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Interview with Fausto Villalon, Domus Sales Manager with 30 years of EXPERIENCE IN THE LAUNDRY Business in North America

2021-11-23



Continuing our series of interviews of managers and representatives from the DOMUS offices around Spain and the world, today we are talking to Fausto Villalon, technician and salesperson with over thirty years of experience in the industrial and self-service laundry sectors across the United States.

 

We will talk about the industrial laundry equipment developed and manufactured by the brand for the American market and all the features which have made Domus a clear reference in the sector. Based in Miami, Domus Laundry USA is currently expanding and growing; this is the first time we have crossed the pond to talk to one of our international dealers.


 

1. Good morning Fausto Villalon. First of all, and for the benefit of our readers, I would like you to introduce the brand and tell me about the company's main lines of business in the American market today. 

 

- Domus Laundry USA is part of the Onnera Group branch in the United States. The Domus brand has been present in the country for three years, serving two sectors, On-Premise and Self-service, the latter being the market with the more important commercial opportunity.

 

The self-service business, or “Laundromats” as known here in the USA, generates 5 billion dollars a year. Today, there are around 35,000 laundromats nationwide. On average, each laundromat has 60 machines in a 260 m² area; some even have more than 100 machines in locations larger than 500 m². I think this is perhaps the most significant difference to the self-service laundry business in Europe.

 

2. DOMUS is known in the sector for developing machinery for efficient laundry and for being technologically very advanced. They have three main lines comprising washing machines, dryers, and flatwork ironers. What should we highlight in terms of energy efficiency and quality in the processes to your catalog of machinery?

 

- When you ask customers what they think the biggest problems facing the laundry business are, almost unanimously, the first answer is the cost of utilities.

 

Market trends are increasingly leaning towards machines that reduce water and energy consumption. The commitment of Domus to offering efficiency and sustainability as its main attributes has helped us increase our positioning in the highly competitive American market.

 

In the On-Premise business (OPL), there is a clear tendency to purchase machines that reduce the costs of utilities and increase productivity. In this sector, our machines are well-positioned.  

 

Although low-speed machines dominate the self-service business, we see a trend towards faster washers that reduce drying times.

 

As for our dryers in the self-service business, we see a trend where Domus offers an advantage over the competition. Our clients realize that they can save more in the long term because of the reversing drum standard, the airflow system, and the intelligent moisture control; these elements clearly justify investment in our equipment.

 

And it is not only about savings in energy, but also in time. Attracting and keeping new customers is essential for the laundromat business. The new generations of consumers prefer to spend less time at the laundromat; also, they are more attracted by the technology. In this respect, Domus has been a pioneer with the TOUCH II control.

 

3. Let's talk about the TOUCH II control. What did the arrival of the microprocessor mean for the laundry sector in the United States?. And, what are its strong points? 

 

- As I mentioned earlier, Domus is one of the forerunners of touchscreen controls in the US. The benefits of the TOUCH II control are straightforward.

 

TOUCH II is the most advanced control in the market. The exceptional technology and large 7 inches touchscreen increase user satisfaction and attract new customers of all ages. The automatic programming of special offers and time-of-day discounts are excellent benefits that Domus offers to the laundromat sector. Our customers also appreciate that the TOUCH II displays advertising or instructions videos on the screen.

 

Many clients of the hospitality business in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, applaud having 38 languages available on-screen, making machine use easier. And our equipment is the favorite for the WetCleaning business.

 

In addition, very soon, our customers will have access to DOMUS Connect for complete remote control, analysis, traceability, simple maintenance, and many other functions for managing their laundry business.


4. That clarified, tell us about the laundromat sector in the United States. This sector is growing sharply in Europe. Is it the same for the United States? 

- By the end of 2021, Laundromats expect the revenue to be at pre-pandemic levels. A recent study conducted by the Coin Laundry Association indicates that 25% of laundromat owners will change all or some of the machines in the next six months and 52% in the next two years.

 

Although the current rising in production and logistic costs affect everyone, the impact on our competitors is very noticeable. Our faster response capacity than the competitors and a better price-value ratio have helped us achieve greater participation during 2021.

 

We have increased and consolidated our network of dealers and presence in the United States and Canada. We are expanding our portfolio to offer more solutions to the market. Soon, we will have large capacity washing machines and dryers, and we will also launch Domus Connect.

 

At Domus USA, we will close the year with an unprecedented turnover and are optimistic about 2022, which we think will be even better.

5. We have seen that the company also has a professional line of machinery called Heavy Professional in the United States. What are the differences between this and the industrial line?

 

The Heavy Professional Laundry line is specifically designed for companies looking for robust, programmable, and efficient washer-extractors, similar to the industrial models, but of a more manageable size and at a more affordable price.

 

In the long run, domestic washing machines turn out to be more expensive because they are not ready for heavy-duty work. Investing in a robust machine designed for more demanding performance is preferable to having to repair or replace your washer every year.

 

Although these machines have proved excellent in veterinary clinics, B&Bs, spas, hairdressing salons, restaurants, and retirement homes, the price-value ratio and the easy installation of these washers have been well received in the self-service business.

 

6. To wind up, we'd like to talk a little about how, from the point of view of health and legislation in the US, the pandemic situation of the past two years has affected the industrial laundry sector. What elements does the DOMUS machinery have to ensure a maximum level of hygiene and disinfection? 

In the United States, laundromats were declared essential businesses because they play a fundamental role in communities, especially those with limited resources. Washing clothes regularly prevents the spread of the disease as the virus can survive in fabrics for up to 3 days.

 

Thanks to the additional measures taken to ensure that laundromats were safe, clean, and complied with the government guidelines, the public continued having access to these services.

The Domus machines wash clothes at a temperature of at least 140 °F (60 °C), and the hotter the wash, the better. Viruses do not like heat, so using the Domus dryers helps prevent the spread of the disease even more.

 

We detected an opportunity to help reduce the impact of the disease in another segment of the population that was severely affected by the pandemic, the retirements homes for the elderly and community health centers. These centers need to prevent any contact between dirty linen and clean linen. In this respect, the range of Domus barrier washers stands out for its advanced technology, easy installation, and excellent price. As a result, we have been accelerating the certification process to offer these shortly in North America.

 

And that brings us to the end. We wish you, and all the DOMUS branches, a successful 2022 with plenty of sales. It has been a pleasure to have a few minutes to talk to you.

 

To contact the company in Miami, just take a few seconds to fill in the contact form, send an e-mail to us.marketing@onneragroup.com, or call them on (305) 477-1680. They will support you throughout the purchasing process and offer advice about the washing machine, dryer, or flatwork ironer that best meets the daily requirements of your laundry. Choosing DOMUS is selecting a company of reference for industrial laundries in the United States also. Don't hesitate!

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