Rey’s Cleaners finds ways of handling garments that are unique in the drycleaning
I spent a few days at Rey’s
Cleaners on a training and consultation assignment. Rey’s Cleaners, which is located in Miami, FL, is well known for quality, expertise
and the ability to handle high end garments and problems that are associated
This high-volume quality cleaner has a 32,000-sq.-ft. production area and
employs more than 50 people. The operation is run by Angel Suarez, his wife,
Maria, and his children, Frankie, Angel and Christina.
Their employees are all well trained in handling customers, spotting and
cleaning expensive high end garments. I spent a great deal of time with the
spotting department and the customer service staff. The following is a summary
of what we accomplished at the training session.
Removing tough food grease and oil stains on chef’s uniforms. Angel Suarez, Jr., had a problem removing these stains efficiently and
Superstars of the drycleaning industry
By Dan Eisen
Management and marketing superstar: Robert Shapiro
General manager, Milt and Edie’s Drycleaners in Burbank, CA.
The drycleaning industry is one of the few professions that fails to recognize
its talented people. We know the great talents in sports, cooking,
entertainment and the arts. As a New York State licensed professional
drycleaning and EPA instructor for over 40 years, I have taught and continue to
teach America’s Best Cleaners and other high end cleaners. I feel that I have enough exposure
to give a fair judgment to the talent on hand.
Robert manages a high volume drycleaning operation that is open seven days a
week. All equipment is in perfect running order. He oversees a staff of 69
people, including 27 counter people and 12 tailors, all nicely dressed in store
uniforms. I have observed Robert for many hours and saw him performing amazing
management, marketing and customer relations that make him a superstar.
Service: Milt and Edie’s Drycleaners guarantees two-hour quality service on garments or the customer
does not have to pay for it. The spotting and finishing staff are all high
technically trained people with no weak links. The same quality can be observed
on the day and night shifts.
Incentives for new business
Robert has coupon programs that bring in 25 percent new business. He personally
made a deal with Warner Brothers to advertise on Milt and Edie’s Drycleaners hangers. The studio promised to send their 2,000 employees to Milt
and Edie’s Drycleaners for their drycleaning needs and will do television filming outside
their store when possible.
Popcorn and other goodies are given to customers at the store.
All customers leave the store smiling. Robert has a winning way with the
customers and they love him. Robert says it is the combination of the warm,
friendly service and the popcorn odor and other goodies that he serves all day
long to his customers. One day a customer walked in because of ink on his car
seat. Robert went out and personally removed the ink free of charge. The store
also has a policy of recognizing loyal customers with calls, gifts and birthday
He runs unique programs on Facebook with photo contests and other interesting
programs. In spite of his dedication to his profession he finds the time to
run, bike and climb mountains. Robert does private consultations and can be
contacted at (818) 381-3586 or (818) 953-4627.
Solution. It is not cost-effective to pre-spot these garments or handle them in
drycleaning. We set up a wetcleaning program to handle these garments,
introducing in the wetcleaning formulation strong non-ionic detergents with a
great deal of mechanical action.
The non-ionic detergents work better on oil and grease and less efficiently on
soil. We boosted the cleaning action of the non-ionic detergents by adding
alkali to the formulation. We also decreased the water temperatures to avoid
setting the oxidized oil stains.
This formulation worked very well in solving the problem.
Peeling of imitation leather and bonded leather in wetcleaning. Angel Suarez, Jr., was having a problem with these garments, also. In
wetcleaning, the coating was peeling and separating. Two of the brands involved
were Rag & Bone and J Brand.
Rey’s Cleaners has a very large volume, so hand cleaning was not the way to go.
Solution. I found that the wetcleaning system they were using contained non-ionic
detergents and softening agents in the formulation. This formulation in
wetcleaning will loosen the adhesive and bonding on these garments. This
problem was solved by using just a small amount of an anionic detergent in cool
water with no other additives.
Oxidized staining on colored silk fabrics. Angel Suarez, Sr., personally works on the more expensive and most difficult
high end garments. Some problems that he encountered were removing difficult
perspiration and oxidized staining on some of the silk fabrics.
Solution. We showed how the proper use of hydrogen peroxide can effectively solve this
problem. Hydrogen peroxide can be used in strengths ranging from 3 to 14%. It
is accelerated by light, heat and alkali.
We formulated some hydrogen peroxide mixtures and only used light and time to
accelerate the bleaching action. On some fabrics we were able to increase the
concentrations of the peroxide in conjunction with heat and alkali. The methods
employed were dependent on the fabric, color and its sensitivity.
Counter spotting. Angel Suarez, Jr., wanted to create a spotting program at the counter. When
stains were noticed by the counter staff they could pre-spot the stain to avoid
setting the stain after drycleaning. This would also avoid the problem of the
inspector who could easily miss the stain.
We had to use a safe agent to accomplish this. The pre-spotting agent must be
neutral in nature, neither acid nor alkali. We also needed a pre-spotting agent
with no odor and limited moisture that would rinse out in drycleaning.
Solution. We introduced Angel to Enzy-Spot, which is a liquid enzyme product. The spotting
agent is also mixed with surfactants that were soluble in all drycleaning
solvents. The water content of the agent is low, so it would dry quickly and
avoid the problem of dye bleeding.
Customer service staff. We showed the staff how to inspect garments properly and to avoid customer
complaints. We showed how a garment could be held up to the light to reveal
damages not seen while just hanging.
We told the staff how to explain to the customer about invisible stains and why
they occur. The example of cutting an apple in half and leaving it exposed to
the air indicates to a customer the browning effect produced on the apple from
The customer service staff was also instructed on using my “Spectralight,” which is a black light examination that detects invisible stains and fabric
damages. Angel Suarez, Jr., ordered six more Spectralights.
Spotting staff. I spent a lot of time going over the principles and basics of spotting. We
showed the proper use of chemicals and proper usage of the steam gun and
spotting brushes. The spotting staff has a great deal of knowledge and absorbed
all of this information readily.
Angel Suarez, Jr., is a go getter and constantly looks to expand his business.
His current endeavor is on-site cleaning. I have taught many people who are in
this type of business and they have agreed to help him in any way that they