Bernard Bedgood is a community member in Butler County who owns a landmark business in Greenville. Mr. Bedgood inherited “The wash house,” as his father used to call it, in 2020. He says, “I stand on the shoulders of my father, who started the laundromat.” This business became an important part of his father’s legacy for this low-income neighborhood after he passed at the age of 101.
In 1982 Bedgood Laundromat started “operating under a culture of excellent customer service and respect for everybody but mainly to be a lighthouse for the community,” as Bernard describes it. He feels proud to share that this business has been a warm and safe place for children, in front of the bus stop to wait for parents, provide them with advice, and build community.
In 2021, Bernard contacted the Greenville area-Butler County Chamber of Commerce for support, where he was referred to the SBDC at Troy University. The Director, Juliana Bolivar, started conversations with Mr. Bedgood to create a recovery strategy for his business after Covid, which affected this industry tremendously.
Pouncey started to work on designing a visual identity that reflects the characteristics of the Bedgood Laundromat that make him different: cleanliness, reliable machines, and social impact. The process began with brand development, as he did not have a logo or color identity to start developing on. After that, the advisor started creating the content for his main social media outlet, Facebook, by adding a banner, profile picture, images, and graphic pieces sharing updates and important information with the public.
After creating a work plan, his assigned operations advisor Will Pouncey discussed with Bernard the current financial outlook of his business. This allowed Pouncey to understand better the low-interest loan Bernard took to make significant improvements to the business equipment. After analyzing it, the best strategy was to focus on attracting more clients to his business, but he needed a clear work path.
Will suggested using the least expensive tool to help Bernard promote his business: his online presence. As a team, we realized Mr. Bedgood did not have the technical skills to implement this plan on his own to revamp and boost his social media presence. There was a need to create awareness of this busines
s around the community to newcomers and long-term residents that could use his services and visit the Bedgood Laundromat to wash home items that would fit in a residential-sized washer. Our idea was to use technology to highlight the social impact, cleanliness, and good service customers expect from this small business.
It started to reflect on new followers that later became new visitors and users of his services. He also developed a post bank that will be programmed to post automatically while Bernard acquires more confidence to start sharing content himself. Will has incorporated Bernard’s son during the training meetings to empower them to use this tool to impact the business positively.
The SBDC is not only a place for operational support but to find a word of encouragement that business owners need to continue working on their dreams. The director, as part of the advising team, continues to engage with Bernard in conversations when he needs to be reminded of the significant accomplishments he has made in this business. It reflects on Mr. Bedgood’s enthusiasm when describing the services provided; “I am very pleased with the help and assistance that Will Pouncey is giving me. He designed an awesome Facebook page. He has given good advice on marketing and adjusting the price of my machines”.
Beyond that, the strategic planning and advocacy work will continue as the center director has been working to connect Bernard with civic organizations and community development groups that can support the social impact of this business in the community.