Surfin’ USA (Part 1)


(Photo: Frank Mckenna/Unsplash)


Tommy Goulla, owner of his store Ogden’s Cleaners in Pacific Palisades Calif., located one mile from the beach. The nice weather, he says, helps staff productivity. (Photo: Ogdens Cleaners)

Tim Burke |

Cleaners ‘hang ten’ in the beach culture

CHICAGO — If everybody had an ocean, Across the U.S.A., Then everybody’d be surfin’ .... Surfin’ U.S.A.

— The Beach Boys

They sang it. Popularized it. Made it sooo cool.

Our imaginations were captivated by the surfing lifestyle, and we’ve never let it go. The words conjure a sort of magical feeling of an endless summer. You can almost smell the Coppertone.

But wherever sun worshippers hang out at their beach communities, cleaners are there, too, making them look rad. Hey, even surfers and beachgoers get dirty, big daddy, and they need their rags, like, cleaned, man; be it summerwear, beach attire, bikinis, or all the other what-have-you.

Let’s go hang ten and ride the curl with Tommy Goulla, the owner of Ogden’s Cleaners in Pacific Palisades, Calif., who is in charge of day-to-day operations there and oversees 16 employees.

“We are located about one mile away from the Pacific Ocean and we see lots of cabana covers, outside furniture and, of course, bathing suites,” he explains. “The challenges we face are mostly with yellowing of clothes left in plastic bags and also lots of mildew due to the humidity.

“Depending on how bad the mildew is, it can be difficult to address. Our team is ready, and has experience, to handle these situations as they come, and our clients are very happy, as we have saved lots of garments that customers thought were damaged beyond repair.”

There are particular cleaning challenges that come with doing business in a surfing and sun-loving community.

“One interesting memory I can share was about a client who walked in and asked me if we clean outside furniture. I said, ‘Yes, we do.’ He replied, ‘But it’s real bad.’ I asked to see it.”

Describing the scene in the parking lot in front of his store, Goulla says, “He literally had his SUV filled with white outdoor couch covers that were completely affected by the sun and moisture.”

This dry cleaner had a challenge before him, like a surfer deciding whether to grab the next big wave rolling toward him. But he went for it! Cowabunga dude!

“After a few days,” Goulla continues, “he came to pick up his order, and we were pulling his orders and he exclaimed, ‘Those are not mine!’

“I looked at the ticket, just to make sure we had the right order, and said, ‘Yes, they are.’ He looked again and went through the covers, and was like, ‘Wow,’ and was very happy.

“He told me I saved him over three thousand dollars of having to buy new covers, and he is now a very good client of ours.”

Goulla says that being in a beach community has one excellent benefit: the weather. “We always have a breeze and the temperature doesn’t reach past the 80s, so it helps our staff and our productivity.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

About the author

Tim Burke

American Drycleaner


Tim Burke is the editor of American Drycleaner. He can be reached at 312-361-1684 or [email protected]


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