Frank Buffington saw a great opportunity when a friend put a Laundromat in Halifax, PA up for sale in 2009. After careful consideration, he made the investment and became the sole owner of Village Laundry, while still maintaining a full time job.
Frank has faced a few challenges starting Village Laundry, as do most new owners. When he first purchased the business, there was a lot of maintenance work and up keep to do in order for the business to get a good start. There are currently no employees working for him so he maintains the Laundromat by himself. Frank was able to do this mostly on his own, which took a lot of time, but he knew it would pay off in the long-run.
The one thing that Frank didn’t know how to do on his own was identify ways to reduce the energy use at Village Laundry. Luckily, Frank was referred to the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through someone he knew. He worked closely with a SBDC EMAP consultant, Chuck Haney, to get his business started on the right path toward energy efficiency.
“The SBDC provided me with knowledge as to what improvements can be made for energy efficiency,” he said. The most helpful information Chuck provided was giving him knowledge about ways to save money. Chuck informed him about possible energy efficient upgrades and their payback times so he could prioritize his improvements. At the top of the list was a lighting upgrade. As soon as Frank found out how much he could save by changing the fluorescent lights to more efficient ones, he hired someone to replace them. The lighting project cost $1,443 and was eligible for a $700 utility rebate from PPL Electric Utilities, for a net cost of $743. In the first four months after the lighting upgrade, he has seen his total electric bill reduced by 34%, saving approximately $147 per month.
Similarly, Frank did not realize all the money he could save on his water and electricity bills if he replaced his washing machines with more efficient washing machines, which use less water and energy to operate. He replaced five washing machines and expects to see a savings of $28 per month.
The SBDC provided Frank with beneficial knowledge and support and he is very appreciative of the expert consulting he received on more efficient ways to operate his business. Not only did the SBDC save Frank time and money, he has gained a lot of knowledge and facts that he didn’t have before. By using fewer resources, such as water and electricity, Frank is not only helping the environment, he is improving his bottom line and maximizing his investment.