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Ronald McDonald House Receives New Laundry Equipment from SDi/Coinmach

SDi/Coinmach has donated brand new laundry equipment and service to Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of the Greater Hudson Valley. This beautiful facility is located next door to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, and provides lodging for families with critically ill or traumatically injured children. The house has a light-filled living room with fireplace and baby grand piano, a full service kitchen, children’s playroom, and homey suites designed and furnished by Starwood Hotels. In October, SDi delivered eight laundry machines for the building’s three laundry rooms, which they will service on an as-needed basis.

Ron Garfunkel, President of SDi Laundry Solutions, greets the SDi truck that delivered eight laundry machines donated to Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley. Photos by Vicki Chesler

“At SDi, we’ve had a long tradition of giving back to the communities we serve,” says company President Ron Garfunkel, whose father founded SDi in 1952. “We are a proud supporter of many worthwhile organizations that provide much-needed services throughout the New York tri-state area, including The Bridge, Make a Wish Foundation, ARC, and many others.”

Ronald McDonald House has a long history as well. The idea sprang from the combined efforts of Dr. Audrey Evans, a pediatric oncologist who saw families struggling daily to care for cancer-stricken children; Jimmy Murray, General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, whose team member Fred Hill had a daughter in treatment for leukemia; and McDonald’s, who agreed to provide funding to open the first house nearly 40 ago in Philadelphia. Since then, over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses have opened worldwide. The House in Valhalla was built by Westchester Medical Center two years ago.

Last Fall, SDi became a division of Coinmach, which was founded in 1947, and is the nation’s largest supplier of outsourced laundry services. The new partnership is not only one of shared resources, but also one that represents shared cultural beliefs.

“This is a great way to reinforce what we do,” says Coinmach CEO Bob Doyle. “We do a lot of community support, like sending money to flood victims after Hurricane Sandy, sponsoring fundraising walks and rides, driving our trucks around to deliver food donations at Christmas. It means a lot to our staff to know that the company is socially conscious.”

Ron Garfunkel and Bob Doyle joined SDi Vice President of Customer Support Services Bill Waters and Director of Client Relations Kamilah Ifill for a tour of the facility and an opportunity to meet the charming and dedicated staff, including Executive Director Marielena DiMatteo and Chairman of the Board Bryan Colley.

SDi President Ron Garfunkel, Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Marielena DiMatteo, SDi VP of Customer Support Services Bill Waters, RMH Office and Facility Manager Joanna Palace, and Coinmach CEO Bob Doyle at the RMH in Valhalla.

“Corporate and private donations cover the costs of housing families and operating the house,” says Marielena, pointing out two large walls in the entrance foyer displaying the names of dozens of donors. Each Ronald McDonald House is individually operated and self-funded through fundraising, grants and donations, and receives support from local McDonald’s restaurants as well.

The house has a spacious state-of-the-art kitchen and dining room, which are open to guests 24/7. There is even a stocked pantry filled with pasta, canned goods, dry goods, fruit and snacks, so that families can prepare their own meals at no cost using the wide variety of donated foods and beverages. Games and toys, and even massage therapy treatments, are donated regularly by individual and corporate members of the community.

“The laundry facilities are used exclusively by our guests, who often stay here for months at a time. Having new commercial laundry equipment in all our laundry rooms will be a huge benefit to our residents,” says Marielena. The entire staff expressed their great appreciation for all of the generous support they receive from their many sponsors and contributors.

Corporate and private donations fund the operation of the facility, and continue to provide toys, food, games and services to the families and children who stay here.

Advances in Laundry Room Technology Make Life Easier While Reducing Carbon Footprint

New technology, like real time washer and dryer availability and text notifications when your wash or dry cycle has finished, are making life easier for thousands of New Yorkers. Rather than being tied to the laundry room or constantly frustrated by finding all the machines in use, you can breeze through laundry day with a minimum of inconvenience.

Smart Cards Instead of Cash

SDi Laundry Solutions has long been on the cutting edge of systems that allow customers to use the Internet to do everything from pay for washing and drying through the use of Smart Cards, to creating cashless laundry rooms where no money ever changes hands. The effects are far-reaching. For one thing, since becoming 97% coin free, SDi has significantly reduced its carbon footprint, requiring fewer trucks on the roads collecting coins and cash. For another, clients no longer need to keep coins or small bills on hand in order to do the laundry. Instead, they can revalue their Smart Cards online using a credit card, and then just go to the laundry room, enter a PIN and add money directly to the Card. The money is then debited every time the card is used to run the machines.

