Something New is Afoot

By James Whitmore, CLA Member posted 11-30-2017 13:29

If you’re reading this, you are – simply by virtue of doing so – among the cream of the crop. You are someone who is willing to dig deep to find every little nugget that can further reinforce your commitment to your chosen place in our industry.

More importantly, it illuminates that you are someone who cares – cares enough to go that extra mile in service to something bigger than yourself. Good work.

No… great work!

This year, dozens of volunteers – Coin Laundry Association Board members, associates and CLA staff members – worked beyond reasonableness, digging into every aspect of this industry’s trade organization, with the intent to make a good thing great.

Their motivation? You and the people you serve. These special women and men of the CLA play to win in everything they do. Like you, they’re also the cream of the crop, selected from all corners of North America – great individuals dedicated to an industry that serves tens of millions of people from all walks of life and provides a most basic need: clean clothes.

And, something new is afoot, as the CLA reinvents itself – we are discovering our industry’s place within the broader social fabric, beyond simply washers, dryers and vending machines in a storefront. Vended laundries are emerging as a meeting place, a community hub, a nexus of human-to-human interaction at the rawest, most local level. We are revealing to ourselves an entirely new way in which to relate to the people we serve.

Aided by our partners at the LaundryCares Foundation and encouraged by the incredible success of recent Free Laundry Day events, store owners and volunteers are finding that there is so much more to the local laundromat than merely the next quarter drop or credit card swipe. This is rocket fuel – high-powered motivation to do our work at a level of impact never before considered… until now. Collectively, we are coming to understand that, on a quite profound level, our work, who we are and what we do can and does make a difference!

This rocket fuel can be used in many ways. With our expanded sense of purpose and mission, and with the knowledge of our valuable place in the dense and rich social fabric of our greater communities, it follows that how we interact, connect and impact our environment is part and parcel with our service to the community. For example, the water we consume, the emissions we produce and the waste water we emit are responsibilities we must own.

Certainly, high-efficiency washers and dryers play a key role in our greater responsibility (and, coincidentally, increased profitability). But there is more to the story. Within the coming year, incoming CLA Director Lisa White and Tim Greiner of Pure Strategies will be looking more deeply into who we are, and even more importantly, who we can become as an association of laundry owners, distributors and manufacturers in the discipline of near-term and long-term sustainability.

Our relationship to the greater environment is inextricably woven into the fabric of our communities. We can reinvent ourselves as relevant leaders of our industry only if all aspects and impacts of what we do, who we are and how we serve are incorporated into our efforts. The communities we serve are broad in so many ways – socioeconomically, demographically and culturally. Our common interests bind us together. That is our job… we are the meeting place. We are the CLA!


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