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The first UK Speed Queen branded launderette opens in Ilford

The first UK Speed Queen branded launderette opens in Ilford

Speed Queen Launderette in Ilford

Speed Queen branded launderettes are already becoming a familiar sight in many European countries, thanks to an investor programme run by Alliance Laundry Systems, the world largest commercial laundry manufacturer.  June saw the opening of the first one in the UK in Ilford, East London, owned by Tharmalingam Senthuran, known locally as Senthu.  From the time that he first filled in his on-line application form the whole project has been managed by Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems who sell Alliance equipment in the UK, with territory manager Simon Rawle taking charge.

The new launderette, in a busy parade of shops alongside the A12 close to Gants Hill underground station looks clean, modern and attractive.  It is not attended, so no service washes are offered, but there is a telephone number prominently displayed in case anyone needs help – but so far Senthu tells us this has not been needed.  It is open from 9.00am to 10.00pm daily and is opened and closed by the shift staff from a nearby convenience store, also owned by Senthu.  The site is equipped with four 9kg and one 18kg washers and three stacked tumble dryers – giving six 13.6kg machines – and one 20.4kg dryer.   Prices and machine instructions are very clearly and simply displayed and there is a detergent and softener dispenser.  All the machines are built into the wall but all are accessible from behind via a staff only area for servicing and maintenance.

“Since we opened, the level of business has really exceeded my expectations”, Senthu told us.  “Sometimes at weekends there are people queuing up for machines, and at least one local hotel has started to use the unit.  This area is largely residential, with a lot of new flats being built, and I expect even more business come the winter with people wanting to dry their laundry.”

Senthu arrived in the UK from Sri Lanka in 2001, initially living in East Ham and then moving to Gants Hill where there is a large Sir Lanka community.  The son of a businessman in Sri Lanka, Senthu now owns a string of retail premises in the area including a 24-hour convenience store, a take-away, a restaurant, an off-licence, a travel agent and a barbers and calls himself “a serial entrepreneur”!  But this is his first venture into the launderette business, and he says that the help and advice he has received from Armstrong has been invaluable. “The whole project took more than a year, with various regulations having to be dealt with including change of use as the premises was previously an off-licence”, he said.  “But Simon has been there every step of the way and nothing has been too much trouble, no matter what time of the day I called him, he always picked up and was able to help.  Dealing with Armstrong has been a real pleasure.”

Tom Lowes, director of Armstrong, said “We are delighted to have been involved in the setting up of this, the UK’s first Speed Queen launderette and have been extremely impressed with Senthu’s thoroughness and commitment to the project.  We are looking forward to more of these opening, replicating the success that the concept is having in Europe.”

For further information on our commercial laundry equipment, contact us and see how we can advise you to best suit your business.

What our clients say...

  • “Our machines have come from several suppliers – there is a big difference in the standards of support we receive and Armstrong gets 10 out of 10 – their service has been consistently excellent over several years and when you’re as busy as we are, that’s very important.”

    Jacqui Butler

  • “It’s important to get the right equipment for the job, too small and it won’t do it properly, too big and you are wasting money, energy and space. It is also important to deal with a company you trust to supply reliable equipment and give you the support you need. As expected, the installation went smoothly, we have never had the slightest problem and I know Armstrong will deal with it if we do.”

    Colin Farquharson, St Ermin’s Hotel

  • “Our relationship with Armstrong goes back a long way, and they continue to give us excellent service and extremely reliable equipment.”

    Suzy Brandwood, The Elms School

  • “On average the equipment is working 14 hours a day throughout the week.  The new dryers are brilliant, easy to use, efficient and reliable!”

    Wendy Clayton, Chepstow Nursing & Care Home

  • “The machines are kept very busy, work well and have been very reliable.”

    Fr Oliver, Douai Abbey

  • “That’s the thing with Armstrong, if you ask for service you get it – quickly.  We know we can rely on them which is really important as the speed and quality of the laundry is vital to the hotel.”

    James Suter, The Gliffae Country House Hotel

  • “As before I am delighted with the dryers, they are really efficient and reliable and the customers find them very easy to use.”

    Shaid Aziz, Bright Wash Launderette

  • “We’re delighted with the new dryer. We pride ourselves on a very personal level of care here, keeping up with the laundry and it all coming out looking good is an important aspect of this care and this machine has been excellent since it was installed.”

    Marilyn Collins, Oaklands Care Home