Waleed Cope was born and raised in Bed-Stuy, with his father operating the laundromat at 105 Saratoga Avenue since 1962. But after Waleed’s father retired in recent years, he decided to come “back to my roots” to run the family business with his wife.
The laundromat is a crucial–and often beloved–business in any New York neighborhood. Waleed didn’t plan to change too much at the establishment his father built. But he decided to innovate off the existing business to make it easier for the Bed-Stuy residents who sought to get out of doing their laundry. The result was The Soap Box, a walk-in and mobile app that offers fast, easy laundry and dry cleaning service. “My dad laid this huge foundation for us,” he says, “And the idea was to build on top of that.”
The Soap Box opened just across the street from the laundromat, at 110 Saratoga. It’s a simple space for dropping off and picking up, but the idea is that Soap Box users don’t have to set foot in the door. Walking in, the space operates for regular drop-off service. But the app allows you to arrange pick-ups and drop-offs right to your door, so you never have to step inside a laundromat. Waleed compared it to an Uber ridesharing app, where you can punch in your address and get notifications when the driver is on the way, either to pick up dirty clothes or drop them off clean.
Waleed’s business attitude is to “be as personable as possible.” They’re in constant contact with their clients about scheduling, pick-ups, or the random baby bottle that they find in a laundry pile. But ultimately, “the goal for each customer is consistency, so they have the same experience with us every time,” Waleed says.
The Soap Box currently serves the neighborhood and locations around Brooklyn. Waleed hired a local workforce and remains involved in the community and local business scene. For him, the “sense of community and belonging” is still strong in the neighborhood, as it was when he dad ran the laundromat. So if you’ve got better things to do than laundry, be sure to look into the super convenient, local services of The Soap Box!
The cost to use the app for pickup and drop off is $1.10 per pound. If you’re interested, you can arrange everything right here at the website.