An Interview with Rigal Saint Felix, Owner of Wash-A-Rama

SOUTH SHORE BUSINESS REVIEW - wash a rama washers

Author: Perprika Valcin, BSU student

Wash-A-Rama are a small chain of local laundromats that pride themselves in friendly service and rigorous efficiency. Wash-A-Rama features both self and drop off services, along with a dry cleaning service. The drop off features are perfect for those who do not have the time or prefer it to be expertly prepared.

Established by Mr. Rigal Saint Felix, in 2006, Wash-A-Rama started out as a small laundromat with big ambitions. Over the years it has expanded into the quirky chain of establishments that it is today. Mr. Felix currently, owns and operates 3 laundromats locating in Brockton, Hyde Park and Dorchester. Throughout the interview, Mr. Felix expressed pride and joy towards the success of his establishments, viewing his adversities, as opportunities to grow and learn.

For this interview I spoke with Mr. Felix, in an effort to understand his business.

Q: Good morning Mr. Felix, thank you for taking the time out of your day to speak with me. For starters, why made you choose this line of business?
A: I’m someone who’s always looking for something. I started off working in construction for about 10 years. Working in the construction industry, I always looked for an opportunity to get out. Reason being is that construction requires a lot of time energy in which you need to put in. Not only that, it’s a risky job. Working tall story buildings, such as 20 stories for example, it start to take a toll on your body. Worst of all, it’s always a competition to keep your job.  It’s the next man up. You don’t show up, you don’t get the job. You have to be there, regardless the cold or heat. These are some of the reason why I wanted to find a way out of construction. I wanted to work for myself, where I didn’t have to show up every day to a jobsite on someone else’s schedule. So therefore, when the opportunity opened up for me, I went for it. I required the knowledge and the necessary fund needed in order to open my first laundromat.

Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when first opening your laundromat?
A: The toughest thing for me when opening my first laundromat was, keeping the machines in good maintenance when they break down. At the beginning, I always had to call a company to come in and fix them, which ended up costing me quite a lot of money to do so. With that being said, I took it upon myself to go to school for six months in order to learn how to fix these machines myself, which in turn helped me to minimizing my costs.

Q: What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: The thing that really inspired me to keep going, was the flexibility. The flexibility that I have to do what I want to do with the business, and still be a father to my kids. With my flexibility I’m able to bring my kids to school and pick them up. My flexibility gives me the opportunity for me to spend more time with my family. So in a sense, this was my main drive for continuing.

Q: If you had to start over from day 1, what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
A: I would have to say promoting the business. In the beginning, I didn’t promote my business the way that I should. That’s one thing I definitely look forward into doing; finding ways to advertise and put my business on the map, so people will know that the businesses there. Before, it took me too long to realize that I needed to promote my business. If I could start from day one, promoting my business would be my main goal.

Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: Taxes. Although taxes differs from different cities and towns, they make it difficult for you to open a business with all those regulations; sometimes it can be a challenge to overcome them. At certain times you have issues where you want to open your door to operate, but you can’t. For instance you plan on opening in February; now you have to wait a month or two months later to open your doors. Next thing you know, you’re losing income. What’s even worse, regardless if your doors are closed for business, you’re still required to pay your rent for that month. It can be a lot sometimes.

Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it, why would you suggest they at least give you a try first?  What makes you stand out?
A: the key focus to my business would have to be the customer service. The second thing is the tidiness of the store.  That way when someone shows up, they don’t only notice that the store is clean, but there someone at the door waiting to greet and help them if needed. One other thing that makes me stand out for my competitors, would have to be the word of mouth from the customers; they take notice of how they’re treated and how they were helped.

Visit Wash-A-Rama at the following locations:
884 Washington St.,  Norwood, MA
691 Warren Ave, Brockton, MA

Also visit Clean Getaway at 546 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA