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Cuppa Joe: What Makes Joe Giaramita’s Cleaners Unique (Part 1)

First of a new special: get a taste of how a fellow dry cleaner does business

CHICAGO — In this, the first of our new special called “Cuppa Joe,” you can get a taste of how a fellow owner does business in your drycleaning world. Today, meet drycleaning owner Joe Giaramita, sharing how he learned cleaning and spotting; how he bought the business from his father; and about cleaning,“mail-in items from clothiers all over his state.”

“I started to build a reputation for cleaning items that no one else would touch.” — Joe.

“At work, I practiced spotting and pressing clothes until I mastered my trade and as I learned fabrics I became more daring in my spotting techniques. I took risks that most wouldn’t dare to try, and I learned trial by error.” — Joe.

“If something didn’t work I went back to the drawing board and tried again until it worked.” — Joe.

These are, for lack of a better word, “Joe-isms,” quotes from one drycleaning owner you should really get to know.

The “Joe” is Joe Giaramita.

His White Dove Cleaners was established in Red Bank, N.J. in 1996, he tells me.

“It was started by my father, Phil Giaramita,” Joe explains. “He was in the business for over 15 years and decided to retire and sell the store.”

First gulp: Joe tells how he started: “I was tired of working in NYC so I told him maybe I’ll come work here. So in 2000, I did not know anything about the drycleaning business, and went to the National Cleaners Association (NCA) in New York. Dan Eisen was my teacher for spotting. Worked open-to-close everyday and went to school at night for six months. I grouped all my classes together so I could get done as fast as I could; spotting was two times a week and pressing was two times a week. I come from an operations background, so making things more efficient and productive was my thing.... so I did it here.”

Joe on modernizing: “I upgraded our POS system, which made us more efficient. Our system sends out e-mail tickets, which saves us 50% on paper. Our customers get an e-mail or text notification when their orders are ready.

“We also have an app that allows our customers to manage their drycleaning account at their fingertips. Also, we bar-coded the entire store which makes us inventory-efficient.”

Sips: “You’re not making any money waiting for customer to come to you so I really focused on pickup and delivery. We started with about 75 customers and one route in the year 2000. We now have five routes with over 1,200 customers.

“We also made payments easy with our e-mail statements and automatic credit card processing. Making things easy, reliable, good quality and convenient are all things customers are looking for in a dry cleaners.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.