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Laundry & College Life

When Cory Perlson entered the University of Arizona as a freshman in 2006, he had no idea that a year later his main concern would be laundry.  After all, how many teenagers even do their own laundry?  This nineteen-year-old however, isn’t a ‘typical’ teenager.  He is not only doing his laundry, he doing up to 1200 pounds of laundry a day since launching his business AZ Laundry with three college buddies, Turner Binkley, Phil Lauterbach, and Stephen Goldstein.

AZ Laundry provides laundry, folding, and dry cleaning services for the University of Arizona community with the help of just one truck for pick-ups and deliveries both on and off campus.  Located 5 blocks from the university, the facility is situated on land that Perlson rents from Sparkle Dry Cleaning with whom he subcontracts to provide dry cleaning services.

“My partners and I came up with the idea for AZ Laundry in January, 2007,” says Perlson. “From an initial brainstorming session, we tried to figure out a service that students needed and that we could provide. All of us are interested in starting businesses of our own.”  Then the idea took on a life of its own.

With laundry piling up around them, limited washer and dryer capacity in the dorms and no cars to take them to the nearest laundromat which was a long walk in the hot Arizona sun, it became clear that a pickup and delivery laundry service was sorely needed on campus.

The group obtained permission from the university and acquired start up capital through website advertising at their site www.azlaundry.com.  Then, with the help of 30 close friends who volunteered to come out at 7am for a week during freshmen move-in to spread the word, the laundry was ready for its grand opening – only seven months later.

Some might say that even though this teenager’s major is media business communications – suds are in his blood.  His father owns Carnegie Cleaners, a cleaning and dry cleaning business, based in the Bronx, New York.  “When I was younger I spent time with my father,” he says.  “And my grandfather and great grandfather were also in the business. So I just stared a lot younger.”

Perlson’s original goal was 30 clients for which he would outsource work to local laundries and he would pick up at night.  But as the clientele grew to over 100 clients it made sense to have his own facility.  AZ Laundry is small but handles the needs of over 200 university students and some university departments. The facility operates with one 100-pound Unimac washer, one 65-pound Unimac washer, a 150-pound Cissell dryer, two double stack 35-pound Huebsch dryers.

“If a student needs laundry done they call our 800 number or one of our four driver’s cell phones,” says Perlson.  The drivers, who are students, are usually there in 15 minutes to pick up laundry Monday to Friday, all day, and on weekends. Turnaround is guaranteed within 24 hours. 

AZ Laundry uses a Cleanmax system whereby each laundry bag is bar coded.  The laundry employs three laundry workers who begin work between four and six in the morning and are out at around 4pm.  Laundry is usually delivered by 7pm.  Perlson offers students several different payment option plans; semester, half semester, yearly or pay per wash, the details of which are all outlined on their website at www.azlaundry.com The cost per student works out to about $1.08 or $1.25 per pound which is fairly standard, according to Perlson.

The business is now finally starting to run itself and the days of working up to 70 hours a week on top of a school workload are gone. 

“I would have to say that our customers seem pretty satisfied with our business, as they have all signed contracts for the whole semester and in some cases, even the whole year,” says Perlson.

“Things are going great now, but we are still looking at ways of improving our business and, of course, expand it. We are already in the process of starting a new operation at Arizona State University and even some Southern California schools.  If we have the same luck we've been having, there's no doubt in any of our minds that we can succeed in colleges outside of the University of Arizona.”

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Emerald Textiles Chosen As Linen Services Provider For Eisenhower Medical Center

SAN DIEGO, Ca. — Emerald Textiles™, a Southern California commercial healthcare laundry provider, announced its selection as exclusive vendor of linen rentals and services for Eisenhower Medical Center. Emerald Textiles operates a technologically-advanced commercial laundry facility that saves the county of San Diego more than 700,000 therms of natural gas and expects to save 40,000,000 gallons of water annually.

“We are pleased with the quality and cleanliness that Emerald is providing and proud to work with a provider who is focused on sustainability and the environment,” said Dana Francis, director of environmental services for Eisenhower Medical Center. “Since Emerald began managing our linen services, we have happier employees and patients.”

Emerald recently received the SDG&E Savings by Design Award, in recognition for its advanced design and extreme energy efficiency. Savings by Design is an award created by the California Public Utilities Commission and San Diego Gas & Electric