Pressbox looks to launch laundry 2.0

  • Pressbox plans to open 15 laundry locker locations in Chicago.
Pressbox plans to open 15 laundry locker locations in Chicago. (Pressbox )
September 13, 2013|By Mick Swasko, @swasko | RedEye

Pressbox wants to take care of all of Chicago's dirty laundry.

Vijen Patel, 27, of Wicker Park, said he set out to solve a problem he had in his own busy life in launching his business -- needing things dry cleaned but never having time for the drop off and pick up. His solution is Pressbox, a service that allows users to drop off all their dirty laundry in a series of secure locker locations throughout the city and get everything back washed and folded within 48 hours.

“It’s on your schedule, you just come by when you have a second,” he said. “We’ll always be here and we’ll always be open.”

Pressbox currently has one public location at 2936 North Lincoln Avenue Lakeview, but plans to open 15 more as the business grows. Patel, the CEO and cofounder of the business, said he’s using technology licensed from a similar company he met while consulting in San Francisco. He said he aims to be the laundry equivalent of movie rental service "Redbox." 

Current customers drop off their laundry in two separate piles, items that need dry-cleaning, and things that need to be washed and folded, in a locker. They enter a four-digit pin, and text the locker number to Pressbox. The laundry is then collected and taken offsite, and the user gets two texts. One that lets them know it’s ready, and another with the new locker number and new combination. Prices vary, but a pound of laundry costs $1.50, and a suit runs $6. Return users get reusable orange and blue bags to separate their clothes, which are personalized with their names.

By the end of the year, Patel said he and co-founder Drew McKenna plan to launch an app for the service, instead of relying on text messaging. Currently, the service has about 150 customers, and the 15 planned locations will be a split between publicly available drop of points and lockers in private residential buildings.

He said he’s aiming to have the service be as customizable as possible, with special wash instructions and even the choice of laundry detergent available to customers.

“This is a problem we faced, and we tried to solve it,” he said. “How many 20 some year olds want to be drycleaners, right? Somehow we’re crazy enough to want to be.”


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