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Dream Catcher (Part 1)

Flora’s Dry Cleaning wins Outstanding Plant-On-Premises

CHICAGO — Flor Castillo, owner of Sierra Vista, Ariz.-based Flora’s Dry Cleaning & Alterations, tells her story: “My journey began when I had a small taste of being a business owner. I worked for Lloyd’s Dry Cleaners for over eight years where I put my sweat, tears and hard work into the business.”

One day, she notes, “The owners saw how hard I worked and how I was dedicated to this industry so they offered me the opportunity to buy their business. Unfortunately, the deal fell through. I thought that all my hard work and dreams were gone. I cried myself to sleep every night thinking what could’ve been.

“While I was in this journey with that cleaners, I came across an angel that would guide me to my next dream. His name is Edward Molina. He was a customer and later became my business consultant.

“He offered me the opportunity to become business partners. Sadly, to say, after a while he decided to walk away from my dream. Once again, I found myself lost and nowhere to go from there.”

Castillo relates how, as the days went by, a vision came to her: She saw herself surrounded by her family and her husband with their emotional and financial support. “I knew at that moment, I could accomplish my dream,” she says. Flora’s Dry Cleaning & Alterations was recently named winner of an American Drycleaner 2019 Plant Design Award for Outstanding Plant-On-Premises.

“But at that same time, and with a lot of fear, I knew I was no longer buying an existing business, but creating one from the ground up!”

She explains, “I took what I learned and began by looking for a building which ended up being a perfect location on our busiest street, 970 E. Fry Blvd.

“Along the same time, I looked for a general contractor which turned out to be another angel. He allowed my family and I to do most of the teardown because he knew I was starting on my own with a limited budget.

“The only knowledge I had about equipment was older than me,” Castillo relates. “So, my search took me to Gulf States in Houston. Where yet another angel existed by the name of Harish Parmar. He gathered information about my plant and put a perfect package together for me.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.