This industry classification covers establishments primarily engaged in the operation of coin-operated or other self-service laundry and dry cleaning equipment either for use on the premises or in apartments, dormitories, and similar locations. These include establishments known as laundromats, launderettes, and self-service dry cleaners. It also includes establishments primarily engaged in installing and operating coin-operated laundry equipment in apartments, dormitories, and similar locations.
Coin-Operated Laundries and Dry Cleaners
The number of coin-operated laundries and dry-cleaning establishments in the United States reached a peak of 13,883 in 1997 before declining to 12,185 by 2002, slightly lower than the 12,500 businesses that existed for much of the 1990s, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Prior to 1992, the number of establishments hovered between 11,000 and 12,000. Of these, the overwhelming majority were primarily engaged in the operation of coin-operated or similar self-service laundry and/or dry-cleaning equipment on their own premises Less than 1,000 were estimated as primarily engaged in installing and operating coin-operated laundry equipment in apartments, dormitories, and similar locations. By 2002, these establishments employed more than 46,000 workers, down from a high of 53,023 in 1997, but had an increase in total revenue, reaching $3.47 billion, compared to $2.8 billion at the end of the 1990s.
Although the coin-operated laundry and dry-cleaning industry is highly fragmented, the clear industry leader is Plainview, New York-based Coinmach Laundry Corporation, with more than 870,000 machines in the United States and more than 160 Kwik Wash laundromats, which it acquired in the 1990s, for apartment residents and management companies in Arizona and Texas. In fiscal year 2004, the company grew at a rate of 0.8 percent, with sales of $531 million, and 2,003 employees, which represented a growth of 0.5 percent. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Mac-Gray Corporation was also an industry leader, operating debit card and coin-operated washers and dryers in some 45,000 apartments, dorms, and other facilities in 40 states. Mac-Gray reported $182.7 million in sales and had 720 employees in fiscal 2004.
This industry has been quick to embrace technological innovations. The former Solon Automated Services, Incorporated pioneered the use of IBM's...