Plant Design: Merit Awards, Part 1


Dubin Cleaners' exterior
Dubin’s new anchor location features a call office accented with bamboo. (Photo: Courtesy Dubin Cleaners)

Ian P. Murphy |

CHICAGO — The Merit Awards in the 50th Annual Plant Design Awards went to six drycleaners from every corner of the country. Part one of this story details three of the winners: Dubin Cleaners, Encore Cleaners and Image Cleaners.Dubin Cleaners & Laundry, Farmington Hills, Mich.
Dubin Cleaners’ new plant anchors a strip mall and offers customers a “unique” cleaning experience, third-generation operators Andy and Sandy Dubin say.
Trimmed in bamboo and granite, the call office offers a soothing tropical ambiance. If there’s a wait, customers can help themselves to a cup of coffee or a snack—or view production beyond the counter thanks to a high soffit.
Liberty computers power the operation’s inventory, e-mail notifications and website, allowing customers to communicate their preferences at any time of day.
A shotgun production floor processes the work, using Realstar, Forenta, Continental and Fulton equipment. White Up/Down conveyors keep finished work out of the way.  Encore Cleaners, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Located across from a popular park in well-to-do Paradise Valley, Encore Cleaners’ new plant-on-premises is the second for operators Myoung and Teri Jin.
The air-conditioned call office inside the 2,000-sq.-ft. location is decorated with mahogany woodwork and granite counters; outside are understated stucco and burgundy awnings. The plant prides itself on VIP bag service, assisted by DCCS computers.
Processing is performed in Milnor laundry and Böwe hydrocarbon drycleaning equipment, while Unipress equipment handles shirts and assists in the hand-finishing of everything else. The full-service plant also offers rug cleaning and shoe repair.Image Cleaners, Plano, Texas
Situated on an intersection that sees more than 54,000 cars a day, Image Cleaners’ new, 4,000-sq.-ft. plant sets itself apart from the local competitors—many of them discounters—with an upscale look. A frequent comment is “Wow! This is a drycleaners?!” says operator Rick Lowther.
He put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the new freestanding building, and specializes in getting such stains out for Image’s loyal route, store and Fortune 500 customers. The operation has earned “Best of Plano” distinctions two years in a row.
The new plant runs hydrocarbon solvent in Realstar equipment, with Unipress shirt and finishing equipment. Compassmax software tracks the  counters and assisted assembly. For comfort, the plant features 15 tons of air conditioning as well as swamp coolers, and for energy efficiency, uses fluorescent lighting and double-pane windows.

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

Freelance Writer

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.


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