Second Place: HandCraft Cleaners
Third Place: Bill's Cleaners and Laundry
A trip to the cleaners usually involves handing over your dirty duds and getting a pink slip saying "after 5 p.m." on a specific day. How about getting an email telling you exactly when the clothes are ready? That's what 76-year-old Puritan does, and it seems to work, owner Gary Glover says. Puritan's large-scale operations also are a factor. "It's a fragmented market," Glover notes, explaining that many dry cleaners are mom and pop operations with about 10 employees. Puritan has 190 workers at 13 stores and five cleaning stations that handle 25,000 shirts and 65,000 pounds of dry cleaning weekly. Home delivery is available on 10 routes. Other goodies, such as birthday discounts, add value, but location and email notices — popular among younger customers "who like to know if it's ready at 3 p.m. today or 10 a.m. tomorrow" — make a difference. Puritan can do more difficult jobs, such as cleaning leather or shoe products, as does runner-up Bill's Cleaners in Carytown, noted for salvaging nearly ruined clothes. HandCraft Cleaners, like Puritan, has been a Richmond stalwart for many years and has three locations, two in the West End and one in Bon Air.