Laundry owner hopes to clean up at awards

THE spinqueen of Nelson Mandela Bay could soon add another title to her name.

Owner of the Spinqueen Laundry in Nelson Mandela Bay, Hlubi Hewitt- Coleman, was nominated as a finalist in Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards in the small and medium enterprise (SME) category.

She was selected countrywide as one of the nine finalists in the category, with the winner representing South Africa in the regional division of the pan-African awards in Johannesburg on July 30.

Considered to be one of the top awards in the country, which for the first time this year includes the entire continent, the CEO magazine's Most Influential Women awards have over the years delivered several Eastern Cape finalists and winners.

These include last year's winner in the basic industries category, Dr Bridgette Gasa. The overall African winner will be announced on October 30 in Johannesburg.

Hewitt-Coleman has grown her laundromat business in just eight years to service some of the top hotels and bed- and-breakfast establishments in the region. She stumbled upon the business while doing event management and having to find a service to clean table cloths and drapings which were used in the events she organised.

"I am humbled by the nomination and being a finalist. I am proud to represent the women of the Eastern Cape.

"I have no idea who nominated me for the award but it is the second year that I am being nominated. I declined the nomination in 2013," Hewitt-Coleman said.

Providing work to 28 staff members at Spinqueen in Western Road, Central, Hewitt-Coleman said the secret to her business's success was being honest with customers, offering a consistent service and having a good relationship with both her staff and customers.

Spinqueen offers same-day service as well as self-service laundry seven days a week.

Hewitt-Coleman, who is married to well-known Bay architect Tim Hewitt- Coleman, said balancing her family and business life was not that hard. The couple have three children, Litha, 18, Noah, 15, and Mandisa, 11.

"We work together as a team and do proper planning by having a family meeting every week to decide on who does what," Hewitt-Coleman said.

She also won the regional Business Women's Association Achievers Awards in the entrepreneur category in 2010. - Cindy Preller