Back to Luna in
By Cindy Bellinger
For The New Mexican
March 8, 2005
It’s a pretty simple business, what with picking up clothes, washing them,
drying them and returning them. “If people want items ironed, we’ll
do that too,” said Scott Ciener, owner of Luna Laundry.
After doing his bit in the world of high-tech from Hong Kong to Silicon
Valley, Ciener is completely happy with how simple his business
and his life has become.
He opened up a panel on a broken dryer. “See? The technology in these machines
hasn’t changed in 40 years. It’s pretty straightforward,” he
The success of his business will be straightforward, too, if it continues
in the direction it’s heading. For customer Eric Stapleman, Luna
Laundry is a godsend.
“Scott is fantastic. He’s reliable, on time and the quality of his
work can’t be beat,” said Stapleman, owner of the restaurant, Trattoria
Nostrani. “He also doesn’t make you sign one of those ridiculous
contracts the larger linen companies make you do.”
According to Stapleman, who’s been in the restaurant business for 25 years,
the large national laundry companies lease linens which “you pay for even
if you don’t use them all.” With Luna Laundry companies
can buy their own linens and pay for washing what they use.
Ciener said, “This means if a café wants to use green tablecloths
during the winter and yellow ones during the summer, they can. They aren’t
forced to use white all year if they don’t want to.” He
also does laundry for spas, doctor and dentist offices, hotels and
bed and breakfasts and
anyone else who has a large amount of linens that need washing. He
also is a diaper service.
When he and his wife, Anne Russell, wanted to leave California, they
looked around for a less hectic place and fell in love with Santa
Fe. And when
looked around for a business to buy, a laundry business showed
up in the want ads. He was one of 23 bidders, and got it.
The business has a rather long story. Years ago after the commercial
laundry White Swan was purchased by Mission and moved to Albuquerque,
was without a commercial laundry. Then two nurses began a diaper
several other owners until it finally ended up as Luna Laundry.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is a higher level of service. We
do a better job at less the cost,” Ciener said.
He paid $20,000 for the business and ended up investing another
$30,000 for new equipment. He says he was fortunate to have
taken over the
because the previous owners had gone through all the environmental
hoops. Ciener didn’t have do. He could focus on growing
his new business right from the start. Luna Laundry has five
washers, two being 85 pound washers. The facility
has the capacity to wash over 300 pounds and hour and dry
500 pounds an hour. One of his dryers can handle 125 pounds.
A large flat iron roller can iron a king size sheet or large
tablecloth without folding. The pricing starts at 65 cents
per pound to wash,
dry, fold and
wrap in plastic. Items Ciener cleans include sheets, towels,
blankets, napkins, mop heads, chef coats—and just about anything other kind of linen. “One
of our customers is the National Guard and right now we’re in the middle
of doing some sleeping bags for them,” he said.
Located off Airport Road, the space is 2000 square feet
and he inherited one employee and hired four more. “I’m lucky to have good people working
for me,” he said. He also offered his fulltime
employees benefits, but they all had medical coverage
elsewhere so turned him down.
For people who live in outlying areas, Luna Laundry keeps
a drop box outside the facility. “I get a few
customers for personal laundry, but for the most part
we’re focusing on commercial businesses,” Ciener
said, adding, “This is the lowest of the low
tech.” Just what he was looking
for, and Stapleman is one customer that’s happy he found it.