National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Classic cars at the cleaners
What started out as an anniversary celebration turned into a great city community celebration, hosted by Broadway Cleaners for a local Redwood City, CA, Cruising Car Club and a variety of vendors on Saturday, August 10.
Broadway Cleaners in Redwood City, CA has been around for 75 years and at its current location for nearly 60 years. A few months ago, owners Marti and Jim Russell sat down with their staff trying to decide what to do for their impending August anniversary.
In years past, they’ve shared picnics, BBQs and dinners. Many ideas were tossed around until Broadway’s drycleaner, Steve Ramirez, volunteered his car club as a focal point for the celebration. Both Steve’s car club and Broadway Cleaner’s 1922 Overland Delivery truck participated in the Redwood City Fourth of July Parade this year. Ramirez has been restoring his metallic brown 1946 Chevy Style Master for a few years.
Behind the location of the cleaners is a street that curves around which allowed Broadway to take out a one-day usage permit to cordon off the street for the 30 to 40 cars (pre-1966 Cruising Club) and a DJ for rock-n-roll type music. The hours were the same as the store’s Saturday hours — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Not knowing what to expect
and being a first timer, it was a total blast and very, very well received in the community,” said Marti Russell.
The vendors were not charged for booth space for showing or selling. Instead, they handed out their business cards while selling to customers. The DJ fared well, too, picking up some jobs  from the event.
One of the food vendors had breakfast and lunch entrees and a bakery vendor had pastries and drinks. Both were sold out of food by day’s end.
“It turns out one needs a full month or more prior to any event in Redwood City to acquire the one-day city permit which will allow for beer or wine vendors,” Russell said. “We missed it by a week. We had a brewery, a winery and a monster booth all willing to participate. Next year, though, we’ll start sooner.”
People driving by pulled over, walked, looked, ate/bought and then left, some 2,000 to 3,000 in all throughout the day. By 5 p.m. they were all cleaned up and moved on to their ‘after party.’
Broadway Cleaners was open throughout the celebration. Customers who came inside were given food coupons to use at the food or drink vendor booths and encouraged to walk amongst the cars.
“At the end of the day, I paid the vendors for the total coupons the customers turned in,” Russell said. “It worked out great.”
“Some of our own customers brought their show cars over and parked them for a few hours and looky-looed at all the other parked cars,” she added. “One customer, who is in a Thunderbird Club, brought over his 007-bright orange convertible Thunderbird, the same make, model and year that Halle Berry drove in her 007 movie. It was very cool and drew a lot of attention.”
“We also had and showed some kids’ bikes that were totally decked out with chrome trim, etc.. A lot of money in those bikes!”
To get the word out, two local radio stations publicized the event with free announcements. Customers were told about it and there were clothes hangers and posters in the lobby. Then, the day of the event, the local paper came out to take pictures.
“All in all, it probably cost me out of pocket not even $400. I could not get that advertising/exposure for that amount of dollars,” she said.
Plans have already been discussed with staff for things to do next year.
“I definitely learned ‘how-to do this’ thing and will start much earlier with permits, etc., and would like to make this an annual event because it was such a hit,” Russell said, adding, “I highly recommend this type of venue; it is a definite crowd pleaser.”