ZIPS Dry Cleaners Enlists Acclaimed Retail Design Firm

Nation's leading dry cleaning franchise has partnered with Baltimore-based architecture firm L2M to create new, scalable store prototype

November 23, 2010 // Franchising.com // Greenbelt, MD – Continuing to anchor itself as the leader in the multi-billion dollar dry cleaning industry, ZIPS, an aggressively expanding national dry cleaning franchise chain with 26 locations on the East Coast, enlisted the nationally recognized retail design experts and architects at L2M to develop a new store prototype.

The new partnership will ensure consistent branding and further leverage economies of scale as the dry cleaning chain continues to expand within and outside its Mid-Atlantic hub. L2M, the firm behind countless design projects across the retail spectrum – including Panera Bread and Advanced Auto, among others – worked closely with ZIPS to combine their extensive brand development experience with ZIPS' industry leading dry cleaning expertise to develop a unique and identifiable branding strategy and store layout.

"We took their existing, well-developed workflow design and helped identify uniform elements and systems that could be rolled-out as part of a national development model – a prototype," said Scot Loiselle, co-founder of L2M and lead architect for the project.

L2M also formed the prototype with the refinement and development of ZIPS' national brand strategy in mind, with the ultimate aim of making the concept more recognizable and familiar.

"When you see the Golden Arches, you don't need to see the sign to know what's there; we sought to create that feeling with ZIPS," Loiselle said.

To that end, the architects and designers at L2M worked closely with ZIPS' ad agency Hot Dish Advertising to translate ZIPS' popular branding into the trade-dress of the "built environments" in ZIPS' stores. Reinforcement of ZIPS' messaging is evident throughout the new design. The clean, stainless steel lettering of the logo highlights the efficiency of ZIPS' business model, "Smarter, Cheaper, Faster," while wood accents reference the high-quality of the service. The famous "$1.99 for any garment" and "In by 9, out by 5" guarantees are featured prominently in signage and graphics on the front of each location.

"We sought to update the concept and relate to the customer in a standard and consistent way that speaks to the quality and efficiency of ZIPS' service, the service that customers have come to know and love," Loiselle said.

The prototype, which was first implemented at the recently opened Lancaster, Pa. location, has also guided the construction of the soon-to-open Norfolk, Va. store. Implementation at these two new locations comes as ZIPS has eyed national expansion that will leverage this new design. A consistent prototype will mean the dry cleaning chain can begin negotiating national contracts with equipment vendors, manufacturers and distributors creating economies of scale that will make national expansion more efficient and cost-effective.

"We have always known that ZIPS' business model had obvious national appeal and this new prototype brings us closer to expanding ZIPS into markets across the country in an aggressive fashion," said Andy Cucchiara, V.P. of Franchise Operations for ZIPS.

About ZIPS

ZIPS, which was founded in 1996 and began franchising in 2006, has 26 locations on the East Coast with additional stores opening this fall. The company offers a fixed price of $1.99 for any garment to be dry cleaned and $1.19 for any shirt to be laundered. ZIPS offers same day service "In by 9 out by 5" with the motto, "Smarter, Cheaper, Faster!" Furthermore, ZIPS was founded as a cash only business that, by keeping prices low for consumers, provides a large volume of business consistently moving through each store— up to 3,000 garments per day. And with less than 10 percent of total costs going toward supplies and inventory, ZIPS is proving to be a hot investment. For more information, go to www.321zips.com.

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