As I travel the world, training customers and speaking with restoration companies, I find they are frequently surprised by the fact that many soft goods can be cleaned with ultrasonic technology. For years, the restoration industry has been discussing the successful use of ultrasonics for restoration of hard goods. Many don’t realize the ultrasonic equipment they have invested in, or plan to invest in for contents restoration, can clean items such as stuffed animals, window blinds, dolls, sports equipment, bags, area carpets and much more.
This doll was pulled out of box of items that our customer, a restoration company, considered uncleanable, and therefore, a loss. Within two minutes, by using ultrasonics, this cherished possession was cleaned and restored. Having this capability was an eye opener to them and continues to be for many restorers. The quantity of items that are now cleanable, and that can and should be packed out, increases tremendously. Not to mention items like this doll, that may have been previously subcontracted to a dry cleaner, can now be accomplished by any restoration company using ultrasonics.
Restoration dry cleaners have caught on to this reality. With the threat of soft good contents being removed from their realm, they are looking for ways to clean more items…but not compete with their primary customers, the restoration companies. Many have started adopting ultrasonic technology to stay competitive. It is being used as an alternative method of cleaning some items, and an addition to traditional methods to make them faster and more effective.
Gadue’s Dry Cleaning in Vermont is one such company. Aline Gadue, third generation owner and president, and Melissa Gonyon, restoration sales and marketing manager, decided they needed to grow the business and continue to expand into the lucrative restoration division. Melissa attended Crawford’s Contractor Connection expo in Orlando, Fla. in 2015, saw Morantz Ultrasonics equipment in action, and was convinced ultrasonic equipment was the answer. They ordered equipment, set to work on their facility to make space for the type of work they intended to take on, and within a few months were ready for training.
During training, the Gadue’s staff was extremely enthusiastic. Items they had been turning away or had trouble cleaning were now restorable.
After a year of ultilizing ultrasonics, Melissa says it has “worked very well in this department. Our company is able to offer a service that was not available in our state, and has blown away insurance adjusters with the savings of cleaning items rather than having to replace them.”
Melissa also explained they have found using ultrasonics to clean items they typically use conventional dry cleaning methods for provided more successful results.
An example is wedding gown cleaning. Vermont brides end up in some not-so-clean spots seeking that perfect Vermont setting for their wedding photos. The result is a train and dress bottom that has literally been dragged through the mud. Gadue’s uses their ultrasonic equipment to concentrate on the bottoms, prior to the finish cleaning process, to ensure they remove all the dirt.
Melissa also said with ultrasonics, they have the ability to expand their scope, and accordingly, their current customer base.
By offering cleaning of items such as baby gear, sports equipment, window treatments, blinds, golf clubs and bags, and more we have reached beyond traditional dry cleaning customers,” she explained. “We recently signed a deal to clean all of the sports equipment and uniforms for Vermont’s first professional indoor football league, The Vermont Bucks. We are very excited for this opportunity and are looking forward to the doors that this may open for us with other organizations such as universities and athletic programs across the state.”
Melissa realized marketing their new technology was going to be critical to their success. She set out putting together information packages, banners and more boasting about their ultrasonic technology. Here are a few examples:
I’m always the first to say that we learn as much from our customers as they learn from us. By working with Gadue’s, as well as many other dry cleaners that have invested in ultrasonics, I have learned more about their particular needs and how our equipment can be modified to best suit these needs. We now offer ultrasonic equipment with special features just for dry cleaners.
As more restoration companies and dry cleaners offer soft goods cleaning with ultrasonic technology, they will be able to restore more items previously considered a loss, restore more cherished possessions faster and easier, and restore items that they would not have taken on before. In the process, they will generate new profit centers and increase revenue.