Wascomat Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Two Top Dealers!
February 3, 2009, Inwood, New York – Wascomat recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of two of its loyal dealers: Sav-A-Day Laundry Machinery, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri and Arrow Machinery Company in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “Wascomat would like to congratulate Sav-A-Day and Arrow Machinery on their years of success,” states Howard Herman, President of Wascomat. “We thank them for 50 years of commitment, professionalism, and friendship.”
Sav-A-Day Laundry Machinery
Founded in 1958 by Floyd Seele and currently owned by son Jeff, Sav-A-Day has supplied coin laundries, multi-family housing, nursing homes, hotels, motels, schools, country clubs, and government and correctional facilities with quality commercial laundry equipment and accessories for half a century. “As a second generation store owner in our 50th year, we have seen many ups and downs,” shares Jeff Seele. “But the laundry business is quite recession-resistant. Since laundry is a weekly, repetitive and necessary task, it doesn’t seem to be affected as sharply as other retail businesses.” Over the years, Jeff has noticed that new families on a tight budget find laundromats a great value. “In many cases, if their washer breaks down – rather than incurring the cost of repair or buying a new machine, they try out a laundromat. Once they experience a well-equipped, friendly, and clean store with all size front loaders, many find themselves a regular customer – either self service or wash-dry-fold.”
In the late 1950s, Floyd Seele held a contest to help name his first two laundromats. Several customers pointed out that instead of doing 7-8 loads of laundry a week at home in 11-12 hours, they could save tons of time by going to the laundromat – which gave Floyd the inspiration for his company name and slogan: Sav-A-Day – More Time to Play the Sav-A-Day Way.
The goal at this years’ 50th Anniversary event was to showcase the latest energy efficient products and let customers gain hands-on experience with the new Wascomat compass control washers. Held at Sav-A-Day’s headquarters in St. Louis at their 13,000 square-foot facility, Sav-A-Day treated customers to live displays, refreshments and lunch, as well as a service school. Wascomat Regional Business Manager Wayne Finley talked to store owners about retooling and Sav-A-Day raffled off prizes such as shirts, tools, carts, and even gasoline gift cards. They had about 50 people attend, with some driving up to 250 miles to get there. “Our open house is always the most attended in the area,” states Sav-a-Day President Jeff Seele. “Customers really look forward to the event and look at it as a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.”
Overall sales for the event were up from last year. “The people who attended were good buyers,” states Jeff. “Serious store owners know the need for high-efficient and dependable equipment and the tax benefits to regularly upgrading existing equipment is a must for the long term.”
Arrow Machinery Company
Arrow Machinery President Deborah Clark grew up in the laundry business with her father, Bill Cunningham and has presided over the business for over a decade. In the mid-1950s, after moving from Texas to Oklahoma while employed by Hammond Machinery Company, Bill Cunnigham decided to open his own distributorship. At first, the company dealt mostly in dry cleaning and on-premises commercial laundry equipment, but Bill became more and more interested in the coin industry. Bill worked out of the family home and inventoried washers in the garage. Before he knew it, he owned several small unattended coin laundries in the Oklahoma City area. “We spent our weekends collecting and counting dimes and quarters and cleaning the laundries,” recalls Deborah.
The distributorship was basically a one-man show, as Bill single-handedly did the selling, delivering, and maintaining of the equipment. In 1961, Bill purchased the company’s current place of business, hired a dozen employees and Arrow was born. Deborah started working for Arrow on summer vacations at the age of 15 and joined the Arrow team full-time when she was 22. In January of 1994, Bill Cunningham became ill and Deborah took over as president of the company. Sadly, Bill passed away the next year, however he left behind a highly successful business and quite a legacy. Today, Deborah continues in her father’s footsteps with the help of a professional and loyal staff: Ken Knodel, Monte Potts, Glenda Newman, Mark White, Joel Nephew, and Kerby Rankin.
“A lot has changed over the years. Our company is half the size it was when my father ran the company, and yet with technological advances and new ways of doing business, we are able to service and sell a lot more equipment. The equipment has changed and improved, too. We don’t sell top loaders to coin laundries, only front-load,” states
Deborah. “We have a great partnership with Wascomat. They make high-quality and energy efficient equipment which makes our jobs easier, and they are reliable and built to last – just like Arrow!”
“We congratulate Arrow and Sav-A-Day on their tremendous accomplishments,” states Howard Herman, Wascomat President. “We have been fortunate to work with them all these years, and we look forward to another 50! We too have dedicated employees who have worked for Wascomat for up to 45 years and are still committed to providing the best possible products and services. It’s because we all believe in what we do and in the products we sell. That kind of enthusiasm and dedication makes all the difference.”
Wascomat made its first washer in 1902 and has installed over a million in North America alone. The company delivers state-of-the-art commercial laundry and wetcleaning equipment, as well as financing solutions and business planning support. Wascomat is renowned for exceptional service and its products are engineered for quality, durability, and water and energy efficiency. Wascomat will be introducing new products and showcasing its latest innovations at the Clean Show in June 2009.