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Former Owls start new cycle

Campus Mom owners Nate Gaughan (left) and Mike Vitone (right)
Campus Mom owners Nate Gaughan (left) and Mike Vitone (right)

KEENE, N.H., 10/14/10 - After graduating from Keene State last May, Mike Vitone and Nate Gaughan knew it was time to move on to the next cycle in their lives. Little did they know at the time that the cycles would be regular, permanent press, or gentle.

Like most college students, Vitone and Gaughan, both four-year soccer players for the Owls, had their share of laundry machine misfortune. So they decided to do something about it and started Campus Mom Laundry Service. Featuring washing, drying, folding, and dry cleaning, the business also offers pick-up and delivery as well 24-hour turnaround.

Campus Mom irons out all the problems. No more waiting, no more concerns about theft or destroyed clothes, and no need to save up your quarters. You bag it, they wash it.

“We never had this service available to us,” said Vitone, originally from East Greenwich, R.I. “Now we want to provide a laundry service to the students.”

“This service is going to help students become better students, by eliminating the challenges and stresses they encounter doing their own laundry,” said Gaughan, a native of Harwinton, Conn.

When it comes to laundry, both Vitone and Gaughan encountered a good deal of static as students. The duo said their busy schedules and a lack of laundry fundamentals entered into their decision to start the business.

A victim of late-night machine mayhem, Vitone said he majored in procrastination when it came to doing his laundry. “One time I had four or five dirty loads and didn’t have clothes for soccer practice,” he said. “I don’t think my teammates were too happy being around me that day.”

“I was pampered growing up. My parents did my laundry, so I didn’t have a lot of laundry experience starting college,” said Gaughan. “Even as a senior, I still brought my clothes home to my mother. She didn’t mind. It gave her more time to think she was still involved in my things. And when she saw a stain, she’d always asked how it happened?”

Instead of jumping right into the laundry pile, Vitone and Gaughan did their home work, soliciting investors, creating a business plan, and determining the proper channels when it came to approaching Keene State. “We spent 12 hours a day for four months to get things going,” said Vitone. “We wanted to have a successful company.”

To cut down on start-up costs, the pair decided to begin their service as middle men - contracting with an established laundromat in the city to use its machines.

Contacts they had built up as KSC student athletes helped them get up and running on campus. Jim Draper, Keene State’s director of Purchasing and Contracting Services was more than happy to help out. “I thought it was a great idea and one that was overdue,” he said. “It provides a couple of recent alumni with an opportunity to test their entrepreneurial skills and shows that we are an organization willing to assist those with good ideas for expanding student services on campus.”

To spread the word around campus, Mike and Nate set up a table and tent during orientation week. The two business buddies received mix reviews from parents.

“Some were skeptical about the idea of paying tuition and for laundry to be done,” said Vitone. “They’d say their son or daughter needed to take some responsibility.” To counter their argument, Vitone relied on his own personal experience. “We understood the hassles,” he said. “It’s more about freeing up time so you can worry about your number-one priority, which is getting an education.” By in large, the response was positive, with many parents commenting that they wish they had the service available when they went to college.

Vitone and Gaughan also hit up many of their former teammates and even talked to Coach Ron Butcher. Although he was helpful in setting up shop and steering some clients their way, the pair said there wasn’t enough softener available to get the long-time coach to hand over his dirty clothes just yet.

Although it’s early in the cycle, the response from customers has been positive. “It’s really been good so far,” said Scott Douglas, a freshman soccer player from East Greenwich, R.I. “With soccer, I have so many extra clothes, so it’s really convenient to use them.”

“My school schedule is crazy, so the service has been a huge help,” said Emma Kash, a first-year student from New Baltimore, N.Y. “I tried it this semester and I like it so far.”

Campus Mom isn’t just on campus. The two have been up and down Main Street trying to drum up business from owners and local professionals. Separating the lights from the darks and the good from the bad after three months, both say they feel good about how things are going. “Things couldn’t be better,” said Gaughan, who, along with Vitone, has signed up for online marketing and sales classes. “The customers are happy, and we’re adding new clients every day.”

“Both of us are happy with what we’ve done and accomplished already,” added Vitone. “It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work and motivation, and we have all of those things. That’s why we’re going to be successful.”

Vitone and Gaughan have also received strong support from their parents. “My parents couldn’t be happier that we started our own company,” said Gaughan. “They see our drive and our determination and back us 100%.”

What goes around comes around in the laundry business. “My folks like to joke with me now,” said Gaughan. “Whenever my parents come up to visit, they say Campus Mom is going to have to do their laundry for them.”

For more information about Campus Mom Laundry Service visit or call 603-903-0290.

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