Three Plants Take Special Honors in 47th Annual Plant Design Awards

Ian P. Murphy |

While the Grand Prize went to a production-only, central plant, the three runners-up in American Drycleaner’s 47th Annual Plant Design Awards are freestanding plants-on-premises. Each of the three Outstanding New Builds is a model of production efficiency built to suit the needs of its hometown clients.HIGH PLAINS CLEANER

John and Sage Bear constructed their new Bear’s Naturally Clean plant in Gillette, Wyo., from scratch to be comfortable, attractive and energy-efficient with state-of-the-industry technology.

Outside, the 2,960-sq.-ft., freestanding plant echoes its setting with facings of Western flagstone on its simple cube. The plant features a drive-thru, night depository and garage bay for future routes.

Inside, the plant is a what’s what of drycleaning innovation. Equipment includes a Columbia Ipura hydrocarbon machine and a Lattner low-NOx boiler. Bear’s performs most drycleaning and shirt finishing on Fimas tensioning equipment, with Unipress equipment filling in on the laundry side.

The open, airy layout draws what little heat is generated away from the plant’s three workers, and customers can see everything from the Papalini-designed counters. A Dajisoft system pulls orders from Iowa Techniques conveyors.DELTA DAWN

With a combined 65 years of industry experience, Danny and Martica Duthu took on the development of their new Dry Clean X-Press plant themselves. And after two years of research, their 5,000-sq.-ft., one-price plant is one of the pioneers in Houma, La.’s post-Katrina retail renaissance.

The Duthus customized the prefabricated building with their own finishes, awnings and landscaping. The spacious lobby features workstations by R.J. Papalini, and Compass point-of-sale (POS) systems with scanners and card readers.

The production floor is designed for efficiency around a system of storage rails; the operators selected used equipment whenever possible to save on startup. But they didn’t skimp on comfort, specifying 22-ft. ceilings and adding spot cooling to ward off the bayou’s humidity and heat.

Frequent customers pick X-Press card-on-file service for prepayment and a 24-hour drop-box, and everyone enjoys valet service under the covered drive-thru.RAVE REVIEWS

Stu Bloom’s new 6,750-sq.-ft. Rave Fabricare plant in Scottsdale, Ariz., is a full-service, standalone location that plows through the work while making an impression on its upscale clients as well.

The building features a distinctive steel-framed entry awning that gives it the appearance of a modern mall or bank. In the call office, the theme continues with marble floors and custom counters and shelves of dark cherry wood.

Rave’s production floor houses a full complement of equipment to keep up with its million-dollar sales, including Union drycleaning machinery, Milnor washers, Sankosha and Trevil tensioning equipment, a Harris pillow machine and more.

And even though production is designed to move orders and minimize steps, the plant isn’t only about throughput. Rave cares for heirloom and couture garments, does restoration work, and offers “wardrobe management” services. If any plant could care for every customer’s every need, this is the one.

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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