Dave's sense of duty helping him clean up
SIX years in the Queen's Dragoon Guards and 20 in the prison service suggests Dave Roberts can handle himself and difficult customers.
And his role as a retained firefighter in Dursley is a testament to his ongoing desire to risk life and limb for a cause.
But it was the need for a change and, perhaps, a longing to be his own boss that drove him towards an entirely new challenge which he admits made him absolutely terrified – running his own business.
This decision saw him plunging his entire redundancy money into a tired launderette in Gloucester.
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When you get him talking about his business, into which he has just invested a further £20,000, you realise he views it like some might view some of his previous roles – as serving the community.
For the father of two it is a case of look after his customers right and they will look after him, but you can't help fail to identify a sense of duty in among the business talk as well.
"When I first saw it, it was run down. The machines were dying," said Mr Roberts, who spent 2012 getting to know the customers, the business and how to keep the machines running any way he could.
"We're open 365 days of the year from 8am to 8pm and are staffed from 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays."
Technological upgrades – cheaper than replacing the stock of machines in the short run – quickly followed.
"Customers can access all the services online," said Mr Roberts, who revealed that the partner of a good friend had helped with the online upgrades as it allowed her to test out ideas on a working business.
It was proving, he said, a positive partnership.
He has also immersed himself in getting to know his customers and their needs, all of which gave him confidence to invest this year.
He spent the first few days of January working around the clock to install new machines as the business continued to stay open.
"There are a lot of people on low incomes, with social issues – perhaps they can't get out of their homes. I will turn up, collect their laundry, take it to them, deliver their dry cleaning," he said, saying this was often done for free as part of the service.
He will even open late if customers request it.
"I think it is important to serve the community, especially as a business in the current climate.
"It is important to be there for the community. That is what this job is about.
"At the end of the day, it is the community which will make or break me."