The Overall Award Category RTC A (SME) was received by Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners (JPC) from the USA, because of its supreme organisation, sustainability, quality and services, according to the judges and jury members.

“JPC stands out because we have been innovative and ahead of the curve repeatedly, opening our doors and hosting several educational events to help raise the professionalism of the industry for owners, employees, and the public,” ays Jan Barlow.

JPC leads by example – ‘We Pay it Forward’. “We have always been transparent with every project, as a member of the DLI board, MILD board, community organisations, governmental volunteer boards, NFPA 32 or operating Jan’s Cleaners. Innovation doesn’t happen without a lot of effort.

Imagine yourself as a fireman. Going to a drycleaner fire, not knowing what to expect. New solvents are flammable and solvent mixed with water becomes a contaminant. Instant environmental hazard scene on your hands.”

Best practices

“Best practices and procedures for first responders were not keeping up with the newer solvents,” says Barlow. “As NFPA board chairman, I led the committee to develop new standards on handling an American drycleaning emergency. This was a 5-year project, completed and adopted in November of 2015.

Although America had been behind the game on environmental consciousness, JPC has been ahead of the game.

There are two types of drycleaner in America today; those that are old school, using older technologies, such as Perc, and forward thinkers, turning to green technologies. After extensive research, Jan’s chose Sensene, becoming the first USA installation. “It’s not only important to us – but it’s been important to our customers that we’re a certified Green Cleaner. We never miss the opportunity to tell the green story,”.

Using traditional, digital advertising and marketing materials… brochures, social media, television, radio and referring retail and institutional partners, Jan’s never misses an opportunity to share what’s new.

“We’re always working TWO strategies. 1 – to retain our clients, 2 -to conquer new customers. If you’re not innovating, you are disappearing. Jan’s is here to stay. Rather than waiting for new customers to come to us, we provide route service to go to them.

“We have a fleet of vehicles traveling a 45-mile radius to their home or office, providing tremendous growth. Our business is drycleaning – but great profits are in the niche areas like vintage garment restoration, effort and dedication pays very well, and the referral benefits are huge. Clients can’t wait to show off their restoration projects.

“For alterations, JPC has two fulltime seamstresses on staff. Drapery and blinds are hig h ticket cleaning items requiring exceptional expertise. Processing thousands of textiles weekly.”Draperies, wedding dresses, antique restoration, alterations and household, are the growth areas,”says Barlow.