Website is my laundry for less.com. Email is [email protected].

Jordan Berry [01:24:39]:

Awesome. This is

Brian Rheaume [01:24:39]:

the best ways. Yep. And we’re on Instagram, Laundry For Less Connecticut.

Jordan Berry [01:24:43]:


Brian Rheaume [01:24:44]:


Jordan Berry [01:24:44]:

I’ll have links to all that stuff, in the show notes and the description on YouTube.

Melissa Rheaume [01:24:49]:

Cool. Thank you.

Jordan Berry [01:24:50]:

Nice. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Okay. Guys, you do you guys are you guys are a power couple. Just are, and I love it. Thank you guys so much for coming on the podcast, sharing so much your experience over the last couple years and and before that too.

Jordan Berry [01:25:07]:

But in in sharing I mean, particularly for me, personally, like, just hearing about your build out experience has been, it it was really good. I think it’s really helpful. I get so many people who ask me about, building out laundromats and what are some of the goals and some of the things to look at. So hearing about your experience, obviously, is gonna help them out. And so I really appreciate you guys coming on. Thanks so much. Alright.

Melissa Rheaume [01:25:30]:

Thank you

Jordan Berry [01:25:32]:

Thanks. Anytime. And when you get that store full of 100 pound machines,

Brian Rheaume [01:25:37]:

We’re gonna We’ll do is we’re

Jordan Berry [01:25:39]:

gonna get back

Brian Rheaume [01:25:39]:

on season 3.

Jordan Berry [01:25:41]:

We’ll you know what? We’ll do it. Yeah. We’ll do it live in that store. When Nice. Nice. I’ll come out. Forward to. Sweet.

Jordan Berry [01:25:49]:

Yeah. I’ll come out, and we’ll do it in that store. That’d be great. Deal. Sweet, guys. Appreciate you so much. Alright. Bye.

Jordan Berry [01:25:56]:

Alright. I hope you loved loved loved that interview with Brian Wilson. Like I said, so much good stuff in there and, you know, Again, the temptation is to just absorb all this content, to learn from them, and to get that, like, dopamine hit from learning something new or, you know, having new ideas stimulating your mind, which is great. However, Action is gonna pave the road to success for you. So pick something. Pick 1 thing and put it into action this week. Get out there and do it. You know, hit the pavement.

Jordan Berry [01:26:31]:

Whatever that looks like for you, pick 1 thing, put it into action. If you’re somebody who’s like, yeah, I need to take more action and you’re struggling to do that, maybe go to laundromatresource.com/ forums and share on the forum, hey, Here’s my action step. This is, what I’m going to do and have some accountability there from the rest of us, over there, so check that out over there. And for me, my big takeaway, I loved, when they’re talking about telling your story. Like, that is so good, and getting people to buy into your story is, I just that is like money in the bank right there, literally, but also in terms of just it being great advice. So, that’s my big takeaway for me. I’m looking for new ways to tell the story both with my laundromats, but also here at Lorna Med Resource because I’ve got big goals, big dreams, big ambitions, for this community and what we can do together. So super excited about that.

Jordan Berry [01:27:35]:

That’s my big takeaway. What’s yours? Go share it at laundromereresource.com/ forums. And even more importantly, get out there and go Get after it. Go do it. Alright. We’ll see you next week.

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Unlock the secrets of laundromat success! Join our Pro Community now to access expert insights, exclusive resources, a vibrant community, and more. Elevate your laundromat journey today!