Multi-Unit, Multi-Brand Franchisees Opens Eighth Overall Zips Cleaners Location, Sixth in the Brand's Baltimore Hub
ZIPS Cleaners recently added another location in its Baltimore-area hub with the opening of a new full-service processing facility in Northwood, a neighborhood in the northeastern section of the city. Located in the newly constructed Northwood Commons strip mall at 1512 Havenwood Rd., the 3,500-square-foot endcap store sits across from a LIDL grocery store and adjacent to the Morgan State University campus. Franchisees Allan Boomer and Tiffany Hawkins, operating the site under the entity Clean Green Northwood, are both alumni of the university and have remained active members of its community as regular donors.
ZIPS Northwood is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and is closed on Sunday. The location also offers a 24/7 EZ Drop door for off-hour drop-offs, and plans to add self-serve kiosks to speed customers through the in-store process.
This is the sixth Maryland-based ZIPS location and eighth overall for Hawkins and Boomer, who opened their first ZIPS store in 2017 in Waldorf, Md. Since then, they opened a second, then acquired three more in Maryland, and subsequently snapped up several more in Indiana. Through a separate signed agreement, they plan to develop 10 stores in Atlanta, and are in active negotiations to acquire more.
Their entrepreneurialism is not limited to developing ZIPS stores, however. Momentum Advisors, a New York-based minority-owned wealth management firm that Hawkins and Boomer run, has nearly $330MM under advisement. They also own an insurance brokerage, Momentum Risk Management, and a consulting business, Momentum Franchising, which helps other aspiring business owners get up and running with the franchise concept that fits them best. “The Momentum Advisors Show,” a podcast that they co-host, offers personal finance advice, information on entrepreneurship and insight into how to build a successful financial legacy for yourself and your community. Both of them also work directly with Morgan State’s Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management, exposing students to entrepreneurship and franchising.
“We’re on a dual mission of building out our own portfolio and inspiring others to follow their own paths to success,” said Boomer. “In Northwood, we’ve primarily hired Morgan State students to work our front counter and we plan to hire alumni to start or move into management roles and deploy them to our stores across the country.”
With programs catering to individual consumers and others for commercial customers, ZIPS Northwood is certain to be a magnet for the Morgan State student body as well as faculty, hospitality staff, athletic departments, theater and band groups and more, as well as the surrounding community. It features a 24/7 EZ Drop door that will accommodate late-night and erratic schedules and will soon add self-serve kiosks to speed customers through the in-store process. To celebrate the opening, the store offered a series of discounts to Morgan State students who showed their student IDs. In addition, for a limited time new customers bringing in 10 or more items on their first visit were rewarded with a reduced cost of $1.99 per item.
“We are thrilled to be bringing ZIPS to our alma mater,” said Hawkins. “Morgan State gave us a great start and we’ve been showing our appreciation ever since by remaining active alumni and donors. Giving the university community a convenient, affordable way to keep their clothes looking, feeling and fitting their best is just another dimension to a relationship we’ve been proud and happy to maintain.”
Now nearly 70 units strong, ZIPS is a national leader in the $10.5 billion garment care segment, offering six services under one roof with low, transparent pricing and quick turnaround, including an “in-by-9-out-by-5” guarantee on dry cleaning. In addition to dry cleaning, the company offers alterations, Wash N Fold laundry, pressed laundry, cleaning of comforters and other household items, and commercial garment and fabric care accounts. A growing number of locations also offer pickup and delivery via company vehicles or third-party services such as DoorDash®. The company is seeking service-minded, growth-focused multi-unit investors to develop select markets across the country.
“Allan and Tiffany are ideal franchisees and represent a growing group within our system of current franchisees signing on to open additional locations,” said Mike Waintraub, Director of Business Development at ZIPS. “We are excited to see our franchise partners bullish on growth and are committed to helping them achieve their expansion goals."
ZIPS now has 32 locations in Maryland, combining full-service processing facilities like the Northwood store, scaled-down satellite “drop” locations for drop-off and pick-up closer to home, and a 24/7 locker system situated outside a supermarket in Bel Air. A hub-and-spoke model offers ZIPS franchisees an opportunity to cover as much of a market as possible by opening a centrally located full-service “plant” and then surrounding it with drop locations whose received items are sent to the plant for processing and then returned to the satellite for customers to reclaim. The arrangement allows franchisees to add more locations within their existing markets more rapidly by avoiding larger space requirements, equipment investment and additional staff, instead letting them maximize the value of those investments in the processing plant.
“We are continuously exploring ways to bring our highly demanded services into new communities and closer to existing customers,” said Bob Barry, president/CEO of ZIPS. “Our full-service plant/drop store model achieves this by letting growth-minded franchisees like Allan and Tiffany maximize their assets, review a broader selection of available real estate in which to open new stores, and, if desired, align with new partners to open more locations sooner. We are excited to see this strategy working so successfully and look forward to deploying it in many more markets where our brand has room to grow.”
ZIPS was launched in the early 2000s when eight of the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area’s premier dry cleaners banded together as a unified brand offering same-day service at a single low price. With a combined 200+ years of dry-cleaning experience and business expertise, these founders created a streamlined process designed for easy replication by industry veterans and newcomers alike. Franchise opportunities with ZIPS are available in select markets throughout the United States. For more information, contact Director of Business Development Mike Waintraub at email@example.com or (609) 468-7195, or visit 321zips.com/own-a-zips/.
Published: November 1st, 2023
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