Featured: Shaffer Dry Cleaning and Laundry:

Recently, we sat down with Patricia Shaffer of Shaffer Dry Cleaning and Laundry and learned more about caring for our clothes in one hour than we had ever known before.The Shaffers have a real passion for their business, a contagious enthusiasm for their industry and the customers they serve.

Patricia Shaffer came to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona in 1979. After a short stint in California post graduation, Patricia found herself drawn back to Tucson where she worked in advertising until she met her husband, Bake Shaffer. After starting a family, Patricia brought her experience in marketing and advertising as well as in retail to Shaffer Dry Cleaning and has now been with the company for 14 years.

Patricia says that with the freedom that comes from being a business owner comes a great deal of responsibility. Shaffer Dry Cleaning, has a real sense of community. Bake and Patricia are close to their employees and they still conduct the interviews for new employees because it’s important to them to know the people who work for Shaffer Dry Cleaning.

Owning a business in Tucson has it’s own unique flair. Patricia loves how she’s learned so much about the rich culture of the area from both her customers and her employees.  And one of the things that she is most passionate about is giving back to the community. “I live here. I’ve lived here for 35 years. It’s natural that we would want to do other things that help Tucson and the people who live here.” With a smile, she adds, “So that part is actually kind of fun.”

Bake and Patricia both share a real enthusiasm for the technology  that drives their industry. Dry cleaning doesn’t really mean dry. In dry cleaning, clothes are washed in a liquid other than water. Shaffer Dry Cleaning was the first dry cleaner in Tucson to adopt green alternatives to the normally harsh and extremely toxic chemicals that most dry cleaners use. Shaffer uses GreenEarth, a non-toxic liquid silicone -- a safer way to dry clean, both for health and for the environment. “We no longer have the fear of groundwater contamination, of soil contamination, of our employees breathing this,” explains Patricia. Bake adds that patients on chemotherapy or people with very high sensitivity to chemicals or allergens can use their dry cleaning service, because it’s so gentle.

One technological advance in laundry that Patricia and Bake are very excited about is a new detergent that will reduce water usage by 80 percent!

Other technologies help them when it comes to customer service. Their computer system allows them to recognize the brands of individual clothing items. This lets Shaffer Dry Cleaning have a better understanding of their demographics as well as helps them build a relationship with the manufacturers of the clothing. A new online service is currently in the works that will allow customers to login to the system and have “a little bit more control” when it comes to their account. They’ll be able to see when they last had something dry cleaned, update their credit card information, and more.

We asked Patricia if she had some advice for emerging designers on how to handle and care for their fabrics. “Pretreatment is very important,” she said. It’s important that designers either dry clean or launder their fabrics before construction in order to avoid shrinkage. It’s also important to test that the fabric is for color fastness and to consider how ornamentation (beading, sequins, leather, etc) will affect how the garment can be cared for. “Basically,” says Patricia “you want to do everything to the garment that a customer will do.”

Proper labeling is also important, she explains. Some designers just label everything “Dry Clean Only” in order to avoid customers improperly laundering something. “Try to make your labels as detailed as possible,” says Patricia. “And give some options.”

We also asked Patricia for a few tips about caring for clothes. “It’s an absolute must to dry clean or launder before storing your clothes!” she emphasizes. If you store clothes without properly cleaning them, you may set stains you didn’t know were there or create the perfect environment for moths to feast on your finery and leave it riddled with tiny holes.

When it comes to keeping whites white, Patricia has a wealth of good tips. She prefers to whiten with hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach, since it’s gentler on clothes. She also suggests washing in hot water and then air drying, since drying with any heat will be too harsh after the hot water. And her biggest tip? Don’t put lotion, makeup, and even perfume on after putting on your crisp white shirt. The little drops of perfume can stain or damage your clothes. Plus, she adds, the warmth of your skin is what activates the perfume in the first place. So spritz before you get dressed.

When caring for delicate garments with embellishments, Patricia suggests you wash them inside out or in mesh bags. And when hand washing, gently press the clothes, never squeeze or twist them.

With her natural, easygoing charm and her extensive knowledge, Patricia taught us more about clothes and how to clean them than we knew was possible. The Shaffers’ enthusiasm for their industry and their care of both their environment and their community make them exceptional leaders in the Tucson business community.

In addition to green dry cleaning and laundry services, Shaffer Dry Cleaning also cares for fine leather goods, designer handbags and shoes, can sometimes reweave holes created by moths, does alterations and even has a pick up service so you don’t have to drop off your clothes for dry cleaning! Be sure to check out Shaffer Dry Cleaning and Laundry (a TFW 2014 Sponsor) for all of your clothing care needs.

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Susan Hirst said...

I feel like a learned a great deal about dry cleaning in this article. It is wonderful that Mrs. Shaffer has such a passion for the work that she does. That kind of passion and dedication to your business helps it thrive.

Susan Hirst | http://www.countrysquirecleaners.com

Stive Peterson said...

Perfect clean and dry clothes every time! The towel cleaners in Austin do a great job! I highly recommend thir servies!

anjali sharma said...

Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.

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