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24 Hour ATM-Style Laundry Service Expands on UES

By Amy Zimmer | October 8, 2012 6:53am

MANHATTANAround-the-clock laundry and dry cleaning services — without the hassle of having to wait for a person behind the counter — may be the way of the future on the Upper East Side.

DashLocker launched its second “automat”-style spot in the neighborhood letting users in any time of day or night with a swipe of a credit card — like using an ATM card to get into a bank — to drop off their wares in a locker for dry cleaning, wash-and-fold laundry or even shoe shines.

The first storefront, which opened in June at 1566 Second Ave., between East 81st and 82nd streets, proved hugely popular, helping the company attract more than 3,000 customers, representatives said.

Founder Robert Hennessy — who left the world of hedge funds to enter the laundry business two years ago — is hoping the newest outpost at 1733 First Ave., at East 90th Street, will attract even more busy bees and night owls, who often miss the typical 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. operating hours of dry cleaners.

“[It] offered us a corner location that enabled greater brand visibility, and an address less than 10 blocks from our first store,” Hennessy said in a statement about the launch of the new spot. “Now we can reach a large group of customers within a concentrated grid on the Upper East Side.”  

Two more locations are planned for the fall: at East 78th Street between Second and Third avenues and Lexington Avenue between East 93rd and 94th streets. 

Hennessy is also working with landlords on putting lockers in residential buildings that have no laundry service but do have unused space, so tenants can pick up or drop off their clothes as they get their mail or take out the trash. He said the program is enticing to property owners, who can generate revenue from DashLocker profits.

Hennessy believes the service will revolutionize the laundry scene, just like ATMs transformed banking. 

Instead of washing machines or dry cleaning presses on-site, the storefronts have automated lockers that customers fill with a special DashLocker bag full of dirty laundry or dry cleaning.

That bag, which has a bar code that the company scans to identify the owner, is picked up nightly at 10 p.m. and taken to Long Island City, and from there, either goes to Hennessy's laundromat, Wash-o-Matic in East New York, where they use eco-friendly, non-allergenic detergent or to Executive Shirts in Farmingdale, Long Island for shirts that need to be cleaned and pressed. Dry cleaning goes to Bridgestone Cleaners in Dumbo, which also uses green methods.

When clothes are returned, the next day at 10 p.m., the company sends a text message alerting customers to the locker with their freshly cleaned clothes.

Wash-and-fold costs $1.25 a pound and must be a minimum of 12 pounds. To clean and press a shirt costs $2.25. To dry clean a knee-length dress costs $9, while a blouse is $6 and a shoe shine starts at $9.

Hennessy plans to expand to other Manhattan neighborhoods but focused on the Upper East Side first, because it’s “a microcosm of the city,” he told DNAinfo.com New York. "The Upper East makes sense because the density is great and there are so many singles and young couples.”