Another big advantage is instant refunds that ensure that any problems you have using your Smart Card will be rectified immediately. Simply go online to SDiLaundrySolutions.com, click on Service and fill out an online Instant Refund form. A credit will be instantly added to your Smart Card.

Service Requests Via Text or Web

In the area of Service, new technology has made it much easier to make a service request. By simply texting your address and the machine ID number to a special text phone number, your service request will be received instantly. You can even scan or photograph the machine’s barcode with your Smart Phone and send a photo text message to 914-396-2220 and your request will be processed immediately.

Technology also affects how service technicians are notified, dispatched and tracked. Everything can now be done using smart phones, so that technicians get the work done and report back both successes and problems with any repairs. Keeping track of laundry rooms that need repairs, what parts are needed, and whether the problem has been solved, can all be done in real time, with the aim of having a minimum of down time on the machines.

A Collaboration Brings New Benefits

Last Fall, SDi joined forces with Coinmach, the nation’s largest laundry room service provider. This is a great development for SDi and its valued customers. Joining Coinmach will enable us to benefit from the resources of a nationwide organization, as we continue to deliver the high-touch personal service SDi is known for. Coinmach shares our vision for improved customer service, and has invested heavily in improved service call quality and response times.

Bob Doyle, Coinmach’s CEO, said, “SDi is a highly respected company in our industry, with great leadership, smart technology, and a stellar reputation in the New York metropolitan area.” He added, “Coinmach will benefit from access to SDi’s proven technology and established reputation; SDi benefits from Coinmach’s customer depth and geographic reach. This union represents a tremendous opportunity for both organizations to improve customer experience throughout our collective client base.”

The newly formed partnership of the two long-standing companies—Coinmach was founded in 1947, and SDI in 1952—is not only one of shared resources, but also one that represents shared cultural beliefs. In recent years, under Doyle’s leadership, Coinmach has made dramatic customer service improvements, adopting what Doyle calls a “Customers for Life” mentality. Investments in talent, training and technology have paid off, resulting in much improved service call quality, and service response times. “In many ways, partnering with SDi aligns perfectly with the direction we were already headed from a service standpoint,” said Doyle. “As we integrate SDi’s high-touch service standards with ours, I’m confident we’ll deliver an even greater customer experience.”

SDi and Coinmach share a genuine enthusiasm for our industry and remain bullish about its future. Bob has proven himself in this business many times over. I’m delighted to work alongside him and his team, as together we will take laundry solutions to an entirely new level. For more information call 800-945-WASH, visit SDiLaundrySolutions.com or email me directly at rgarfunkel@SDiLaundrySolutions.com. Thank you for being an SDi valued customer!

Web-based technology allows customers to revalue their Smart Cards online and run the laundry without using any cash. Learn more at SDiLaundrySolutions.com.

SDi Laundry Solutions: Better Than Ever

A lot has been happening since our new alliance with Coinmach last October. Joining Coinmach enables us to benefit from the resources of a nationwide organization, with the purchasing power and volume leverage that affords. We’ve had many changes in our organization, with some aspects of the business being merged with Coinmach’s systems. But after more than 60 years in business, there is no way I’m going to let SDi’s reputation for the finest service in the industry slip. We are committed to providing our customers with the same stellar personal service they have come to expect from SDi.

SDi continues to be a leader in Smart Card laundry systems, operating an almost purely coinless business, which allows us to stay “Green,” reducing our carbon footprint by keeping coin-collecting trucks off the roads. Our online Smart Card revalue system makes life easier for our customers, avoiding the hassles involved in needing to have the right cash on hand, struggling to get bills accepted into revalue machines, etc. Our instant Smart Card online refunds ensure that any problems you have using your card will be rectified immediately.

Bob Doyle, Coinmach’s CEO, shares our vision for improved customer service, and has invested heavily in improved service call quality and service response times. As Bob says, “In many ways, partnering with SDi aligns perfectly with the direction we were already headed from a service standpoint. As we integrate SDi’s high-touch service standards with ours, I’m confident we’ll deliver an even greater customer experience.”

