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Rob Maes, a corporate sales and marketing veteran of 20 years, extensively researched the laundry industry before giving it a spin. Two years ago, he developed two card-operated Continental high-speed laundries in the Houston area. Highly successful and located just 11 miles apart, the branded Express Laundry Centers were financed and developed simultaneously as unique area offerings.

Developed by Continental Girbau, the Express Laundry Center brand represents a vended laundry concept that markets a quicker wash and dry thanks to high-speed Continental ExpressWash laundry equipment. Via an Express Laundry Center, customers can complete laundry in less than 60 minutes.

"As a marketing person, I appreciate the value of a brand because it creates familiarity," says Maes. "People naturally gravitate to branded products and services." Adding power to the punch, the Express Laundry Center brand, which is backed by a successful business model, provided added credibility for acquiring financing and negotiating favorable lease agreements, according to Maes.