Rendezvous with halifax laundry – Canada Small Business Series

01 Apr. 21
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Small businesses make up the heart and soul of Canada’s economy.

Let’s Nurture has recently launched a project to celebrate small businesses across the country.

This month, we had the opportunity to meet with the owners of Nova Scotia’s, Halifax Laundry Co. We got to learn about how they stay connected with the Halifax community and have fun while doing it.

The newest laundromat in Halifax opened its doors in June of 2020 by owners, Angela Muise and David Murray. Over the last nine months, these two have put their heart and soul into this newly renovated nook with shiny floors, new machines and that fresh laundry scent.

Muise and Murray actively work to provide a clean and safe space for all customers and their belongings. The Halifax Laundry Co is pet-friendly and continues to offer the tradition of free soap on Sundays! More information can be found on their website

https://www.halifaxlaundry.co/

“Not your average laundromat!”

 

“We want to put a literal smile on our business so that people understand that we really care about this community and the safety of our customers.” – Muise & Murray

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021
Name: Angela Muise & David Murray
Name of Business & Location: Halifax Laundry Co, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Q: How did the Halifax Laundry Co come to be?

David: By accident! It was April last year and we were out on a nightly walk because that’s all there was to do them and we saw this “For Sale” sign in the window.
Angela: We had a soft spot for the old laundromat in this space but it definitely needed some repairs so we thought, well we can do that. We brought back its old charm!

Angela: We are actively trying to maintain a good professional reputation. Our biggest thing is providing a clean, simple and safe space for our customers. There are a lot of millennial laundromat owners that we are in contact with. The online communities are amazing. We engage with owners in San Francisco, Australia and even Germany. There’s people from all walks of life and it’s great to see how passionate people can be in this industry.

Angela: We are planning to open a second location. We’re not sure where yet we’re still doing some research but for sure in HRM. We want to introduce an app-payment option at the next location.

How many employees do you have?

Angela: Just us two!
That’s awesome!

So you mentioned an app-payment for a future option but what online programs are you currently using?

David: We found that laundromats don’t typically have websites and if they do they’re much older. We decided that we needed to have an eye-catching website but also a simple one that gives people the information that they need.

Angela: Prices, address, hours, and what people need to bring with them. We get a lot of calls asking if we sell soap or make a change so we needed that information to be easily accessible.

Angela: Google My Business has made the biggest impact on our business. We haven’t used Google Ad services yet because we haven’t needed to. We wanted to see what the natural flow and demand from our immediate community would be first. We’re not even a full year in yet so we’re still figuring that out. Other than that, social media we use Instagram. We hardly use Facebook.

David: We have a Facebook page but we don’t typically engage with it.

When choosing these programs, what were the main deciding factors for you?

Angela: Ease of use was definitely a factor and just our overall familiarity with the program. We created our website through Wix because I have a lot of experience in building sites through Wix. Same with Instagram. Neither of us really use Facebook.

Angela: Starting a business in the middle of a pandemic we weren’t sure how it was going to take off but we are lucky we have been able to. We didn’t start off with a huge budget for any online marketing.

How much of your budget is used for online services?

David: A very small percentage I think less than 5%.

Angela: Because Instagram and Google My Business have made the biggest impact, we haven’t had to pay anything yet. We have a lot of people regularly engaging with us through Instagram just with stories and some direct messages.

Angela: We haven’t run any Google ads yet but we probably will in the future.
That’s great. I notice the reviews on your website and people appreciate how fast you respond to inquiries.

Angela: Thank you! I work part-time at my other job so that allows me to put a personal touch on building that report.

That’s wonderful. I imagine people don’t typically expect that from a laundromat.

Angela: No, not at all. We are all about building our community. Yes, we’re providing a service but it’s way more about building a safe space in our community than anything else. People need to feel comfortable and safe when they’re here.

What is the message that you want to send to people visiting your website for the first time?

David: That we are not a regular laundromat.

Angela: We’re not the scary laundromat that you saw in a movie.

David: We want to challenge peoples’ expectations before they even step foot in here and get people excited.

Angela: We also want people to know that there are real humans behind this unattended space. Unattended but not unsupervised!

Angela: We want to put a literal smile on the business even though we’re not here so that people can get the sense that we really do care about the community and the safety of their belongings.

Is there a downfall to any of the programs you are currently using?

David: We did have a big problem with our Google listing when we first opened. Even after we took over the listing from the previous owner, we could not update the phone number on Google for seven months.

Angela: Every time someone tried to call us through Google they were directed to the previous owner’s phone instead which was a challenge for our reputation of having good communication with our customers.

Wow, that is a long time.

Angela: Yes, I was worried about the reception of those calls because I’m very focused on the image of our business whether we are here or not. We definitely would have liked to have been able to manage those first contact relationships ourselves.

What has been the biggest takeaway from opening and running a business in 2020?

David: It’s hard to say because we don’t have any context from before.

Angela: Yes, this is our first business!

David: People ask us if Covid has impacted our business and we have no idea because we didn’t open until June 2020.

Wow, fair enough.

Angela: We’re looking forward to seeing how the summer season and Airbnb industry impact our business.

David: I’m excited to find out!

Angela: We are very lucky to have a business that is essentially pandemic proof.

Are there other small business owners in Halifax that you two consider to be role models?

Angela: We are lucky to have some really great business owners in our immediate community who have supported us from the beginning. The first call we made before we opened was to our next-door neighbor, Jake at Sourwood. I also have a lot of respect for Kate at Tare Shop.
David: They are both great role models for how to be good citizens in this community as business owners.

What do you two miss most about pre-pandemic Halifax?

Angela: I miss going to live music events and concerts around the city.

David: Yes, I definitely miss community events like Open City.

What is a fun fact about your business?

Angela: We offer free soap on Sundays to all of our customers!

David: It’s great stuff too. Canadian made soap from a company called Nellie’s.

Angela: Their whole idea is laundry soda instead of detergent because they don’t support the idea of shipping water all around the world. We already use so much water here so we try our best not to waste any more.

David: Something else is that our logo is an ambigram so no matter which way you look at it, it reads, Halifax Laundry Co.

Angela: We would love to sell t-shirts and frisbees with our logo on them.
David: That logo was the biggest part of our marketing budget but definitely worth it.

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