Sheffield’s Favourite Launderette
10 October 2017
We’d like to share some of our good news with you! We’ve been nominated as a finalist for Drycleaner of the Year at the LADAs. These are the Laundry and Drycleaning Awards, and to us, they’re hugely important.
The LADAs recognise dedication, commitment and support in this vital business sector, and winning one will mean a lot to us. In fact, just being shortlisted feels like a privilege.
The LADA awards ceremony takes place next month, on 2 November, at Mercedes Benz World, in Brooklands, Surrey.
While serving our customers’ needs is our absolute top priority, it’s also great to get recognition from our professional peers. It feels like a massive pat on the back for the hard work we put into our laundry and drycleaning business based in Sheffield.
How it All Started
Like many businesses, we began life as a family concern. In 1968, the Sparks family started a launderette business in Meadowhead, Sheffield. When Richard Goodman joined Sparks Launderettes in 1971 we then became Goodman Sparks Ltd.
The original launderette business expanded into drycleaning, and from there we expanded our services. It made perfect sense to us to start supplying commercial washing machines to others, and to provide a repairs service.
We realised that there were plenty of places which could benefit from having their own in-house laundry systems, and so we stepped up ready to supply and support them.
Now our customers range from care homes to hospitals and hotels. With our experience and expertise, we can help all sorts of organisations, businesses and institutions find the right laundry kit to suit their needs.
Different sectors have their specific needs, whether it’s schools and colleges, campsites and holiday parks, or even equestrian businesses. We’ve developed our business to meet those needs.
However, at the heart of it is still our original service to the public. We’ve never forgotten what got us started in this industry, and we continue to provide laundry and drycleaning services at our Ecclesall Road centre in Sheffield.
We’ve had this site for 30 years now, taking it over from Sybil’s Quick Clean. It’s an established part of the community, and some of the original Sybil’s staff are still with us to this day.
The current shop manager at the Goodman Sparks Laundry and Drycleaning Centre is Jonathan Chapman who has been with us for over 10 years.
As for the family side of the business, Roger Sparks, the company’s founder and chairman, is now retired, and so is Richard Goodman. However, it’s still very much a family concern, with Jonathan Sparks, Roger’s son, now running things, alongside his wife, Sally.
Goodman Sparks has got deep roots in Sheffield, and however diverse our business, we’ve always retained this sense of being a local, supportive, community-based business.
The Beautiful Launderette
Over the past 25 years, the number of launderettes in the UK has fallen by around three quarters. This makes us value what we’ve got at Goodman Sparks on Ecclesall Road even more.
The launderette has been part of the fabric of how British people live since 1949, when the country’s first coin-operated launderette opened in London.
Numbers of launderettes peaked in the 1980s, reaching some 12,500. Now there are around 3,000 left. But they continue to serve an essential function, as launderettes and drycleaners, but also as a social hub.
The National Association of the Launderette Industry (NALI) still receives two to three enquiries a week from people interested in setting up a launderette. Despite the rise of the domestic washing machine, if you get the site, and the business right, launderettes are still viable, and valued.
Typically, we attract a diverse customer-base, from people newly arrived here without their own laundry facilities at home, to regular customers who’ve been with us, and trusted our services, for years. We bring people together, so that a visit to Goodman Sparks can be as much of a social experience as a practical one.
And of course, there are things that a normal, domestic washing machine often can’t handle, such as duvets. So, even for people who normally do their own washing at home, we can offer them something they can’t do without.
Many of us lead such busy lives these days that the easiest option is to take your clothes to the launderette for a service wash, which is why we offer a same-day service. We’ll also collect and deliver you laundry if you need us to.
Alongside our drycleaning services at Ecclesall Road, we also provide a full repair service. This covers everything from textiles to clothes. We’ve got a top-notch seamstress on hand to ensure whatever you bring to us, we can repair it for you.
The Smell of Success
It’s a modern, convenient service that is both utterly contemporary, but also takes people right back to childhood memories.
There’s something about the smell of launderettes that gets in the blood. It feels immediately familiar, and helps people feel at home as soon as they enter. The smell is a comforting combination of detergent, fresh laundry and drycleaning, and a warm, faintly humid atmosphere.
If you could bottle this smell, you could sell it as instant nostalgia. Except, of course, that we’re very much a continuing business, as our LADA nomination shows.
Fingers crossed for success. We like the idea of recognising hard work, inspirational individuals and great businesses.
Get In Touch
At Goodman Sparks we’re continuing a proud tradition of service to the public, while planting our feet firmly in the 21st century. Launderettes aren’t just a thing of the past, and we’re proof of that.
We also specialise in commercial laundry appliances, supplying, installing and servicing across a range of sectors, including schools, colleges and universities.
Whatever your laundry or drycleaning needs, call us on 0800 988 8058, or email email@example.com