Fairfield dry cleaner celebrates 40 years in business

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Dave Frey started Pleasant Run Dry Cleaners in 1978 at 6106 Winton Road just south of Mack Road in Fairfield. The business, which offers same-day service, was recognized this year by Fairfield City Council with its own day to mark the milestone. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dave Frey believes when it comes to running his Fairfield business, location and a loyal customer base have made all the difference in the world.

Frey’s family-owned-and-operated Pleasant Run Dry Cleaners this year reached the 40-year mark at 6106 Winton Road just south of Mack Road. The storefront, which offers “in by 10 a.m., out by 4 p.m.” same-day service, was recognized by Fairfield City Council with its own day to commemorate the milestone.

“That tells me we’re doing a good job and if we wasn’t doin’ a good job, these people, they wouldn’t be comin’ in here and I wouldn’t have lasted 40 years,” said Frey, 75.

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After working briefly at Excel Dry Cleaning, Frey opened Pleasant Run Dry Cleaners in 1978 with his wife Lil and one presser at the Winton Plaza storefront. He said the location appealed to him because of the steady stream of traffic, which he said has helped the storefront survive and thrive over the years.

From there, Frey added dry-cleaning equipment, increased the storefront’s square footage and opened two pickup stores, one at Pleasant Avenue and Augusta Boulevard, where his wife ran the store and was the seamstress for 30 years, and the other at Woodridge Boulevard. Frey eventually sold both stores, consolidating his operations to the Winton Road location.

He said Pleasant Run Dry Cleaners is different from many dry cleaners because it does all the cleaning in the store.

Many of the store’s eight employees have worked for numerous years at the business, which has involved a wide variety of family members over the years including Frey’s late mother Marian, sister Gloria, three daughters and three granddaughters, as well as friends they recruited to work there.

“I very seldom had to put an ad in the paper or (post) a help wanted sign,” he said.

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Although dry cleaning has waxed and waned under shifting fashion trend and cultural demographics, Frey said the business has remained a viable venture because of its extremely loyal customer base. That includes a broad swath of the community including many Cincinnati Financial employees and executives, Fairfield’s fire department, its mayor, city council members, numerous police department personnel and other notable residents.

“Everybody that’s anybody comes in my place and I just enjoy all those people,” Frey said. “”It makes me feel good that I’ve got a lot of those guys.”

His advice to any business owner: “Treat your customers like they’re gold.”

In 40 years, he said, he’s never been to small claims court, which is “unheard of in the dry-cleaning business.”

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Customers say they appreciate Pleasant Run Dry Cleaners' customer service and the quality of its cleaning.

Vickie Buck, who stopped by Tuesday morning to drop off clothing, said she’s patronized the business for the past 35 years and stops by two or three times a week.

“They’re close, they’re nice and friendly people and they always do a good job,” she said.

Janet Leiter said she’s remained a loyal customer since moving to Fairfield in 1982 because of employee friendliness, a conveniently close location and an “always on time” track record.

“They are good people,” she said. “We’ve known them for so long, I wouldn’t know how to go somewhere else.”

Frey said the best part of being a long-time business owner has been building relationships with customers over the years and having dedicated, capable employees.

“We’re kind of like a family here and we have a good time and we get the job done,” he said.