We at SDi will continue to deliver the high standards of both service and equipment that our customers have always expected from us. We look forward to serving you into the future, and welcome your comments and suggestions about how we can make your laundry experience the best it can be. Please feel free to contact me directly at rgarfunkel@SDiLaundrySolutions.com or call us at 800-945-WASH. Thank you!

Ron Garfunkel, President/CEO of SDi Laundry Solutions, with Kamilah Ifill, Director of Client Relations, at the Buildings/NY Show last year. They are committed to providing the best possible service in the industry.

Laundry Rooms Can Be Customized To Meet Residents’ Needs

The owners at Steven Ames’ Upper West Side co-op were unhappy with their laundry room. There was always a wait for the dryers, the machines weren’t clean, and their laundry company didn’t respond quickly to service calls. But thanks to a determined effort of research, bid analysis and contract negotiation, they have a brand new SDi laundry room that meets all their needs.

“About a year before our contract was up, we started doing research, established a laundry committee, and narrowed the search down to three mid-sized firms,” says Steven, who is Vice President of the Co-op Board. “The first two gave us standard proposals, basically replacing the machines we had in the laundry room. But SDi Laundry Solutions took a different approach: they said, well, let’s look at your issues and your usage. They saw right away that we had a problem with our washer/dryer ratio: our dryer capacity was half that of our washer capacity, and that’s why we had frustrated residents with laundry baskets filled with wet clothes waiting for dryers.”

A Creative Approach to Problem-Solving

The laundry committee at Ames’ 260-unit co-op were impressed with SDi’s  problem-solving approach, and hired them to redo their laundry room. The residents have been happy ever since.

“They determined that we needed more large washers that had extra wash and rinse cycles so our residents had a tiered approach—if they wanted to put more time on the machines, they could,” explains Steven.

Our team of technicians, overseen by Bill Waters, Vice President of Customer Support Services, also addressed electricity and venting issues that had caused problems for years in the building’s laundry room. In addition, a new folding area was added, and the extra dryers were stacked to fit them into the existing space.

“Our residents use the machines much more often now, and there is never a wait for machines. The service is excellent; the conversion was completed earlier than expected, went ‘live’ earlier than planned; and the transition was very simple,” says Ames.

Stephen Ames and the residents of his Upper West Side co-op are pleased with the major improvements made by SDi in their building’s laundry room.

Creative problem-solving was also used to address the issue of soap build-up in the machines. The washers were programmed to run themselves at 4:30 every morning to clean out soap residue and other messy build-up. In addition, they made the room more pleasant as well as more energy efficient.

A Pleasant and “Green” Place to Do the Wash

“They power washed the walls, painted, and did an overall redesign and upgrade, doing the entire transition in ten days.”

Across town in Robert Upper East Side co-op, residents had a similar experience working with SDi.

“The residents are extremely happy with our new, high-quality machines and our renovated laundry room,” says Robert, who is on the co-op’s Board of Directors. “While doing laundry is a chore, it is much more pleasant in a well-lit, clean space.”

“The laundry room is a convenience that adds value to the building,” Robert adds. And the funds generated by the laundry room are a big help: “The Laundry room certainly assists us in our budgeting process, as funds go towards the building.”

Smart Card Convenience and Prompt Service

Using Smart Cards instead of cash or coins also makes a big difference. Residents have the option of adding value to their Smart Cards online or in the laundry room, using a credit or debit card. Thus there is no risk of vandalism, and no need for anyone to come around collecting money. It’s all done electronically. The resulting income is a welcome budget item for the building, and the convenience and satisfaction in having a well-run laundry room on site is a great amenity for residents. Whether your building has four units or 400 units, a laundry room is a great amenity that also brings in revenue.

When it comes to service, not all laundry companies are equal. “We’ve had machines sit unusable for weeks on end,” says one East Side Condo Board President. “We’ve been very dissatisfied with the service and will be sure to switch companies when our contract is up. Unfortunately we got locked into a contract that we can’t get out of for quite some time.”

Use Caution When it Comes to Contracts

Be sure to get references when considering a laundry company, and speak to other customers about their experience. Does the company offer live customer service representatives on the phone? Are they available 24/7? How quickly do they respond? How easy is it to make a service request?

