Laundry Equipment is growing business
One of the fastest growing companies in the county that most people have never heard of is Laundry Equipment Services, Inc.
“Since we moved to Morgan County, we have had 22% to 25% growth every year,” Owner and President Steve Clark said.
Laundry Equipment Services sells, maintains and provides parts for commercial and industrial laundry operations and laundromats in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.
Clark, who founded the business 21 years ago, worked for Echo Labs in Martinsburg where chemical products for commercial and industrial dishwashers and washing machines were made.
After fixing and maintaining commercial and industrial laundry equipment for four years, he decided to start his own business.
Originally, located in Jefferson County. Clark moved the business to Morgan County in 2003 to a farm near Unger.
Since then he has opened a second location on U.S. 522 south near Ace Hardware. The company employs 17 people including 10 from Morgan County.
His son Cameron, a recent Business Administration graduate of West Virginia University, is now working full time helping his father manage the company.
“We sell and service the equipment and sell parts. We are basically a business that runs like a car dealership,” Cameron Clark said.
Another company business is building laundromats.
“We have built laundromats in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cumberland, Sterling and Virginia Beach as well as other locations. We have built over 100 laundromats for other people,” Clark said.
“These are not your run-of-the-mill mom and pop laundromats, but ones that cost $1 million to $1.5 million and are turnkey operations,” he said.
The company also revamps older laundromats and resells them.
As for investing in the laundromat business, Clark said, “When you own a McDonalds, you own labor and four walls. When you own a laundromat, you own assets and four walls, and that’s the difference.”
He said the return on investment is three–four years, but to make a good profit you need to own four or five laundromats.
“We have the largest service force on the East Coast for what we do,” Cameron Clark said.
A number of floral businesses are among their customers.
Steve Clark said he moved the company from Jefferson to Morgan County because of the better business environment here.
He credits local businessmen Arnie Stotler of CNB Bank, Inc. and Matt Close of Close CPAs with helping him plan and grow the business.
“It really, truly does help doing business in a small town,” Clark said.