National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Princess for a Night provides prom gowns for hundreds
Ten years ago, Ziker Cleaners started collecting prom gowns for high school girls who could otherwise not afford them.
In that time, plant owner Dave Fischgrund estimates that his South Bend drycleaning plant has given away between 3,000 and 4,000 dresses in the Princess for a Night program, which adds up to a lot of grateful recipients.
“It’s interesting to see the girls’ reactions, but the mothers who are with them are very emotional about their daughters getting a prom dress and how nice it is and how helpful it is to them economically,” he said.
This year, he believes over 300 girls were able to sift through the aisles of over 1,100 dresses at a shopping event sponsored by Ziker and their partners on the project, the Junior League of South Bend.
Most years, the cleaning plant collects between 1,200 and 1,500 dresses and can give away as many as 400 to 500.
“It’s tied directly to the economy,” Fischgrund added. “A few years ago we gave away a lot more dresses than we did this year.”
The program has certainly grown considerably in scope over the years. During the first year, the company collected about 500 gowns, but it soon grew.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to partner with different media and they’ve been very kind to promote it,” he said. “We do it for one day for about four hours and publicize it well in the surrounding schools. About 50 high schools get notification that it’s coming up.”
The response can be a bit overwhelming. Oftentimes, as was the case this year, high school girls may start lining up outside the shopping location as early as 6 p.m. on Friday night before it opens its doors at 8 a.m. the next morning.
While the dresses are all free, Fischgrund noted that the company chooses not to clean all of them beforehand since several hundred won’t even be picked. Instead, they attach a coupon for a $5 cleaning (greatly discounted from what normally costs about $15 to $20).
“It gives the girls an opportunity to get a dress and not spend money for it so they can spend money for other things,” he said. “It can go towards the hair or makeup, things like that.”
While that is always helpful, perhaps the best aspect of the program is that it gives the girls unparalleled shopping options.
“We are fortunate enough to have a pretty good selection between sizes 2 and 22,” he added. “If you think about it, there is nowhere else you can go to get quite this diverse of a selection in any dress shop... and there’s no charge.”
Seminar on cleaning skills in. St. Louis
The Southwest Drycleaners Association and Fabriclean Supply will be teaming up to offer a free “Sharpen Your Skills” seminar covering drycleaning, spotting and laundry on Saturday, May 11 in St. Louis, MO.
It will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Yorkshire Cleaners located at 8080 Watson Rd.
Presenters will include Chris Abercrombie from Fabriclean Supply, Chris Patten from A.L. Wilson and Kevin Gavlak from Faultless Starch.
Those who attend will learn about why solvent levels matter, the importance of detergents, load by load operations and the proper spotting tools and techniques.
Lunch will be provided. Seating is limited so registering as soon as possible is recommended. For more information, call (800) 832-0096.