“Big Idea” Leads to Family Business

John Henderson and his sons

When John Henderson decided to build a laundromat business from the ground up, SBA was there to support him with a loan.  Now that the business has grown to three locations, Henderson has received two additional SBA loans to support that growth.

“All my life I’ve looked for the big idea,” Henderson, Owner of Liberty Laundry in Broken Arrow, OK said.  “What could I do that would support my family, that I would enjoy, that I could control?”

Liberty Laundry in Broken Arrow, Okla., opened for business in 2005. The idea of building a laundromat had begun nearly two years earlier. Henderson wanted to go into business for himself because he was miserable working as a customer service supervisor at a call center for a cell phone company. Two of his sons have since joined the business making it a family enterprise with 25 employees.

Henderson did not have a background in the laundry business, but he did his research and created a strong business plan. Now he shares that knowledge with other Laundromat owners by writing articles for the national trade association, including an article highlighting the benefits of SBA loan programs.

“I had done an awful lot of research, enough due diligence to choke an MBA, but even when you think you have identified the best practices in the industry and try to implement them, you just really don’t know until you open your doors and try them out to see if they work,” Henderson said.

Liberty Laundry opened its second location in 2010 in South Tulsa, a location that ranks in the top one percent nationwide for revenue per square foot.  Liberty Laundry is also the first Laundromat in Oklahoma to feature credit/debit card readers at each machine in addition to the traditional coin drop.

“Liberty Laundry is not your typical laundromat,” Henderson says, alluding to the diverse range of customers it serves. 

John Henderson’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship makes it clear he’s not your typical dreamer when it comes to building a business either.  He took his original vision, created a plan, and built a legacy with a little help from an SBA loan along the way.