It has been like that since 1982, when Mrs. Valli opened her artisan shop in Gambettola near Forlì. Soon, also her husband Ezio got involved in the business. Today, their son, Christian Biondi, is running the awarded laundry in the sign of continuity that translates to the necessary adjustments to market transformations. That is why, the shop is equipped with hydrocarbon machines and offers shirts treatment service for nine hours a day all year long making the old and new clients happy
Where will the little Emma work, an elementary school pupil, when she is 49, in 2060? Christian Biondi, Emma’s father is asking himself this question while working the shirts and the duvet that have just been brought to the shop by Mrs. Luisa. He has spent a quarter of his 49 years at his family business, the Lavanderia Adriana. His mother, Adriana Valli, opened the shop in 1982 in Gambettola, a small town with 10 thousand inhabitants in the province of Forlì-Cesena. Eventually, Christian’s father, Ezio Biondi got involved in the family business, too.
“I am asking myself about Emma’s future also because when I was a teenager, I used to think about my future life imagining other occupations – he says standing behind the counter at his shop in Via del Lavoro Street. – So, when I became an adult, I started working at a factory. Then, with time, I started to better under stand the value of a laundry business, and eventually, when my mom decided to retire, I made up my mind, left the factory and took over the family business. That step represented an important and a positive change for me”.
While growing up, Emma, even if she decides to become a marine biologist or an important lawyer, will definitely acquire the value of that change her father decided to accomplish as he had proved to be able to continue the business activity founded by grandma Adriana with sacrifice and passion. Actually, the opening hours sign speaks clearly: 7,30-12,30; 2,30-7:00. The shop is opened for nine hours and a half every day including Saturday when it is opened in the morning only. The figures clearly reflect that the activity is carried out with dedication, time and the ability to satisfy the most various and detailed requests. “Today, it is a service that looks for a client – confirms Christian Biondi – because the times when a laundry was a point of reference for a domestic economy of an Italian family are long gone. When my mom was opening the store, there were five other stores in Gambettola and there was enough work for everybody. Today, there are only three of us left “.
“It is also true that the textile care market is not strictly local any more – continues the owner of the Lavanderia Adriana. – An example of it could be the shirts treatment service with 2.20 euro per shirt which we have proposed to meet the specific, widespre ad demand for shirts cleaning and ironing. It has worked here for three years now and it has been so successful that we have acquired some new, regular customers coming from other towns, even from twenty kilometers away. It is because nowadays, a laundry is not a static business anymore, where you regularly come in with your batch of garments, leave them and leave the store.
Instead, it has become a truly dynamic activity that captures the requests in real time”. “The crucial aspect – Biondi adds – is to operate well and fast because customers expect the fastest possible time of delivery from an artisan laundry shop, a place that will solve their problem and notify them with a text message when the garment is ready. Obviously, when the machine is not enough, we intervene by handwork. We proceed with the cleaning, we repeat it if need be, and generally, we put into practice all that the real artisan approach to work has taught us”.
Together with his mother Adriana, who stayed to give him a hand because of the love for this work, and three part-time collaborators, Christian Biondi talks about his principles of the continuous interaction with customers. Nothing is excluded from these relations, not even the technology. “At the moment, – the entre preneur explains – we operate four washers and two 15 kg dry cleaning machines by Firbimatic, both of them are hydrocarbon machines. The big impact of the shirt treatment service results from these two machines. After the cleaning process, the shirts are particularly soft and ready to wear, without any trace of bad smells. It allows to increase the quantity of dry-cleaned garments, especially the delicate ones that contain prints, paillettes and other decorations that not always can be treated by perc. What is more, clients are quite at ease at a store that is bright, light and well-scented and where they can almost touch the cleaning quality and the well-being guaranteed by this technology”.
The machine inventory at the Lavanderia Adriana is completed by two ironing stations, a work station for special type of ironing, a shirt finisher and a “topper” for sports trousers and jeans finishing. The price of the latter service is also 2.20 euro per pair. The machine range covers exactly what is needed to guarantee services that in clude the entire range of garments treatment, starting from duvets, curtains or other house objects to sanitize. “We only outsource the cleaning of carpets and leather garments – explains Christian Biondi – but we always personally guarantee the quality of service”.
This is why the little Emma, even if she is busy working as an astronaut or a virtual archives curator in 2060, she will have acquired and kept the values conveyed by her dad Christian and grandma Adriana. It is a store opened to “serve”. Always, possibly. “Yes, in summer, too, – explains Christian Biondi – because closing the store for three weeks of summer holidays is out of question today. Holidays are taken for shorter periods these days, and people spread the free days over the year, unlike it used to be. And there is always someone looking for a laundry in summer.
That is why, we only take one week of holidays and close the laundry during that time, while for the rest of the summer holiday period, we take shifts”. Only in this way, we can book a little bit of the future for us. •
by Stefano Ferrio