Pampers is first dry cleaner in Lee County to ‘go green’
Following the “going green” trend, Pampers Cleaners Group will be the first dry cleaners in Lee and Collier Counties to operate an environmentally-friendly production plant, which utilizes the GreenEarth Cleaning Solvent instead of the industry’s standard solvent.
Michael Guido, owner/president of Pampers Cleaners Group, explained that the half-century-old industry dry cleaning solvent, perchloroethylene (commonly known as “perc”), is being phased out because of environmental concerns. His willingness to invest in environmentally-responsible dry cleaning processes puts him five to 10 years ahead of the rest of the industry, he estimated.
“Once better alternatives to the perc dry cleaning process were available to us, we didn’t hesitate to make the financial investment to an environmentally-safe method,” said Guido, who operates four stores in Fort Myers and Cape Coral as well as a valet delivery service. “It’s the best investment we ever made. We’ve been in business 24 years. The decision to stop using perc and convert to GreenEarth is a ‘win-win’ for everyone – our environment, our customers, our employees and our business.”
According to Guido, 90 percent of all cleaners in the United States still use perc, a solvent classified by the EPA as a Toxic Air Contaminant and a possible human carcinogen. Perc has been in widespread use since the 1950s. Concerns about the health hazards of perc were first raised by the scientific community in the 1970s. In January 2007, California passed the nation’s first statewide ban on perc chemicals and equipment.
Before the bans started, dry cleaners had been reluctant to invest in the equipment necessary to convert to a perc-free process because the cost of going green can be very expensive, with each new machine costing upwards of $60,000 plus significant labor costs to swap out all the equipment.
Guido also noted legislation to phase out perc is pending in many states, including recently introduced legislation in Florida.
“The handwriting is on the wall” he said. “We all know where public demand and regulatory trends are headed. We made a corporate decision to voluntarily do this conversion and not wait until we were forced to do so.”
GreenEarth, based in Kansas City, Mo., is an environmentally-safe dry cleaning process that does not utilize based solvents and is safer for the water, soil and air. The GreenEarth Cleaning process uses liquid silicone as its solvent. Silicone is a gentle, natural sand-based product used in many personal care products such as shampoos and soaps.
“Our customers have been very happy about our conversion and have noticed the difference immediately. There is never a chemical smell and their clothes look and feel better,” said Guido “They are softer, with more body, colors are brighter and whites whiter.”
On top of the environment, dry cleaners across the country that have already converted to GreenEarth have enjoyed much higher sales volumes. Converting to GreenEarth, Guido added, is “a key differentiator and gives Pampers a major competitive advantage over every other dry cleaner in Southwest Florida.”
“It really makes a difference, especially to communities like Sanibel and Captiva,” he noted. “Out here, we have a loyal customer base that continues to grow. Word-of-mouth – especially here on the islands – is absolutely critical.”
A member of the Captiva Community Association, Pampers Cleaners Group has a client list that includes South Seas Island Resort, Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa, Royal Shell, Sanibel Arms West, LXR, Sanibel Beach Inn, Casa Ybel and The Sundial, whom Guido credits as his first island customer back in 2005.
“At the end of the day, what we’ve done is try to reduce our expenses, improve service to our customers and make things work better for us,” he said. “With GreenEarth, we’ve done that. It’s a home run all around.”
As he opens the door to a whole new business model in dry cleaning, Guido has a lot to feel good about. Additional information is available by visiting the GreenEarth Cleaning website at www.greenearthcleaning.com.
For more information about Pampers’ dry cleaning services, call Pampers Hi-Tech Cleaners (4600 Summerlin Road in Fort Myers) at 239-936-5099, Gulf Point Cleaners (15600 San Carlos Blvd. in Fort Myers) at 239-481-1316, Pampers Cleaners (2384 Surfside Blvd. in Cape Coral) at 239-282-0013 or Classic Cleaners (900 SW Pine Island Road in Cape Coral) at 239-458-0012. For Pampers’ valet delivery service, call 239-848-1000.