CHICAGO — What do you do if a high-end grocery store stands behind your drycleaning location?
Your business, by the hand of fate, doesn’t happen to face the upscale store, which has a large parking lot full of potential customers coming and going all day.
You have seemingly no visibility for your storefront, as it’s pointed the opposite way.
All you have is the bare expanse of your operation’s back wall. So you’re sunk, right?... No!
For one clever drycleaning owner, there was an opportunity, but it needed a big, bold idea.
Enter Ben (Kamran) Kohan, owner of Hilltop Cleaners in Encino, Calif., who has advice for any cleaner with a big space to fill: “Be bold. Be creative. But, mainly, do something!”
Hilltop Cleaners is right around the corner from an upscale California supermarket, Gelson’s, notes freelance writer Larry Siegel, who first reported it for Hilltop.
For a long time, Siegel writes, Kohan had pondered how to get the market’s customers to drive half a block further to his cleaners, which happens to be open 24/7/365.
The answer, Siegel explains, that came to Ben, was to get right into the market’s customers’ faces. He commissioned four huge banners to hang on the back of the cleaner’s building adjacent to the Gelson’s parking lot!
“We use lots of posters and banners inside our plant to promote our services and some of them are up to five feet tall since we have high ceilings,” says Kohan.
“But filling a 95-foot-long wall is on a whole different scale...literally,” he adds.
American Drycleaner asks Kohan: What spurred you to develop the big colorful banners?
“We were looking for something fun and eye catching,” he replies. “Using bright colors is appealing to the eye. Also, we included ballerinas because we have the L.A. Ballet Academy as well, so we incorporated both businesses.”
Kohan started his business in 1985 as, “three brothers in a family-owned partnership. We specialize in laundry, dry cleaning, alterations and household items. In 1990, we expanded our services to open 24 hours a day,” he relates.
“We provide customers with the greatest services possible. Customers are ‘Number One’ in our store to us. We wanted to create a place for customers to not only feel like they get amazing service, but also to combined a family-friendly place along with a VIP upscale feel,” Kohan says.
“We provide free popcorn, candy, coffee, and delivery to all customers at no extra charge. We are also pet friendly,” he notes.
Turning to Siegel, his marketing consultant/graphic designer, who has helped the cleaner with branding since 2010, it was determined that “playful” illustrations would convey Hilltop’s core messaging: name recognition; environmentally-friendly; tailoring; and being open 24/7/365.
Siegel explains: “Ben said to add some ballet graphics, too, since the cleaners leases part of its building to the ballet studio,” and notes that what could have been a hurdle turned into a visual thread that tied the first banner to the last.
Anchoring the first 20-foot-by-18-foot banner with an illustration of a “retro” woman hanging clothes on a clothesline that Hilltop had used in promotions eight years ago, the banners had elements that linked them together, Siegel points out.
He indicates that these elements include: the clothesline, which starts in the first banner and ends in the second; the running dogs and clouds, which appear in the second banner and continue into the third; and the ballet figures in the first banner, which are the focal point in the last.
A huge red directional arrow on the fourth banner leaves no doubt as to where Hilltop Cleaners is located and that it is open 24 hours a day.
Check back Thursday for the conclusion.