Published on Aim2Flourish.com
The innovation for Hamilton Washery is a pre-existing innovation – a washery. This washery provides exceptional service for the general public as it is more than a place to just wash one’s garments. Coming with a play area for children and a library, this washery provides service for everyone regardless of age. With free snacks to munch on while customers wait, Hamilton Washery recreated the concept of a washery in an innovative way.
This innovation emerged for this organization because the CEO, Stephanie Anderson, wanted to create a positive and uplifting experience that provided everyday service at a low price during the times of the 2008 recession. She wanted everyone to gain a sense of courage and feel happiness whenever someone visited her washery. Through the times of employment crisis she also wanted to provide the unemployed a job to continue to secure their future. The CEO Stephanie Anderson herself was the lone inventor of this innovation but did take external support such as SBA loans, mentorship, and sponsorship through government assistance. This washery follows goals that align with U.N.’s sustainability objectives such as gender equality – employing both men and women, clean water and sanitation – the washery does not reuse their water and does not dump dirty water into public water systems. This goes alongside with taking care of life below water, in which dirty water is disposed of separately so that it does not harm underwater fish and creatures. The washery also uses modern energy such as using LED lighting, making use of recycling and water conservation systems.
Hamilton Washery isn’t like your usual washery or business, where most are inspired by revenue. They pride themselves in customer satisfaction, being a family-owned and operated business not only allows them to provide a warm and family-friendly environment, but to really connect with their customers. CEO Stephanie Anderson describes her meticulous service-driven hiring process, “Customers who care about us like WE care for them are the best brand ambassadors out there. So it’s important to have employees who welcome that responsibility – AND make everyone who walks in feel welcome too.” Their objective is to give back to their community through events and the use of sustainable and eco-friendly methods in their business. Anderson strongly believes “…that sustainability has two benefits: it helps the community and planet”. Hamilton Washery’s staff also follow her example, “she indicated that she and her staff are diligent about recycling and energy efficiency.”
The innovation of the washery shares a sense of mission, purpose and meaning. The innovation of the company is to provide exceptional service to the public and implementing sustainability to make the washery like no other. Providing exceptional service is a mission to give the customers a purpose to return. Additionally, the company stays to follow its purpose in remain sustainable by recycling water. This provides a meaning and purpose for anyone who transitions into living a more sustainable life. The washery also has a library integrated within the washery to provide everyone service. By proving these kinds of services and sticking to sustainable guidelines, it will continue to bring meaning into the washery and open the door to more customers.
The Hamilton Washery has created a strong impact within its community. As found on the website and speaking to CEO Stephanie Anderson, the washery participates and host a variety of events within Hamilton. For example, the washery hosted a community yard sale as a form of giving back. The washery also hosts a customer appreciation day, where the washery host a raffle in appreciation of their customers.
The laundromat is sustainable in reusing fresh clean water for every wash. They also offer free coffee to customers and if a customer is unsatisfied with their wash, Hamilton Washery will take that into consideration and do a whole wash on them for free. Stephanie takes a lot of pride in what she does by giving exceptional service to her customers. She makes it clear that it is no ordinary laundromat. The washery is built on clean, friendly, and professionalism within not only Stephanie’s attitude but her employees as well.
Social and Environmental Benefit
There are many short term and long term effects on the business, society and/or the environment because of the innovations the business uses. When dealing with the business, there aren’t short term effects because being a sustainable business brings long term benefits. One of the long term effects is brand awareness. A lot of consumers today are becoming more aware of their effect on the environment and are therefore switching to a more sustainable lifestyle. Since Hamilton Washery is a sustainable business it gives it a competitive advantage against other laundromats and brings in more customers. Hamilton Washery also appeals more to consumers who are also eco-friendly and are actively practicing sustainable habits. Another long term effect on the business is increased employee retention and recruitment. Since the laundromat is conserving water and energy, it is able to reduce its operational costs.
Therefore, the business has the ability to pay its employees above minimum wage which retains its current employees. Short term effects of recycling on the environment are: less waste in landfills and conserve energy. Long term effects of the business’s innovations would be decreased pollution and overall fighting against global warming. The long term effects of the innovations on society would be increased awareness of sustainable practices. For example, Hamilton Washery is a community inclusive laundromat. The owner mentioned that her goal was to make it a community laundromat. Therefore she added a library with donated books and a children’s section with puzzles and arts and crafts (Stephanie Anderson). Consequently, customers, employees, and the owner develop a relationship in which sustainable habits can be discussed and then adopted. This can also extend to other businesses in the area. Other businesses in the same industry can become aware of Hamilton Washery’s sustainable practices and convert to a sustainable business. In the end, if more business become sustainable, the environment will benefit significantly.
In order to develop a sustainable business, Anderson joined the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry (NJSBR)4 which is an organization created to recognize and promote sustainable businesses, non-profit organizations and higher education institutions across the state of New Jersey. The Registry is open to companies of all types and there is no cost to join. The only requirements include: a brief written description of Five Sustainable Actions/Practices the business has adopted, identify One Measurable Environmental Benefit from a practice, identify One Cost Savings from the Practice, and to renew the membership every two years by adding one new practice and one measurable environmental benefit.
Anderson met the above requirements by installing energy-saving LED lighting and US-made laundry machine that not only save energy but also lower her electricity bill. The laundromat is getting a 75% savings in electricity. Inverter drives in the washing machines make them 50% more energy efficient. According to the NJSBR, this helped the laundromat save 6814 kWh which in turn amounted to $1158 per electricity billing cycle. To reuse waste, the laundromat allows clients to return their hangers or bring their own. The first three hangers are free, and .10 cents for any requested thereafter. Additionally, to further help the environment they encourage customers to reuse cups for change. This is how she reuses and minimizes waste.
To meet the goal of recycling, Anderson joined the Mercer County Recycling Program that accept and collect waste including cardboard, glass bottles, plastic bottles (PET #1 and HDPE#2) and cans.
To meet the goal of water conservation, the toilets in the washery are low flush. On average, a regular toilet flush uses of 3.86 gallons of water. The laundromat, however, uses a low flush system, accommodated with a sensor monitoring light usage, that uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush. To meet her goal of community initiatives, Hamilton Washery participates in many initiatives which include Trenton Stakeholders, Creative New Jersey, Rescue Mission of Trenton (drop box on premises for clothing donations), Mercer County Hispanic Association, Mercer County Wildlife Center’s Wish List, Mobile Minds and Hamilton Animal Shelter. The business is also a proud supporter of the National Guard through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
According to the magazine A Small Business Voice (August, 2018 Special Sustainability Issue), Hamilton Washery is a laundromat that practices sustainability that springs from home. In her interview with A Small Business Voice, Anderson says, “I’ve always recycled at home, so when I started the business seven years ago I tried to do the same. In my business, recycling is big with all of the plastic containers that are used. I just wanted to conserve energy and water” Anderson not only follows the membership requirements of the sustainable business registry but also promotes through word of mouth the importance and benefits of joining the Registry. Other ways the business has impacted the community is by forming a close-knit network of employees, customers and Anderson herself. The benefit of this network is in Anderson’s own words, is that her business offers programs to help customers with job hunting, writing resumes and even finding housing. “We also have a spot in the store with business card holders for our fellow business owners, and they tell me it helps,” Anderson said. “We also listen to their opinions and get a lot of advice from our clients” By building client-community relations, Anderson is fostering and nurturing a positive community. By adopting environmentally sustainable business practices,
Anderson is limiting her carbon footprint on earth, in the larger scheme of things.