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EZ does it

Putting a different spin on laundromats


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EZ New Web Laundromat & CafeMarion Illies has seen a lot of laundry. As head of C. Illies & Company, her family's trading and information technology business, Illies has traveled all over the world. During those extended trips, Illies washed her clothes at a self-service laundry. No matter where she was, each laundromat was usually the same: dirty, grimy and boring. So Illies developed EZ New Web Laundromat & Cafe, a place where customers might actually enjoy getting the wash done.

Located in Culver City, California, EZ is a place where customers can sip a latte or check e-mail while their laundry is in the spin cycle. The franchise is a hybrid cafŽ-Laundromat, with rows of debit-card-operated washer and dryer machines.

Illies settled on a simple sandwich and coffee shop that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner items like salads, paninis, cereal, breakfast burritos and specialty coffee drinks. Customers can use the store's computer kiosks and the Wi-Fi.

 

At a glance...

Initial Investment: $400,000 to $2.8 million (depends on location and market, franchisee decides to lease or own the property)

Franchise fee: $37,000

Royalty: 6 percent

Advertising fee:
$2,000 (initial for local marketing, guerilla campaign)

Illies said the colorful design of EZ's interior - highlighted by a big mural of a cartoon monkey - is geared toward a hip, young demographic and meant to turn EZ from just a laundromat/cyber cafŽ into a cultural hangout. Since it is located near the hub of Hollywood, the shop has been featured on numerous television shows such as "The Tyra Banks Show," and served as a backdrop on an episode of HBO's "Entourage."

EZ is not the first Laundromat to try multiple concepts under a single banner - Illies has seen laundries paired with a Subway shop and tanning services.

EZ separates itself by pairing the laundry with a basic concept that isn't completely unrelated.

"If you don't keep it simple, (people) don't get it," she says.

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