Pressed to Success
Locally Owned Classic Cleaners Continues to Expand
Writer / Matt Keating
Taking the time and money to expand your business can really pay off. Just ask Steve Arnold, general manager/partner of Classic Cleaners.
When he and his partners bought Classic Cleaners’ current plant and corporate office space on Knue Road in the Castleton area, they wanted more space for the successful dry cleaning business.
The move in November 2015 turned out to be a great idea.
“We were able to move the entire plant and office space to accommodate more square footage for our warehouse,” Arnold said. “We have 7,200 square feet and a 20-foot ceiling.” Classic Cleaners documented the build-pit during all 125 days, and the time-lapse video can be viewed on their YouTube Channel, “The Classic Cleaners.”
The move allowed Classic Cleaners’ employees to be more energy efficient and provide enhanced services such as 24-hour drop off and locker service. Same day service at the Knue Road location is also offered for items dropped off by 10 a.m. Monday-Friday.
“We have a superstructure that enabled us to add more dry cleaning machines, shirt pressing equipment, dryers, electricity, piping, steam lines, vacuum lines and air lines,” Arnold said inside the plant. “We are much more organized and efficient with our conveyor system. We were also able to add more employees. We now have over 100 employees.” Classic Cleaners offers full service cleaning services that include shoe cleaning and polishing, leather jackets, designer handbags, briefcases and area rug cleaning.
Arnold added that Classic Cleaners invests in its employees by offering a good wage, benefits, continuous training and promotions from within the company whenever possible.
The 18th store opened earlier this year in Fishers near The Hamilton Towne Center, at Exit 210. A 19th Classic Cleaners location is already in the works in Carmel at 146th Street and River Road, south of the Rickers gas station, and a 20th store is planned for the Zionsville/Whitestown area in the Anson Development at The Whitestown Park exit.
“We have had a great history and have been lucky to keep growing,” Arnold stated. “We have had incredibly loyal customers over the years who appreciate our quality.”
The company has been in business for over 31 years. Classic Cleaners started in January 1985 when Carl Arnold and his sons, John and Steve Arnold, opened their first two stores, Professional Cleaners, in northeast Indianapolis. They became Classic Cleaners soon after.
More stores opened later, and in 1990, Leon Neal, now retired, bought into Classic Cleaners as a partner. He was in charge of quality control and wedding gown cleaning and preservation, a popular service Classic Cleaners offers to the bridal community.
Classic Cleaners is the only cleaner in central Indiana endorsed by the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists and offers a 100 percent guarantee on gown preservation.
Tim Day came on board in 1993 as a partner, serving as Operations Manager responsible for site planning, store construction and mechanical operations. Classic Cleaners also started its first pickup and delivery service and now delivers to a large radius of communities from as far south as Center Grove and as far north as Lebanon and Cicero.
Shawna O’Brien, who handles marketing for Classic Cleaners, said that in 2004, Classic Cleaners became the first dry cleaner in the Indianapolis area to introduce 24-hour drop-off and pickup locker service.
“People leaving on business trips or vacations love the convenience of being able to get their clothes at any time,” O’Brien said. “They have told us in person and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts how much they appreciate the ability to stop off and pick up their cleaned items at any time day or night with our 24-hour locker service.”
The 24-hour drop-off and locker service features were first added to the store at the 131st and Hazel Dell location in Carmel. The service is now available in 14 of their 19 stores.
In 2012, Classic Cleaners invested over $300,000 to convert to eco-friendly cleaning machines and fluid. Classic Cleaners stopped using perchloroethylene (PERC) and invested in new eco-friendly cleaning machinery and fluids, resulting in a better cleaning service and long-term energy savings. The fluid is odor free, dermatologically safe (will not irritate skin) and cleans better than PERC.
“We have always tried to use the safest cleaning products available and have been recognized by the Department of Environment Management for our safe use of chemicals,” Arnold said.
O’Brien noted that Classic Cleaners also contributes to local school programs and not-for-profit organizations. In May 2016, Classic Cleaners offered complimentary cleaning for over 100 dresses and suits for Damar Services of Indianapolis’ annual prom.
Classic Cleaners has had a long partnership with Dress for Success Indianapolis whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 2003, Classic Cleaners supports Dress for Success Indianapolis as a drop-off location for gently used suits and blouses. Classic Cleaners offers complimentary cleaning and pressing for the donated items before delivering to Dress for Success Indianapolis.
“Thanks to the generous donations from our community, we have had the pleasure of helping women present a polished appearance during their job search. We know how important it is for a woman reentering the workforce to feel confident during the interviewing process, and having the right attire helps her make a great first impression. Many members of our community have told us how much they appreciate our involvement in the program over the years,” O’Brien said.
More than 9,000 women have been served through Dress for Success Indianapolis since the organization was founded in 1999.
As a locally-owned business, Classic Cleaners strives to provide a quality product to their customers in the many communities they service as well as support their local community initiatives through donations and sponsorships.
Steve said, “We’ve tailored the new building to accommodate the increased production, and we look forward to providing great quality dry cleaning and convenience to our customers as we continue to grow.”