Helping hand: Irvin Hendrickson says one of the greatest pleasures he gets from owning his own business — Hendy’s Landromat — is being able to assist people when they do encounter problems. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Helping hand: Irvin Hendrickson says one of the greatest pleasures he gets from owning his own business — Hendy’s Landromat — is being able to assist people when they do encounter problems. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
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I

rvin Hendrickson learned his trade as a carpenter at 16.

 

 

He took that knowledge, and, with a side of entrepreneurial spirit, opened his own shop. Mr Hendrickson also has a life-long spirit of wanting to assist. He has helped teach prisoners carpentry skills. His latest venture is Hendy’s Laundromat, which is located at 20 Union Street.

 


Don Burgess

spoke to him about his business and the help he has received from the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation from being located in the Northeast Hamilton Economic Empowerment Zone.


What was your first job?

My first job, I did carpentry down at the Village Craft Shop and I was 16. I had just come out of school and I did that for a few years. I made about six pounds a week.

What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

It’s rewarding and relaxing. Not only do you get to spend time for yourself, I get to spend time with my family. Plus, I’m still in the helping business because people have problems trying to wash and I try to assist them.

What’s the worst thing about owning your own business?

So far, there’s nothing that would make me feel like I shouldn’t have done it.

How important is customer service?

Extremely important. Coming to the seminars (by the BEDC) has taught me how important it is. Without good customer service, your business can fail. 

What made you decide to get into the laundromat business?

I had a chat with my son because we had purchased a property and were trying to decide what to do with it. We threw things up in the air. He stated at one point ‘Why not have a restaurant?’ and I said ‘No, that’s too much.’ He then mentioned a laundromat and I said ‘Hey, hold on. I think that’s a winner.’

So what did you do at that point?

We made a list of all the laundries on the island to see what it entails and to see if it was something we could do. The first thing we did was check to see what the water supply would be like to see if it would be an issue and it was not a problem. 

Why did you decide to choose to locate in the economic empowerment zone?

The building was already ours so we didn’t have to worry about renting it from someone and do a lot of work and then be told we had to leave. I have been living there for 30 years.

I’d heard about the small business help from the BEDC and decided to come pay them a visit. When I came, I met Miss Roxanne Christopher and when I came back later, she remembered my name. It was a bit of a shock because I don’t remember names. I have found that all the members that I have been in contact with in this department, have been extremely helpful. The part I really like is they not only assist me in many ways, but they follow up. They have always been there for me.

How have they helped?

I was able to get a reduced mortgage from HSBC through them: I was also able to get a draft, which was a great help. They also had several seminars they put on, which I was able to benefit from. I was able to have a one-on-one with a lawyer for an hour, which would have otherwise cost me $350 or $400. Through all the seminars, I was able to meet so many people. The Economic Empowerment Zone’s customer service is first class.

If you were going to give advice to someone interested in starting their own business, what would it be?

I’d tell them ‘Please come and visit the BEDC.’ This is the place to come. If they don’t have it, they’ll find it for you. They can direct you to people who can help you and I’ve seen that for myself, and for that I am so grateful.