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Merit Award Winners in the Spotlight

More exceptional plant projects from American Drycleaner's 46th Annual Plant Design Awards.
Owners Sam and Connie Brashier spent a lot of time looking for a convenient location in which to build Brashier-Polk Cleaners' new retail and production plant, a 6,200-sq.-ft. location that would soon serve three dry stores. Once they found it, the owners and their distributor put lots of thought into the plant layout.
Employing a shotgun design, the plant’s narrow end houses a call office and drive-thru to serve a substantial number of customers. The brick building then then extends backward alongside the road to house a formidable production facility.
There, 35 employees handle an exhaustive list of equipment, including three perc machines from various manufacturers, two double-buck shirt units and four laundry leggers from Unipress and Ajax, and eleven conventional presses by Forenta. The owners wish to keep their sales information confidential, but the numbers are outstanding.
Bruce Barish’s 15,000-sq.-ft. Ernest Winzer Cleaners production plant in the boroughs of New York doesn’t typically have walk-ins. In fact, he says, “the wonderful thing is that not many people know who we are.”
His contract customers do, however, and expect quality cleaning and on-time service for specialty garments including wedding gowns, leathers, suedes and furs, and Broadway costumes. The Ernest Winzer plant, therefore, is dedicated to maximum efficiency and quality control.
The plant offers two levels of drycleaning production; both have truck docks to serve the ins and outs of the company’s three vans. There’s also a maze of distribution and assembly conveyors, and dedicated storage areas for specialty garments.
Thanks to streamlined production, the scale of the 25-employee, multimillion-dollar plant doesn’t slow it down: Ernest Winzer continues to offer clients radio-dispatched, 24-hour emergency service.
In an era of massive and growing central plants, there’s still room for the traditional plant-on-premises. Ralph Vargas’ 1,900-sq.-ft. Gold Hanger plant in suburban Chicago is one that does a lot in a little bit of space.
Outfitted with a single 45-lb. Firbimatic drycleaning machine, a wetcleaning washer and dryer, and a set of high-tech Fimas tensioning equipment, Gold Hanger is ready for whatever its customers can throw at it. And the plant features an open layout to allow customers to see activities that would be best hidden in many other operations.
At Gold Hanger, the view beyond the counter is a continuation of the same refined, upscale look of the call office’s cherry floors and countertops—there is no separation. Noise-deadening, patterned drop ceilings add to the plant’s streamlined style, and everything is immaculately clean. Outside, the freestanding building offers plenty of parking and a drive-up door for fast carhop service.
As the local affiliate and occasional trainer for the Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network (CRDN), and a successful retail operation in its own right, Huntington Cleaners in Huntington Woods, Mich., opened its second plant two years ago as a production facility for shirts and flatwork only.
Last year, company owners Wayne Wudyka, Jeff Snyder and Edwin Wudyka expanded the 11,000-sq.-ft. facility to add suedes and leathers to Huntington’s capabilities, using a Union GreenEarth machine for processing. In addition, a new MetalProgetti conveyor system was installed to sort and match orders, making the operation almost entirely paperless—producing a 23% savings on labor.
The plant is purely an industrial facility, so its exterior only bears a small sign indicating its business name. But in Huntington’s case, it’s what’s going on inside the plant that really counts—and there's a lot going on inside.Watch for more Merit Award winners next week! Are you completing a new build or renovation this year? Enter it in American Drycleaner's next Plant Design Awards! E-mail [email protected] to request an entry form.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].