Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Spooktacular Retrospective

We are so in love with the Jacksonville Zoo, and have been since we were kids.  Getting to work with them on so many projects is a dream come true.  We were asked to work on the Spooktacular project again this year and were thrilled to get the email.  It came later than in years past and we were resolving ourselves to the idea that we weren’t going to be involved for 2014.  While a little sad we had made peace with it.  Then, the message came in and we were on for this exciting, rewarding, fun, and to be honest intensely demanding project. 

                We have them drop off the costumes after they close the gates each night, and that means we get started at around 11pm or so each night.  The Zoo van pulls up in the dark of our parking lot, most of our neighboring businesses have long since closed for the night, and container after container of well used costumes pour into our shop.  Since most of the items are machine washable or hand washed we can do it all right in the back of our shop.  We get to work sorting by material and color to make sure no dyes bleed over.  The first things to get washed are the mascots.  They take extra time to dry and we want to make sure that the next volunteers to don the visages of the tiger, the alligator, the rhino, and the others are stepping into a pleasantly clean and properly dried outfit.  The rest of the night is a fury of treating stains, checking pockets for bits of candy and snacks, removing hay, and washing washing washing.

                We are lucky to have two sets of washers and dryers in the back of our shop that we normally use to pre-clean stained items before we send them to our plant for final cleaning and pressing.  Yes, stained items in our shop get washed at least twice.  This setup of two washer and dryers has proven to be a requirement for cleaning all of the animals, zombies, witches, and other cast of characters that make Spooktacular the best family friendly Halloween event bar none.  Wouldn’t you know it though, this year one of our washers went out on us half way through leaving us with just one washing machine and hundreds of costumes to clean each night.  OH NO! 

                After some failed attempts to revive the fallen washer and some debate on our part as to what to do, we decided to look for a used machine to fill in for the rest of the project until we had time to fix the broken unit.  We looked and debated and before we knew it the next night of Spooktacular was on us with only one washer.  What normally takes six hours of washing  took over eight.  This was grueling.  So the next day we were up early on 3 hours of sleep and we picked up a used machine to bolster our ranks.  Uh oh, a dud.  It wasn’t working either.  So again a long night of only one machine.  We had decided to finish out the project on one washer and deal with it after things settled down a bit.

                So one morning after getting home at 8:30 am we get a call from the shop at 9:30 telling us the only remaining washer had jammed up.  Oh the luck we have.  We had decided that we could finish out the project on one washer, but could we do it on none?  Of course not, just a silly question asked on one hour of sleep.  So out we run to solve this crisis before the next load of goblins and ghouls was brought to us for cleaning.  First, to the shop to tinker with the freshly broken washer.  An hour of trial and error and a few cuts later it was working again.  Then it was off to the other side of town to exchange the used washer we had gotten a few days ago for another.  Back at the shop 3 hours later with fingers crossed we put the replacement used washer in place and what luck, it works.  In six hours we went from no washers to two working washers.  I felt like a super hero. 

                The rest of the project went as smooth as a tiger’s dance moves (you had to have gone to Spooktacular to understand).  All of the zombies, animals, pirates, storybook heroes, and other creatures of the night have now been cleaned and laid to rest until next Halloween when they will once again come alive to thrill and delight the wide-eyed visitors to Jacksonville Zoo’s Spooktacular 2015.  We will be there, will you?



Upon further investigation into why our two primary washers stopped working, it  was found that they had ingested a large amount of hay, the kind horses eat.  While delicious for cows, it is not so great for drain pumps.  Clearing this material has restored our machines to full washing vigor.  Just one of the tricks of Halloween 2014.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Redesigned dry cleaning website coming soon!

For those that know us and our shop, you know we are committed to quality, convenience, and service.  With this in mind, we are always examining our procedures, looking for new and better ways to serve our customers.  So it greatly excites us to tell you we have been working hard with Technology Solutions by Woodruff Enterprises to redesign our website, and have a fantastic new feature coming soon.  We can't wait to share it with you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

     Hiring new employees can be a difficult task.  They have to be able to do the job, but there is so much more you have to take into account.  They need to present themselves in a way that is compatible with your company image.  They need to work well with existing staff and fit into the culture of the company.  Most importantly they need to respect and serve your customers and give them a stellar level of service. 

