Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
Carriage House Cleaners
5413 Shimerville Road
Carriage House Cleaners on Facebook
Owner: Kim Kerschner
Hours: Monday-Friday 9-6:30 Saturday 9-2
What service do you provide?
We do dry cleaning, professional shirt laundry, leather and suede repair and cleaning, alterations and shoe repair. We just started pickup and delivery, too -- free of charge. We’re a drop store so everything gets sent out. It’s for convenience -- the people around here don’t have to worry about going into town to get stuff like that done. Everything goes to JC Cleaners in Wescosville except for shoe repairs, which go to Camody Shoe Repair. Just so people know, our prices are not any different than a regular dry cleaner. It’s not as if they pay us extra to drop things off here because we’re a drop store. We have a deal with JC Cleaners where he pays us to do this, so it’s not more expensive, just more convenient.
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Why did you choose to locate your business in Zionsville?
I worked at Anderson Cleaners in Emmaus, and I had only worked there for about four months when the owner Gary Anderson decided to sell the business. Well, I loved the customers and he didn’t want much for it, so I decided to buy it. Then a couple months from there the landlord came to us and told us he’d upped our rent and ended up renting it out to somebody else who could pay twice as much as we did -- so he gave us 30 days to leave. So we moved everything to storage, then we looked and we looked and we looked and we ended up here!
How long have you been in business?
We started in December of last year at Anderson Cleaners, then we were closed from June to September because we had nowhere to go, then we opened back up here at the end of September.
What inspired you to start your business?
I just went through Craigslist and was looking for a part-time job. I mean, I never dreamed I’d own anything like this, but I loved it, so I went for it.
What makes your business different from the competition?
We’re very friendly and we offer personalized service. It’s a whole atmosphere. Our motto is “It’s like taking your laundry home to mom,” so, there’s always snacks and coffee. When you walk into a normal dry cleaner, you throw your laundry to someone and there are people yelling numbers back to other people... Here it’s very laid back -- our customers come in, they sit down, they relax. I mean, it’s like the neighborhood thing!
What’s the hardest part of your business?
When someone needs something done immediately, and because we’re a drop store it can’t always be done for them. That’s the only downfall to it.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
The customer is always right -- cater to the customers. And, you should treat everybody like you want to be treated. You don’t like to go into a store and run into a crabby cashier; it makes your day bad.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering this business and why?
It is a very hard business to go into because we make a little over what we pay for everything to be done, but out of that we have to pay our rent, our bills, our everything. It’s a hard business to get into until you’ve really got the customers.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.