Plant Design Awards—Outstanding Reconstruction: Dependable Cleaners

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Dependable Cleaners rebuilt its home office, store and production facility consumed by fire in July 2012. (Photos: Dependable Cleaners)

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The decision to add a second loading dock and two additional garage doors was among several early-design choices made by Dependable.

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Dependable Cleaners President Christa Hagearty poses next to one of the plant's drycleaning machines.

Bruce Beggs |

QUINCY, Mass. — Within days of the four-alarm fire that consumed all or parts of Dependable Cleaners’ home office, store and production facility on Quincy Avenue in July 2012, chief executive Christa Hagearty was working to figure out what it would take to rebuild.

“That building had our offices, one of our largest plants that serviced seven outside stores, a retail store and a Laundromat,” Hagearty writes in her Plant Design Awards entry that earned her facility the special honor of Outstanding Reconstruction. “The new design was a collaborative process involving many on our team as well as outside advisers.”

Among the early design decisions were to move the building 10 feet farther from a neighboring business with which it shares a driveway; clear out the hill behind the building to create more employee parking; switch locations of the store and Laundromat; add a second loading dock and two additional garage doors; add a mezzanine over the drycleaning area to hold the water tank, gas booster, compressors, and some equipment supplies; add a sophisticated sprinkler system, including placing sensors in the duct work; and switch from swamp coolers to air-conditioned spot cooling.

As for the plant, Dependable placed its wetcleaning washers and moisture-control dryers next to its drycleaning machines so cleaning staff could easily sort into and use the wetcleaning equipment. Washers in both the drycleaning and laundry departments operate using the same programs, giving the plant redundancy and flexibility. Steam and exhaust from shirt units are piped outside the building. Screw rails bring clothing from finishers to the inspection/assembly areas, then the garments feed into an assisted assembly station and, ultimately, an automated bagger.

Equipment in the 5,000-square-foot plant includes three 80-pound Union drycleaning machines using GreenEarth; Wascomat wetcleaning and laundry machines; ADC dryers; finishing equipment from Unipress, Forenta, Trevil and Hi-Steam; Iowa Techniques collar cones; two Fulton gas boilers; two Rema vacuums; Hamilton Engineering hot-water system; and three 10-ton chillers from American Chillers.

John Park, Express Machinery, designed the plant layout. Wyrosdic Design & Build Firm provided architectural services, and Anne Fawcett, Allied ISID Decorating Den Interiors, provided interior design services. Aristocraft was the project’s equipment distributor.

The store and Laundromat opened in mid-February 2014, and the production facility opened in late March 2014.

American Drycleaner extends its congratulations to all of the winners of our 54th Annual Plant Design Awards! If your company will be building a new plant, or upgrading a facility, over the next year, be sure to document your progress and enter your construction or renovation project in the 55th Annual Plant Design Awards to be presented in early 2016. Watch American Drycleaner during the latter half of this year for entry information and deadlines. Contact Editorial Director Bruce Beggs ([email protected]) with any questions. We hope to see your plant in the running next year!

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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