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Community: Family’s 161-Year Tradition

Founded in 1857, cleaner has history of giving to local causes

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Zengeler Cleaners celebrates 161 years of service in northern Illinois, it notes, “Quite an accomplishment for a family-owned business. One constant in the company’s history is the ongoing tradition of giving back to the community,” it writes.

“Supporting local communities has been a family tradition since the company was founded in 1857,” notes Tom Zengeler, president of the midwest’s oldest and largest cleaner. “My great-great grandfather believed local companies were in partnership with their communities.

“He also felt a true partnership meant support for community organizations that provide services to our youth, the elderly and the arts — services that are often the lifeblood of towns and villages where our customers, employees and families live and work,” says Zengeler.

The cleaners points out that it has donated, “Time, money and manpower to dozens of local organizations once again this year.”

The contributions have added up to thousands of dollars of cash and many, many times that in donated cleaning services, it relates.

“Every town is different, so every town has unique needs,” notes Zengeler.

The family-owned business explains that it actively seeks opportunities to support worthy causes in each of the communities where its stores are located.

“Sometimes,” the company president acknowledges, “that means we provide labor and services; other times, it means we provide financial support. Either way, the common denominator is every village and town needs local support, no matter what their needs might be.”

Zengeler adds that, “We make it a point to identify projects, organizations and activities where our help can make a difference in each community.” 

The firm’s community outreach touches a wide variety of organizations that in turn represent a cross-section of the community, it indicates.

In addition to the categories mentioned, the company describes how it also provides support for women’s shelters, social services, activities sponsored by faith-based organizations, as well as park district and athletic programs for girls and boy of all ages.

The cleaner also engages in what it calls its “signature projects” providing annual support for the Glass Slipper Project, a Chicagoland organization that turns prom dreams into reality for high school women, and Coats for Vets, a program that provides clothing for veterans as they readjust to civilian life after serving the country.

Over the years, the cleaners relates, it has, “Collected more than 56,000 prom dresses and tens of thousands of coats, jackets and other articles of clothing for veterans in need of assistance.”