|Posted by Anne Siren on April 4, 2013 at 6:40 AM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
“Customer service is my mantra,” admits Katrina Humbles owner of this state-of-the-art laundry which welcomes patrons with many new features seldom found in other self service laundromats. “Please call me Katrina,” she says in a pleasant Irish brogue. “We opened officially at 3560 N. Andrews Ave., Oakland Park, on January 14, 2012, and we were so lucky to get Tracy Wilson back. She had actually worked here before the entire plaza went bankrupt.
“She and her two grown children came back to work for me. I couldn’t be happier. They’re hardworking, pleasant and they know the business and many of our customers. That’s important because this a real family neighborhood business. We do everything in our power to keep our customers happy.”
“We’re open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. so we have three shifts. Tracy’s son Reggie takes the night shift to keep customers feeling safe. He walks our ladies to their cars, helps them stash their laundry and waits until they are locked in before he walks away.”
Eager to list the many amenities in her business, Katrina says, “We have 64 washing machines and 64 driers. Our 80-pound machine, which washes up to 8 loads at one time, is seldom found in laundry mats. We have six, 60-pound machines which wash six loads at one time. These heavy duty machines are our busiest because they are discounted frequently and those with large families take advantage of our sale promotions.”
Kerry Laundry Mart offers wash and fold service, dry cleaning for very competitive prices, alterations plus an internet café with computer stations and free WiFi. Very soon the owner hopes to have a small café with coffee, doughnuts and muffins. In the meantime, there are a variety of vendor machines for those who are hungry and thirsty.
This petite, Irish lass is very promotional. She says, “We do free raffles at every holiday. Our next will be May Day. I have a mailing list of over 1,000 patrons and I text them often to alert them to weekly specials on the machines. We’re trying to shift some of our busy weekend business to quieter weekdays and these promotions seem to be doing the trick. Customers take advantage of the sale prices and the five dollar wash coupons offered frequently.”
No quarters needed here. Every customer gets a free card which starts up the machines. When they check out, they pay with either cash, debit or credit card.
Katrina hopes to become an American citizen. She migrated from Ireland just three years ago to join her family in South Florida and says “I’m a certified dental hygienist in Ireland and I’m waiting to be accredited here. I hope to eventually work in my profession. When that time comes, I’ll turn over even more responsibility to Tracy, but I’ll always be around.”
Tracy beams at her boss. “I love her,” she says. “She is so considerate and polite to me and all of our customers. She’s unbelievable to me. I’ve never worked for anyone like her and I thank God for bringing her into my life.”
The next promotion on the agenda is a yard sale during which Katrina will sell off all of the left over clothing. “All money made at this sale will go to a local charity. We are all part of a neighborhood and we want to be a good, giving neighbor.” she explains. “The new owner of this plaza is great. He has revived it, made it a very attractive and important part of this area where he is creating jobs, good will and hopefully attracting new tenants.”
During this interview, Katrina, who moves swiftly, managed to check on customers and straighten the children’s playroom. She paused to chat with Debby Burns who was busy at the iron press, ironing shirts and pants. Burns said, “I’m here every week. I like it here because it’s so clean, light and airy and you never have to wait for a machine. The help and the owner are great.”
Guy Laieta was doing business on his laptop while his laundry was spinning around. He said, “The service here is awesome. I’m here twice a week. I’m a boxing trainer and my wife can’t keep up with my gym clothes so I wash and dry them myself. I don’t mind because I’m working while they are washing.”
These happy customers make it clear, it might be worth leaving one’s own area to use Kerry Laundry Mart because of the service and the amenities.