Chute, a laundry delivery service founded and run by a Penn State student, has opened up a pop-up shop of thrift Penn State apparel on Beaver Avenue.
Numerous different Penn State and Chute apparel items are available for purchase, from crewnecks and sweaters to t-shirts and sweatshirts. The clothes are thrifted from shops around the State College area for the store.
The shop is located at 113 East Beaver Ave. next to the Phyrst in the former home of Downtown Nails. The shop aims to be a general publicity move for Chute.
The service allows customers to have their clothes picked up and returned professionally washed and dried in only 24 to 48 hours.
Chute also offers dry cleaning and other services to make laundry easier and less time consuming for busy students and residents — because, to quote its slogan, “Laundry is a pain in the a**.”
Reid Moncada, a Penn State student, co-founded the business in 2018 with other Penn State students, and has since taken over as CEO of the company.
The idea for a laundry delivery service came from a Penn State entrepreneurship class project that Moncada and the other co-founders took to the next level.
The service now boasts hundreds of regular customers in the State College and Philadelphia areas, and has new customers join every day.
The pop-up shop has been in the space for about a month, with Moncada jumping on the opportunity as soon as he saw his chance to put up a physical space like this.
“What I’m trying to do here is to kind of manifest into reality the brand that we’re trying to make,” Moncada (senior-corporate innovation and entrepreneurship) said. “What we’re trying to do is bridge that gap between laundry and fashion.”
While inspired by pop-up spaces in bigger cities, Moncada said the pop-up shop in State College worked better for the company because of price point.
He hopes the shop will attract publicity to the service and the brand, throwing in a $30 laundry delivery credit and free Chute swag with every purchase of clothing items.
“[It’s] creating an experiential space. You come in here, I’m able to talk to you, it’s a lot easier for me to talk to you about who we are and what we do than us just flashing up on your Instagram feed for a second,” Moncada said. “This is by far the riskiest thing I’ve ever done.”
Moncada is a senior, but will be taking a semester off in the spring to focus on the business and find out what he really wants to do.
“Right now, I have the opportunity to put myself on payroll… it’s risky but exciting,” Moncada said. “I can’t sit in class anymore; it doesn’t make sense to me. I learn so much more by being out in the real world.”
In just a relatively short amount of time, Moncada and his team have grown the company into one that is being noticed by other entrepreneurs and investors, who have put a lot of faith in him and his company goal.
He spent a lot of time on Wall Street in New York and took a class at Draper University in Silicon Valley, making connections and gaining knowledge about the industry.
“That’s when I got out of this bubble at Penn State and really started thinking big,” Moncada said. “I came back here and was able to convince people to join my team and put money into me, and it just manifested into this whole organization,”
Moncada’s plan for Chute is to become the biggest laundry service in the world, adding the current laundry industry is seen more as a commodity than anything else.
“All the other laundry companies see laundry as a commodity rather than leverage as an asset,” Moncada said. “We’ve just been really figuring out how to create a brand and tell a story, because we’re a lot more than just a laundry service.”
Chute’s plan for the future is to, much like other big companies, take the data of what people are wearing and interpret that to see what the next trends are by just doing people’s laundry.
For now, the pop-up shop will stay downtown until at least January, and Moncada is taking it all in while he can.
“We have a pretty cool store,” Moncada said. “I’m just trying to sell things I like.”
There are many options when it comes to doing laundry. Here are your options.