     Recently one of our employees told us that she was going to need to leave her job because she has other obligations that will not allow her to work her current hours.  After talking with her my wife and I were able to come to a solution that allowed her to stay with us.  We cut her days back to only Monday and Wednesday.  This required us to start looking for a new person to fill the other days.  Our search was short and an applicant fell right into our shop.

     She had never worked in Dry Cleaning before and had never really used and Dry Cleaners in the past.  This gave us concern about how quickly she would be able to learn the job.  Before we had a chance to setup an interview she arranged with our store manager to come in on her own time a few days to observe how the magic happens in a cleaners.  Needless to say this level of drive and initiative impressed all of us, a lot.  She has been with us now for a week and is learning the ins and outs very quickly.  Our concerns about her learning the job have been put to rest.

     Our new team member has worked in customer service her entire life and has learned and lived the best practices of the service industry.  These lessons are harder to teach than almost any other job skill.  She is patient and friendly, courteous and respectful.  She loves helping people and it shows in all of her interactions, both with customers and with the rest of us here at Nita's All Washed Up Dry Cleaning.

   Finding a new employee on short notice can be very hard to do.  But sometimes, and this has happened for us more than once, the universe will put the right person in the right place just when you need them.  Our new employee doesn't even live in Florida, she crossed state lines for her other job here in Jacksonville and that is how we found her.  Talk about luck!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We Dry Cleaners help make special events happen!

Whether it’s your favorite suit, cleaned, pressed and ready to go, renting a tuxedo for your big day, or cleaning and preserving your wedding dress after saying “I Do,” Dry Cleaners are a part of many special events.

This week we fitted a nice young man for a rental suit to wear for his First Communion this weekend.   We hope he has a great time and always remembers this special day.  It’s kind of fun knowing that years from now when he and his family look back on the pictures, they will see the suit, and just maybe, will remember standing in the back room of our shop, laughing and having fun as we measured him to make sure the fit is just perfect.

We also just finished a batch of table cloths and chair covers for one of our favorite event planners, Southern Charm Weddings & Events.  While scrubbing at stains on the table cloths, we couldn’t help but wonder where they were last used. Was it a romantic wedding, or a festive birthday party?

Nita’s loves working on weddings and other special occasions.  We want to help you look your best, whether that is pressing your favorite pants, helping you find the perfect suit or tuxedo, or making sure your priceless dress is boxed and preserved for future generations.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Went to see the Dinos found this too.

That's our name on the business partner wall at the Zoo.  So cool to see it up there.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zoo Tickets

At Nita's we love the Jacksonville Zoo!  We want to share that love with everyone.  To that end we are giving away a family four pack of tickets to the Zoo.

Want to win?  Join us on Facebook for details on how to enter.  Good luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who we are!

In our excitement in starting a new blog we forgot to introduce ourselves.

We are a Jacksonville Dry Cleaner located on the Northside near the Jacksonville International Airport.  When the cleaner where my mother Nita worked for 12 years closed my wife Lea and I opened Nita’s All Washed Up Dry Cleaning to give her a place to work where she could put her many years of experience to use.  We pride ourselves on great service and high quality. 

We have partnered with many expert vendors to bring our clients a full selection of quality services including alterations, shoe repair, leather cleaning and repair, rug cleaning, wedding gown cleaning and preservation, and tuxedo rentals.  In addition to our laundry and dry cleaning services these specialty services make us a one stop shop for all of your garment care needs.  We also serve many wedding and event professionals in and around the Jacksonville area.  This gives us a wide range of contacts in the wedding industry if you have a need for your special day. 

We provide service to many large clients including the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, BP, Wal-Mart, and many others.  Servicing these clients has given us great experience in working large projects on short deadlines.  From a single pair of boots to a van full of costumes we are prepared to handle any of your dry cleaning needs, whatever they may be.

Stop by and meet us.  We are friendly and ready to clean up whatever stains you have to bring us.

Visit us online: