Wash Cycle Laundry looks to clean up in D.C.

There’s a new laundry sheriff in town.

Wash Cycle Laundry, a Philadelphia company that will pick up your dirty clothes and deliver them back via company tricycles, has invaded Washington.

The company, started in 2010 by Rockville native Gabriel Mandujano, 31, has two brightly colored orange vehicles already patrolling the D.C. streets in search of dirty clothes.

“We earned our first dollar in D.C. the Tuesday after Memorial Day,” Mandujano said.

As a publicity stunt, a team of eight employees biked one of the vehicles 160 miles down from Philadelphia, where Wash Cycle is headquartered.

Mandujano, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied urban studies and business, said he wanted to create a for-profit business that helps employ vulnerable adults. Those include people with nonviolent criminal records, people on public benefits and women with children but no income.

Those workers can earn around $12 to $13 an hour in Washington.

“The social mission is to show entry-level service jobs can be launching pads into upwardly mobile careers,” said the entrepreneur.

He uses bikes — which can carry 300 pounds of laundry — as a substitute for trucks because they are more versatile, and “I wanted it to be greener and cheaper.”

Mandujano said the company currently grosses less than $1 million a year. But he expects to go over $1 million once his District operation gets momentum, which he expects to take a few months.

Wash Cycle recently received an investment from Investors’ Circle, a national organization that put up $330,000. The company got started with $25,000 in seed money from the Small Business Administration.

The company owns nine bikes, which cost about $2,000 each.

The company staff picks up the laundry at a home or business. Then the laundry is cycled to a partner facility, where Wash Cycle staff cleans it. The company charges $1.60 per pound for households. Businesses get a bulk discount.

More than half his revenue comes from universities, hospitals and nursing homes. The rest comes from busy professionals, families with young children and senior citizens.

“We sell to a lot of segments,” Mandujano said.

Now arriving. . .

The folks at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport last week couldn’t resist throwing a little party when the Spanish national soccer team, defending World Cup champions, flew in from Madrid in a specially decorated Iberian Airlines flight on June 2.

The plane was welcomed by an arch of water cannons on the runway, created by two fire trucks from the airport’s fire and rescue team, according to staff writer Amrita Jayakumar.

Fans waving Spanish flags and sporting red jerseys thronged the inside of the terminal, where airport officials had set up a barricaded aisle for the players to walk through. Members of the Spanish Embassy, including Consul General Jesus Rodriguez-Andia were in attendance as official greeters.

The festivities were part of BWI’s effort to showcase its international passenger traffic, which has grown by 20 percent in each of the past two years.

Spain’s week in Washington was to culminate with a friendly match against El Salvador at FedEx Field on Saturday. The players are headed to Brazil for the World Cup opening ceremony this week.

Sock it to me

Brad Christmann, 30, a Silver Spring native currently living in Arlington, is activating his entrepreneurial gene.

The University of Virginia graduate is moonlighting from his day job as a digital marketing manager at Capital One to start a “funky dress socks” company called Boldfoot Socks.

His target audience is men and women who want to add some pop to their wardrobe. The price point is around $12 per pair, and the products are manufactured outside Philadelphia.

Socks go on sale at 9 a.m. on June 10, in tandem with the start of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for his start-up. Christmann has seeded the company with $2,500 of his own money, but he is using Kickstarter to raise even more.

“When I was nine or 10 years old, I had an idea to develop reversible socks,” Christmann said. Twenty years later, “I started playing around with different patterns and designs. I really enjoyed the opportunity to use the creative side of my brain.”

Christmann said he will even offer sock insurance: He will replace torn socks within six months of purchase, no questions asked.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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