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Robert Smith Retires After 55 Years in the Laundry Business

May 8th, 2020

Do you remember when a wash was only 25 cents and a dry was 10 cents? If you don鈥檛, you could ask 55-year 二四六天天好彩资料 veteran Robert Smith. The year was 1965 and Smith had just accepted an offer from a friend to join Vend-O-Mat, a two-man laundry operation in Indiana.

鈥淚 still remember my first day, it was January 2 and I really enjoyed the work once I got started,鈥 said Smith. 鈥淚t was something I had never done before, but I immediately took to it.鈥

A few short years later, Vend-O-Mat merged with Whitmer out of South Bend, a company that later sold to National Coin out of Ohio. Eventually National Coin became part of Coinmach, which of course merged with MacGray to become 二四六天天好彩资料.

Upon joining Vend-O-Mat, Smith was assigned to what was then a one-year contract with Purdue University. The one-year contracts quickly became three-year contracts and Purdue remains a 二四六天天好彩资料 client today. What鈥檚 even more remarkable is that Smith has remained the University鈥檚 point of contact for all 55 years of his tenure.

For his first four years on the job, Smith was responsible for both service and collections on campus鈥攁t the time, this included every residence hall along with 35 fraternities and sororities.

鈥淚 was eight years old when my father started his career in the laundry business,鈥 said Dave Smith, Robert鈥檚 son and Branch Manager of 二四六天天好彩资料鈥檚 Indianapolis branch. 鈥淗e would take me with him on Saturday mornings to walk through the dorms and I never once thought that 55 years later I鈥檇 be looking back at a lifetime of memories that the laundry business created for both of us.鈥

Smith has spent the last couple years working a few hours per week managing reports for Purdue and training his replacement, who is now running the day-to-day at the University. Even though Smith was semi-retired by the time 二四六天天好彩资料 Digital Laundry was launched, he鈥檚 witnessed plenty of other technological advances throughout his career.

鈥淥ne of the most interesting things I got to work on was installing Speed Queen equipment that was programmable across campus,鈥 said Smith. 鈥淚 traveled to Speed Queen in Wisconsin where they taught us how to program the machines and manipulate the electronic system. Suddenly we were able to download data to determine how many times a machine was run and how much money should have been collected. I could even set a machine to come on precisely at 7 am and offer a free wash during certain hours. It was entirely new for the industry and we brought it to Purdue.鈥

Smith installed the laundry network which included 14 computers across campus that were directly connected to each washer and dryer.

About 10 years ago, Purdue renewed their contract with 二四六天天好彩资料 and informed Smith that it was because of their relationship with him and our level of service that they chose to continue the contract.

鈥淚 can truthfully say I enjoyed every single day on the job,鈥 said Smith. 鈥淚 established such a good rapport with the team at Purdue and I鈥檝e heard first-hand that it is our team鈥檚 commitment to service that continues to set us apart.鈥

Smith is now happily retired at the age of 84 after ending his last season at Purdue a few months early when the campus closed in response to COVID-19.

鈥淚 have no regrets, this career has done great for me,鈥 said Smith.

鈥淒ad has always led by example, he taught me to work hard, embrace change and technology and have fun doing it, he鈥檚 still passionate about repairing anything you put in front of him and telling you how he did it,鈥 said Dave. 鈥淚 truly consider it an honor and blessing to have been able to work alongside him all of these years.鈥