And be sure to ask whether the company has delivered on its promises of paying a monthly fee to the building. Some contracts promise a set monthly fee while others offer a percentage of the revenue generated by the machines. But if there are frequent breakdowns that last for days—or even weeks—that will cut into the income your laundry room can generate, and thus will hurt your building’s bottom line.

Boards should always be sure to speak to several laundry companies when considering installing a new laundry room or upgrading an existing one. Be careful of certain clauses in the contracts—such as automatic renewal, service response time, and determination of monthly payment. And make sure the laundry company’s proposal addresses any problems or issues that your residents are currently experiencing so you can hire the best company to solve those problems for you. It’s wise to have your building’s attorney look over any contracts before you commit. For more information on laundry room operations, visit ServiceDirections.com or call Dan Donohue, Vice President of Sales, at 800-945-WASH (9274).

Stain Removal Tips from the Stain Master

Today's guest blogger is the Stain Master! She knows just what to do to remove even the toughest stains.

Here are a few stain removal tips from the Stain Master. Think of her as the mother or grandmother who always knew what to do when you spilled something on your favorite item of clothing. Let us know if you have success with these techniques, and send us your own stain removal tips. You can post them on our facebook page at facebook.com/SDiLaundrySolutions.

GRASS STAIN—Rub detergent into the stain with a bleach that contains no chlorine and is safe for all washable fabrics. Wash in machine.

MUSTARD—Work glycerin into stain or sponge with rubbing alcohol

FRUIT—Run hot water through the back of the stain over the sink. Making the water as hot as you can will force the stain back out through the fabric.

KETCHUP—Soak in cold water then rub detergent into stain and wash

BLOOD—Scrub by hand with cold water and plain soap such as ivory, then wash in cold cycle in washing machine.

RUST—Cover with lemon juice and salt then place in the sun

GREASE—Soak in club soda

COFFEE—Pour boiling water through stain

LIPSTICK—Rub detergent into stain until outline disappears then wash with warm wate

CHOCOLATE—Soak in cold water or sponge with hydrogen peroxide, rinse and wash

MUD—Let stain dry then brush well. Soak in cold water, wash in hot water, sponge with rubbing alcohol

INK—On cotton, apply rubbing alcohol to the spot, then wash. On polyester, spray liberally with hair spray and pat with a clean, dry cloth. Then wash.

WAX—Put area between brown paper bag and press with warm iron

Not sure what to do when you've spilled on your favorite blouse? Ask the Stain Master!

Text Us for Service

TEXT US! Now you can Text us your service requests! If you have a problem with a machine, just text 914-396-2220 with your address and the number on the machine that is having the problem.

SDi is constantly striving to provide better service to all our customers. Keeping up with technology is just part of our efforts.

Text us at 914-396-2220 if you need service.

The Results Are In! Hundreds Responded to Our Survey

Thank you to everyone who took a few moments to respond to our Customer Satisfaction Survey (you can take it too at svy.mk/KYSChU)! We go lots of great feedback and suggestions, and we are addressing every one of them individually. If you sent in your contact information, you’ll be hearing from us directly. If you reported a problem and provided your address, we’ve already stopped by or we will soon. If you preferred to submit anonymously we will take all your suggestions seriously.

Overall Survey Results:

• 71% of our respondents were satisfied with their laundry room.

• 74% were satisfied with the servicing of their equipment

• 79% were satisfied with the response time of service calls

• 88% were satisfied with their Customer Service experience.

Our goal is to satisfy ALL our customers, so we are constantly working on making our service and our products better. We want you to be happy with your laundry experience all the time.

If you haven’t done it yet, send us your feedback. Take our Customer Satisfaction Survey at svy.mk/KYSChU. Thank you!

Cyberserve Laundry Rooms Are a Great Amenity: They Improve Quality of Life and Reduce Carbon Footprint

What is Cyberserve and what’s so special about it?

Cyberserve is what we call our coinless, cashless method of doing laundry:

• High-efficiency washers and dryers that run on Smart Cards, not quarters or dollar bills.

• Smart Cards that can be revalued by going to our website, using a credit or debit card, and getting a PIN code to punch into the Coded Value Adder in your laundry room.

• Eliminating coins and cash to add safety to your laundry room.

• Reducing your carbon footprint, because no longer do trucks have to drive all over town to empty the cash machines or quarter boxes.

