There are a few stores that most every urban area needs. One of them is a laundromat. So when Tyesha Offiong decided to leave her career in corporate America to become an entrepreneur, she picked a somewhat practical business to go into. But her A&Q Laundry Room is anything but common. She and her partner, husband Emmanuel, turned their laundromat into more than a place just to wash clothes; it is a place to mingle. ?We are a coin-operated, self-service community laundry room where people can come and socialize with family/friends while doing laundry,? says Tyesha, who used her own funds and a loan from the distributor to launch the startup.
?I have always wanted to own my own business where I felt I could make a difference in the community. The idea of having a flexible schedule that would allow me to be able to spend more time with family was important as well. But most of all, I enjoy networking, helping and providing quality service to people,? says Tyesha. ?As a wife, and mom of two young children, I realized that my very demanding position in the corporate world would not allow me the flexibility I wanted to spend time with my family. So I had a choice to make. I believed owning my own business was the only way for me to balance home life while still contributing financially.?
The couple did have a few startup challenges. ?The challenges we faced were finding the right location, determining the right distributor and choosing the right equipment based on our needs. But most importantly, we had to gain the trust of the community and rebuild customer loyalty to our location,? shares Tyesha.
Luckily, the two were prepared for all the other ups and downs of entrepreneurship. ?Honestly, there have not been many surprises along the way because I spent a great deal of time researching and networking with people in the industry prior to starting my business. However, the one surprise that does stick out is the challenge of finding and retaining the right employee that shares the same vision of customer service as I do,? she says.
The venture has allowed her and her husband to work together. ?I enjoy working with my husband, Emmanuel. His role is more behind the scenes and technical. I, on the other hand, enjoy socializing with the people in the community. They keep me grounded in the choices I make to enhance their experiences in A&Q Laundry Room. He keeps me grounded from the business perspective. Therefore, our partnership works well,? says Tyesha.
And now the couple is already thinking about the next A&Q Laundry Room location.