Crossing the Country and 50 Years:
Why This Business Remains the Leader in Dry Cleaning Services
Maintaining relevancy in a changing world of technology, advancements in cleaning and keeping up with services to help keep Tucson family homes and clothing in pristine condition, amongst a myriad of services is not an easy feat. Yet, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry has done just that for 50 years. From a single store to nine, the family owned business, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry, has remained as the preferred Tucson dry cleaner. It’s no surprise when you consider their hard work and dedication to providing top notch services to the community. Let’s explore their story of 50 years in business.
The Beginning of Success
This story begins in Cincinnati, OH where Bill Shaffer and his business partner, Victor Ray, lived. Bill worked as an attorney and desired a change. One of Bill’s clients, George Strike, owned American Laundry Co, which owned the Martinizing Dry Cleaning franchise. Bill and Victor knew this was the change they were looking for. Longing for a warmer climate, Bill and Victor decided the right place for their move would either be Arizona or New Mexico. Visiting the metropolitan areas of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Phoenix and Tucson, Victor decided wisely on moving to Tucson. It was for the desert’s natural beauty and Tucson’s cultural qualities that made it the perfect place to relocate.
Rapid Expansion in a Short Time
The Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry journey began in 1969 on the corner of Ajo Way and 12th Ave in Tucson, AZ with their first store. With their investment in the Martinizing franchise, they set up as Martinizing Dry Cleaning and kept this name until 2006. Despite being the initial store, it has remained as one of the busiest out of the other eight stores that are open today.
Just three years later, in 1972, Bill and Victor opened up their second store on the corner of 1st Ave and Grant Rd. Business was booming, and they opened a third store in 1974 on Broadway and Kolb.
Bill Pressed on Without Victor
Tragedy hit when Victor suddenly passed away in 1975. Suffering from such a devastating loss merely years after embarking on a journey across the country with his partner and finding success was hard to bear, but Bill kept on in memory of Victor. With three stores open and without onsite ownership, Bill maintained perspective and drive. He kept each store running, making multiple visits to Tucson and hiring managers to oversee day to day operations. The second store that was opened, on 1st Ave and Grant Rd, was sold, and a new store was opened on Speedway and Swan.
Bill’s oldest son, Bake, graduated from Ripon College in 1983 and moved to Tucson to help with the company. In order to learn all aspects of the business, Bake did everything from working at the counter to production.
Another Business Boom
A fourth store was opened in 1985, and the business took off significantly in 1986. Additional locations were opened on Sabino Canyon and Tanque Verde, Swan and Sunrise and Harrison and 22nd St. Despite the changes, the company continued to center on supreme customer service. Martinizing Dry Cleaning has always been about quality services, taking into account customer needs and finding efficient and effective ways at delivering those needs.
Over the years, Martinizing Dry Cleaning changed with the times and the needs of individual neighborhoods. Some locations closed while others opened to accommodate the needs of their customers. Because of significant success in the late 80’s and into the 90’s, Martinizing Dry Cleaning rapidly expanded. In 1992, they acquired a bank building that was completely remodeled into a dry cleaning plant. Another building was constructed alongside this building to provide laundry operations.
This Family Owned Business Grew in Family Members and Business Opportunities
Patricia Shaffer was born and raised in New York. She moved out to Arizona and attended the University of Arizona where she graduated with a bachelor’s in Sales and Marketing. Patricia worked for a number of Fortune 500 companies after graduating.
In September 1992, Bake and Patricia were married. Bake and Patricia welcomed their first child, Billy, in 1997. Patricia took time off to be with their little one. Two and a half years later, Patricia began implementing her business know-how part-time. Shortly thereafter, they welcomed their second child, Maddy, in 2002. Patricia started putting in more hours once Maddy went to school.
Rebranding Proved to Be a Smart Move
In 2006 as Martinizing Dry Cleaning came upon the expiration of its franchise, the Shaffer’s decided to rebrand their company as Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry. Some confusion amounted with the name change, but the same company that had been serving the community since 1969 is still here today.
