Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

Before & After: A Year Long Interview with EDTP Alumnus Lorng Chhour

Posted on 6/1/2021 by Ray Lamboy in LAEDA News

Staff members Sophie Werner & Ashley Davis interviewed Lorng Chhour in February of 2020 before the pandemic hit, with hopes to spotlight her as a successful woman in business. She shared the entrepreneurial journey she’s been on for the past 10 years and her experience as a LAEDA alum.

What is the most important thing you've accomplished in life?

This right here, it was a top project. It took a long time, but it went through. When I first went on my own in 2003, I owned a liquor store but there was a lot of stealing and inventory control issues. A developer in the area bought out a laundromat and I saw an opportunity to replace this need in the Camden community.
I didn’t think I would make it because being a woman going into business is not easy. I struggled for a couple years, but don't give up, you have to be very determined and consistent with your goals. The thing that kept me going was wanting to show everyone that I can do it. If I gave up, it would tell everyone around me that I could not make it and if I kept going, eventually I would make it. After a couple years, I got used to the business and just kept going. The old location became too small as Federal Laundromat grew, so when I found this second property I thought it was a gold mine. The laundry business is very good for a woman who doesn’t want to deal with inventory or stealing so I’m very glad I made it work.

What are your plans for the future?

I don’t plan to build any more laundromats. I just want to continue for maybe another 5-8 years and then retire. I want my kid to take over the business and maybe develop some more properties in Camden. I want to make sure that he doesn’t just work hard, but also invest.

What is the biggest take away from the 9-week class at LAEDA?

The biggest benefit was getting to know all the business people in Camden and finding out what developments were going on at the time. LAEDA gets business owners together and in business it’s good to stay connected with other business people because you never know when you’ll need a general contractor, electrician, or a vendor.

Since this conversation in 2020, Long Chhour and countless business owners have dealt with changes due to COVID-19. I caught up with Ms. Chhour recently to see how 2021 and the past year have been on her and her business.

How did COVID-19 affect your business?

The laundromat is an essential business. I had to get sanitization supplies to keep my customers and employees safe. This made operating the business more expensive but I was able to safely provide for the community in a time of need. I’m proud and fortunate to have a high end laundromat with a lot of space so customers can social distance as they wash. I bought extra masks for customers coming in without one and regular visits from a cleaning service sanitized the machines. The safety measures I implemented made it easier for employees to feel comfortable returning back to work.

I feel like I am setting a good example for entrepreneurs in the area looking for investors or looking to be motivated by what I have accomplished here. It’s not easy making it work in a time like this but it is possible.

Support Lorng’s business and visit Federal Laundromat, located at 2320 Federal Street in Camden, NJ.