• Reducing fuel and water usage with high efficiency washers and dryers that use much less gas, electricity and water than traditional machines.

• Using much less detergent, providing another way to save money.

“We appreciate SDi’s commitment to providing ‘green’ machines that cost less to run, and to making it easy for residents to re-value their Smart Cards online,” says Scott Rotblat, a Manhattan landlord and a green energy reseller.

Scott hired SDi to upgrade the laundry rooms in his Upper West Side apartment buildings.  “It helps me keep my building fully rented because my tenants feel they are living in a high class building at affordable prices because of this great amenity,” he says.

Louis Romano, who had SDi install a two-machine facility in his four-unit apartment in Northern New Jersey, adds, “My tenants love the fact that they don’t have to schlep their laundry into town. That makes the apartments more valuable, and helps me to keep the place full. I’m not as concerned about the income as I am keeping the place full and the tenants happy.”

Scott adds,  “Now we have new high efficiency washers and dryers, tables for folding laundry, a sink and nice lighting. Our tenants love it. The new machines run with Smart Cards and our tenants can access their accounts online, so they no longer have to worry about finding the right change.  In fact, our residents are using the laundry room much more often since the upgrade.”

Because the machines use less energy and water to run than the old ones did, the high-efficiency machines help Scott with his mission as both a landlord and a green energy reseller: to save money on gas and electric bills and to help reduce his buildings’ carbon footprint.

Find out more about Cyberserve by calling our office today. We’ll have one of our technicians come to your property to do an assessment and discuss your options. (800) 945-WASH (9274).

Scott Rotblat had SDi install new high-efficiency washers and dryers in his Upper West Side buildings. You can learn how Scott can help you reduce your gas and electric bills at viridian.com/arenergy.

SDi Provides Laundry Solutions at Frank Gehry-Designed 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan

SDi is thrilled to have been chosen to install and manage the central laundry room at the latest Frank Gehry-designed building in New York. Located in the heart of the Financial District, near City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge, 8 Spruce Street is—at 876 feet—the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere.

Featuring Gehry’s signature undulating exterior made of stainless steel, the building’s 76 stories high, enclosing 900 spectacular residential rental units. Amenities include a 50-foot swimming pool, wraparound sundecks, fitness center and spa. SDi has installed a state-of-the-art laundry room on the 6th floor; conveniently located one floor below the health club. The commercial-size washer and dryers are big enough for residents to wash quilts, blankets and large loads, and will dry them much faster than the small washers and dryers located inside the apartment units.

Designed by Frank Gehry, 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan is the tallest residential building in the hemisphere. It features fabulous amenities, including a central laundry room designed, installed and maintained by SDi Laundry Solutions.

“Central laundry rooms, also known as ‘back-up’ laundry rooms, are so much faster and do such a better job than the small machines installed in each unit, that we are hoping that residents will come down and take advantage of them,” says Ron Garfunkel, President/CEO of SDi. “We are proud to have been chosen to provide this amenity at one of New York’s premiere residences.”

Save Money by Switching to High-Efficiency Washers

Advances in technology have made old-style top-loading washers obsolete. The new high-efficiency machines save building owners thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetime. With electric, water and gas charges constantly escalating, building owners and managers should seriously consider switching to these high-efficiency machines.

For example, in a laundry room with two traditional washers that are each run four times per day, the cost of water, gas and electric averages $112 per month*. With the new high-efficiency models, that cost would be reduced to $38 per month—a savings of $74, or a 66% reduction in utility costs. In a bigger laundry room, the dollar savings are much greater.

In addition, these machines are more environmentally friendly, conserving water and electricity, while requiring much less soap and thus reducing pollutants.

Our trained service staff is happy to visit your property to do an on-site inspection and analysis, and show you how these new machines can improve your bottom line while providing a better, less expensive laundry experience for all the residents in the building. In many cases, we can install these new machines at no up-front cost to you, just one pre-set monthly fee that comes out of the laundry room revenue.

Contact SDi today for a free consultation. Call (800) 945-WASH or email our Vice President of Sales, Dan Donohue, at ddonohue@servicedirections.com.

*Based on the following utility cost estimates: water $7.62/ccf; gas $1.40/therm; electric $.19/kwh. These charges do not include basic monthly service and delivery charges or sales tax.