Hello, customers! We’re over here! August 2018 Volume 59 Number 11 www.natclo.com Sneak Peek Who ya gonna call? 6 12 Heat-related failures 40 For business advice, first you need a good accountant. But to stay out of legal trouble, you’ll need to call a lawyer. At the top of the list of hot weather problems is failure of the condensate return pump. Bruce Grossman tells how to deal with it. Coach ’em up National Clothesline Don Desrosiers illustrates how to easily raise the quality of your shirts from “good enough” to “even better.” 28Simple improvement For a long time, Ben Kohan, owners of Hilltop Clean- ers in Encin, CA, had pondered how to get customers of upscale supermarket Gelson’s, to drive half a block fur- ther to his cleaners. The answer, he decided, was to get right into the faces of the customers of the market, which has a reputation for celebrity clientele and pricey imported foods. He commissioned four huge banners to hang on the back of the cleaner’s building adjacent to Gelson’s park- ing lot. “We use lots of posters and banners inside our plant to promote our services and some of them are up to five feet tall since we have high ceilings,” said Kohan. “But filling a 95-foot long wall is on a whole different scale… literally.” Turning to his marketing consultant/graphic designer, Larry Siegel, who has helped Hilltop with branding since 2010, it was determined that “playful” illustrations would convey Hilltop’s core messaging: name recognition; en- vironmentally-friendly; tailoring; and being open 24/7/365. “Then Ben said to add some ballet graphics, too, since the cleaners leases part of its building to a ballet studio,” Siegel said, noting that what could have been a hurdle turned into a visual thread that tied the first banner to the last. Anchoring the first 20' x18' banner with an illustration of a “retro” woman hanging clothes on a clothesline that Hilltop had used in promotions eight years ago, the ban- ners had elements that linked them together: the clothes- line started in the first banner ended in the second; run- ning dogs and clouds appear in the second banner and continue into the third; and ballet figures in the first ban- ner are the focal point in the last. A huge red directional arrow on the fourth banner leaves no doubt as to where Hilltop Cleaners is located and that it is open 24 hours a day. The banners were installed in late May and they are definitely having an impact, according to Raquel Toledo, Hilltop’s office manager. “Nearly every day CSRs tell me comments from customers relating how the banners are attention-getting and cute. Definitely the desired re- sult,” she said. Kohan has advice for any cleaner with a big space to fill: “Be bold. Be creative. But, mainly, do something!” Huge banners hang on the back wall of Hilltop Cleaners, designed to draw customers of the upscale Gelson’s Market in Encino, CA. Owner Ben Kohan had long pondered how to get the market’s customers to come to his cleaners and this was his answer. Making the best out of the worst As a man who regularly moves back and forth between three very different lives, Chuck Horst still isn’t quite content. In- stead, he continues to look for new chal- lenges to occupy his time. At times, he’s a professor of Astronomy at San Diego State University, and at other times, he develops apps and software for his software company or oversees his fam- ily’s 61-year-old business, Margaret’s Cleaners of San Diego, CA. Now, he is trying to expand the scope of his drycleaning company by helping clean- ers from all over handle specialty items. “Now we are starting to do a fair amount more with other drycleaners, about 20 drycleaners now send us predominantly handbags, leathers, some of the real, real high end wedding gowns and some of their problem garments, but the bulk of it is handbags and leathers that make up proba- bly a little over 50 percent of what comes in from other drycleaners,” noted Horst. “That’s been our whole purpose in life is to differentiate ourselves and not try to take away the work from the more typical drycleaner, not trying to compete with the typical drycleaner, just do the other stuff,” he added. “Everything is done here by peo- ple who are highly trained.” Margaret’s has about 100 employees al- together with five locations including a 23,000 sq. ft. processing facility. They have a full-time re-beading specialist, multiple seamstresses, a full-time cobbler and sev- eral leather cleaning experts on staff. However, having the right employees to handle special garments is not enough; Horst also insists on using the right equip- ment... and not just being able to process several solvent options such as GreenEarth, As the FabriCoach, Jim Groshans brings a lifetime of industry experience to the task of building a top drycleaning team. Continued on page 8 A mold-encrusted leather jacket was made like new by the restorationists at Margaret’s Cleaners.