Not Your Ordinary Tucson Dry Cleaner
You won’t find many dry cleaning establishments nationwide like Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry. In 2010, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry embarked on a new idea. With their innovative pickup and delivery services, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry revolutionized the way Tucson neighborhoods and surrounding areas experienced dry cleaning services. They offer the same dry cleaning prices that customers would pay at the counter, but Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry picks up items for dry cleaning and laundry.
Pickup services are a breath of fresh air for families and individuals who face time constraints, which pretty much applies to everyone nowadays. With their expedient laundry services, customers enjoy the freedom of having their laundry picked up, professionally cleaned, folded and returned over the weekend so that families and individuals can enjoy their free time without worrying about laundry.
Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry Cares About Connecting With Customers
Keeping up with the times and providing top-notch services, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry provides a service that allows customers to set up a pickup time for their dry cleaning needs. Clothes, linens and anything else that needs cleaning is professionally cleaned with a GreenEarth® cleaning solution to provide phenomenally clean items in an easy and affordable manner. This is just one of the many services that are favored by many customers. They provide cobbler services to fix customers’ shoes, designer handbag cleaning, leather repair and cleaning, reweaving rugs, drapes, wedding gowns and several other services that set them apart.
They Care About the Environment and Customer Health
As a family owned business who is dedicated to providing excellent services to the community, the Shaffer’s know that quality matters and that it’s important to provide the services customers need in order to make their lives easier. This is why they provide GreenEarth® Cleaning to effectively clean clothing and textiles without leaving harmful chemicals behind.
As a family of the Tucson community, the Shaffer’s understand the importance of protecting the environment and their customers’ health. In 1998 and prior to Al Gore’s large-scale public conservation efforts, Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry was the first dry cleaner in Tucson to stop using perchloroethylene, which is more commonly known by the name of “PERC.” PERC can be particularly harmful when inhaled or when it comes into contact with skin. The Shaffer’s’ safe method for dry cleaning made their competitors uncomfortable, but they knew they couldn’t compromise their standards, customer and employee health or the Tucson environment.
The Shaffer’s Know the Importance of Giving Back to the Community
Beyond providing superior and cutting-edge services for their customers, the Shaffer’s volunteer their time and services to give back to the community. Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry has a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for clothing donations. They have volunteered their services to clean gowns for Angel Charity that were resold at Bags & Baubles’ events. They support virtually any charity with gift cards for silent auctions and prizes.
A True Family Business with a Love for Family, Life and Tucson
Patricia and Bake’s love of their business have kept the two in close proximity to Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry in all regards. Patricia says the part she enjoys the most about their business is interacting with their customers and employees. You can find both Billy and Maddy helping out in the summer months.
During the school year, Bake and Patricia attend Billy and Maddy’s sporting events. The Shaffer’s have three dogs: Luke, Bo and Grit. They also have two tortoises, George and Winston. Patricia enjoys cooking, reading and practicing yoga. Bake plays as a Lacrosse goalie for “old guys” teams. Bake’s love for the environment lends to his enjoyment of aquaponics, which involves building an aquatic environment to create a symbiotic relationship between plants and aquatic life. Bake’s aquaponics include a wide range of vegetables and a dozen fish.
50 Years in Business
The Shaffer’s are proud to celebrate their 50th year of service in the community. Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry shows no signs of slowing down. Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry has a total of nine physical retail locations to suit the needs of all their customers: Pusch View Ln and Oracle Rd, Harrison Rd and 22nd St, Oracle Rd and Rudasill Rd, Sunrise Dr and Swan Rd, 7402 E. Broadway Blvd, Sabino Canyon Rd and Tanque Rd, Ajo Way and 12th Ave and the headquarters at Campbell Ave and Glenn St. They currently have five delivery routes with plans of developing more.