Sturgis laundry posts increases in revenue, sales over 2020, owner says Original

STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — The dirty laundry count at the Sturgis Laundry and Dry Cleaners for the official rally days is an increase over last year, said owner James “Clark” Sowers.

From Aug. 6 through Aug. 14, the site did 1,934 pounds of wash, dry and fold laundry for customers, Sowers said in an Aug. 15 email to KELOLAND News.

Today, Sowers said rally week revenue increased by 19% over 2020.

On Aug. 10, KELOLAND News shared a story about the amount of laundry done at Sowers’ site in Sturgis. Sowers tracks the pounds of WDF laundry he does and tracks receipts and other data. The sites, particularly in Sturgis, offers WDF for rally attendees and vendors as well as do-it-yourself in the laundromat.

Sowers has several laundry sites in the Black Hills area. Those sites are The locations in Belle Fourche, Spearfish, Rapid City and Sturgis. Sturgis, Belle Fourche and Spearfish are part of the northern Black Hills operations.

Revenue for the week of the rally (Aug. 6-15) increased by 19% over 2020. The number of pounds handled by the stores in Sturgis, Spearfish and Belle Fourche increased by 22%.

“Seems the walk-in/self serve just doesn’t slow down in Sturgis,” Sowers said at about 12:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13. “WDF typically slows down later in the week and that appears to be consistent this year but I don’t have numbers yet.  But we did receive a large WDF order from a busy vendor.”

By 4:16 p.m. on that same day walk-in self-service traffic had decreased to two customers in the store, Sowers said.

“I found it interesting for the second year in a row that the Sturgis Laundromat would remain busy with walk-in self-service customers all day,” Sowers said on Aug. 16.  “Previous years we would have the opportunity to catch up with WDF in the afternoons.”

The pounds of laundry follows a pattern similar to the vehicle traffic counts by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

For the traffic counts were the highest during the first three days of the rally, Friday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 8.

A total of 188,57 vehicles were counted over the first three days of the rally from Friday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 8, according to S.D. DOT.

The Sturgis store recorded 1,100 pounds of WDF during those first three days.

At the Sturgis store, WDF revenue was up by 10% but the orders were down by 5%. Sowers said that indicates that WDF orders were larger this year.

Sowers also operates dry-cleaning in the Sturgis, Belle Fourche and Spearfish stores.

He noted one significant change from prior years in the dry cleaning service during the rally.

“I am surprised in the other northern hills locations that the dry cleaning side has remained pretty busy which isn’t typical,” Sowers said. “The locals usually stay away during this week.”

And although the laundry associated with the rally goers decreased some later in the week, business picked up again on Monday as local residents returned to their stores.

As of Aug. 16, “The Belle Dry Cleaning plant had our busiest day of the year,” Sowers said.

Sowers said the stores still have another wave of Sturgis-related laundry as vendors will continue to bring in WDF orders or do their own laundry this week.

S.D. DOT released the seven-day traffic counts for Friday, Aug. 6, through Thursday, Aug. 13. The seven-day total of entering vehicles is 423,273 Vehicles. The individual day totals for Wednesday were 57,675 and 52,235 for Thursday.

Sowers said the total revenue for the rally is up 24% over 2020. When the first week of August and the rally week are totaled sales are up by 16% during that period, according to Sowers.

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