D-Express laundry services begin work on new location in Wesleyville

Some people can hardly stand the thought of walking past an amusement park without stopping for a visit.

Others are drawn to the zoo in the city they travel to. Some wouldn’t dream of visiting a Major League city without trying to catch a game.

Ankur Shah, from Erie, understands these urges. For him, it’s the laundromats.

“Every time I go somewhere I’ll go to the local laundromat to see what they’re up to,” he said.

Shah said he is always happy to compare what he sees with the D-Express laundry services, located at the northeast corner of West 12th Street and Powell Avenue in Millcreek Township, which he opened in April 2020 with his partner Kevin Kujan.

Shah isn’t just looking for reassurance when evaluating others in the coin-operated laundry business. He is looking for ideas and making plans for his next location.

Even before D-Express laundry services opened, Shah predicted it would be the first in a long series.

Today, 19 months later, demolition is underway for a second larger location on the site of what used to be the Train Shop at 3310 Buffalo Road in Wesleyville.

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Shah, who has experience in the hospitality industry, and his partner, who has a background in construction, are proud of their first laundromat, located in what used to be an abandoned Shell station and convenience store.

“Things have been great,” he said. “It took a little while for people to know we were here, but it has been great over the past 12 months. The business continues to improve.”

This success helped them decide that now is the time to grow.

Business partners Kevin Kujan, left, and Ankur Shah walk through a retail building undergoing renovations to become another D-Express laundry last week in Wesleyville.  The new east side location will be approximately 3,400 square feet, almost double the size of the original laundry room, located on 12th Street West at Powell Avenue in Millcreek Township.

Finding and purchasing a second location presented its fair share of challenges.

Originally, the two partners were interested in the former property of Lakeside Auto in the Township of Harborcreek. When that deal broke, they instead bought the old train store for $ 170,000.

A sewer inspection revealed problems with tree roots that had damaged the sewer lines. While these issues are being addressed, demolition was underway last week to make way for major renovations.

This second location will be larger than the first on 12th Street, 3,500 square feet compared to approximately 2,000 square feet. While the Millcreek Township location includes 19 washing machines and 24 dryers, the Wesleyville location will offer more machines.

Ankur Shah, owner of D-Express Laundry, is featured on April 23, 2020 in the Millcreek Township Company. [JACK HANRAHAN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS]

As in the other location, customers will be able to pay with coins or by using an app on their mobile devices that will also allow them to track their laundry progress.

Washers and dryers won’t be the only technology on display.

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“We have the best cameras in our locations,” Shah said. “It’s almost like a bank. The images are very clear. We want people to feel very safe.”

All of these new machines, along with other upgrades including improved HVAC and electrical service, will come at a price. The partners, who have secured funding from ErieBank and the Erie County Redevelopment Authority’s finance and loan office, say the project price will likely exceed $ 1 million.

Technology is just a selling point.

Above all, Shah said, their business emphasizes one of the world’s most traditional virtues.

Nothing is more important than cleanliness, he says.

“To me, when you go to a laundromat, you go as a customer to clean something. It’s counterproductive to go clean somewhere that isn’t.”

Laundromats and laundromats are a big business in the United States with annual revenues of around $ 5 billion. But success is not guaranteed. In fact, a Article 2017 in The Atlantic, reported that 20% of all US laundries had closed in the previous 12 years.

The owners of D-Express Laundry Services say they are not affected.

Shah said he is confident that the successful business in Millcreek Township will work just as well in Wesleyville. He and Kujan hope success will eventually lead them to step up from their business.

“This location will not be our last location,” Shah said. “We will grow up.”

Contact Jim Martin at 814-870-1668 or [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @ETNMartin.

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