I was given the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the CD One Price Cleaners Palatine location, and I was pretty excited to really get a look at something not many of us have ever seen before—the back-end of a dry cleaners. So imagine my surprise when I walked into the store, and there it was! You see, CD One Price Cleaners has an open-air approach to their stores, so nothing is hidden from the customer like in the traditional dry cleaners many of us are used to. But still, instead of standing at the counter with me and just pointing to things, the manager, Fermin, took me back into the operations area for an up-close look at the CD One Price Cleaners process.
Before we started my tour though, I was met with a smile and set up with an account. While I was getting set up, Fermin noticed my latte and told me that all CD One Price Cleaners locations brew Starbucks coffee, and that it’s complementary, so I should feel free to stop by any time I needed a fix. Oh, and in the couple minutes it took to get my account set up and my dry cleaning pieces bagged and ready to start cleaning, a few customers walked it. It was really nice to hear Fermin greet each and every one of them, many of them by name. So even though CD One Price Cleaners is a pretty big franchise operation, it’s clear that the individual owners care about their customers, and really make an effort to know them.
When I came back a couple days after my initial visit to grab my cleaning, Fermin saw me come in and came up to say hi. This kind of personal touch is really refreshing in today’s hustle-and-bustle.
Fermin and I started my tour at the very back of the shop by the industrial washing machines. They are used for men’s cotton shirts only, and the soap is automatically added so the mixture is the same every single time the washers are run. This helps ensure that the quality is the same each time a customer brings something in to be cleaned.
From here, we looked at the dry cleaning machine. Fermin pointed out an area at the bottom of the machine, which turns out to be the storage and level viewing area for the liquefied chemicals used to actually clean the clothes. This, he told me, was maintained at a water-like clarity level to ensure the clothes that are processed always come out truly clean. Many other dry cleaners reuse this liquid over and over, and it ends up looking more like used motor oil. Another part of the reason that the CD One Price Cleaners liquid is so clear is because they actually will not clean articles with human waste on them; articles with fecal matter, urine, and blood get refused at the counter. It’s gross, but other dry cleaners will often take these types of items and clean them. That doesn’t happen at CD One Price Cleaners, and that helps keep their equipment (and your clothes) clean.
Once the clothing comes out of the dry cleaner, it goes into the steam tunnel. This helps loosen the fibers of the clothes and freshens them up even more. Once they pass through the steam tunnel it’s on to whichever presser machine suits the garment. The presser machines are all cool-to-the-touch steam machines, which means your clothes get pressed using steam. Since the machines aren’t hot themselves, your clothes won’t be damaged by hot surfaces coming into contact with the fabric or embellishments. This is great for delicates like silk, though silks actually get pressed on their own machine, not the same one used for other fabrics.
One of the coolest machines at CD One Price Cleaners is a fully automated shirt presser. It wasn’t running when I was there, but it’s right at the front of the store so you can stand and watch it work. And when it’s done doing its thing, the CD One Price Cleaners staff hand-finishes the collars and cuffs on each and every shirt that comes through.
While this wasn’t running my first visit, I got to watch it on my second stop in. It’s pretty impressive!
When it’s all ready to be picked up, a bar code-based system allows the folks at CD One Price Cleaners to know exactly where your stuff is when you come in to get it. In fact, each and every garment you bring in is tracked with the bar code system, and it stays in the computers, so they know what you bring in and when, and can easily find it when you head in to pick it up.
It’s pretty cool, and a lot of the automation and standardization of processes (like always using the same soap mixture and amounts) is what helps keep costs down. CD One Price Cleaners charges $2.79 for any dry cleaned and pressed garment, and just $1.49 for laundering and hand-finishing shirts. What also helps keeps costs down is the fact that CD One Price Cleaners doesn’t do any “specialty” stuff, like leather, suede, down, fur, and home goods. They also offer discounts for fire, police, and military, which is pretty cool.
Now, normally, that would be it… but while Fermin ran to grab me a business card I looked around the front of the store and noticed that they recycle hangers. I asked about it, thinking they sent them off to be melted down or something like that, and it turns out, they actually use them right there in the store! How cool is that? I know I have a ton of wire hangers laying around and just kind of keep them because, unless they’re broken, what do you really do with them? Well, you can head into CD One Price Cleaners and recycle them, and free up some space in your closet.
I already brought in a whole bunch of hangers since I’m in the process of cleaning out my closet… yes again.
Now, prior to this, I wasn’t big on “dry clean only” items. In fact, many a time I have turned down items that must be dry cleaned, either when shopping or thrifting. But the low cost and easy service that CD One Price Cleaners offers has actually changed my mind about it, and thus opening me up to a whole other world in terms of what I will and will not buy now. I’d say “sorry wallet”, but since I won’t be breaking the bank on dry cleaning, well… sorry, but I’m not sorry!
Thanks again to Fermin and the CD One Price Cleaners Palatine location for giving me a tour of their facility. If you’re in the area, they are located at 314 N Northwest Highway in Palatine, IL and you’re welcome to stop by. If you don’t live in the Palatine, IL area, but would like to check out CD One Price Cleaners for yourself, you can use their handy store locator.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… the giveaway!
I know, I know, the pics are cool and all, but you really just want to get a chance to win $25 in free dry cleaning. I don’t blame you… especially because $25 will go a long way at CD One Price Cleaners! So here you go… just fill out the Rafflecopter below and you’re set! Giveaway ends February 28, 2014 at 11:59PM, so enter early, and don’t forget the dailies! US residents 18 and over only, please.
I was compensated for this post with complementary dry cleaning, however all of the opinions are my own and were not affected by compensation.