Central Coast Bulletin

Showcasing The People That Run Small Businesses In SLO County

Paso Robles

Paso Robles Cleaners

Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry

The Cleaners That’s Busier Inside, Than The Corner Of 13th And Riverside Is Outside

Paso Robles Cleaners and Laundry
Paso Robles Cleaners and Laundry

If you ever drive by the corner of 13th Street and Riverside In Paso Robles, CA you will no doubt see the cleaners facility of Paso Robles Cleaners and Laundry.

How can you miss it right?

With its burgundy-colored “PR” and rope logo, it really fits the look and feel of the town of Paso Robles. It’s a distinctive building with the same Paso Robles High School colors of burgundy and white.

What most people never see inside is just how busy that place is inside.

The owner of the business is Jason Smiley and has been operating the business since 2011. He’s been in the laundry business for just about most of his life. He started out with his father working over at Nuway cleaners and laundry for close to 20 years. He ran all the different aspects of his father’s business. That included running the dry cleaning part and also the linen rental, uniform rental, and mat and towel services for the business. He ran the washroom of his father business, dealt with managing staff, supervised five different routes, and also dealt with new sales and customer service.

He broke off and started his own little business after his father sold Nuway. Lucky for him because Nuway was mismanaged by the new ownership and went out of business just a few short years later.

He now operates this incredibly busy business that provides great quality dry cleaning services to the citizens of Paso Robles and the surrounding areas. Being right in the middle of town allows his customers quick and easy access, especially during those busy traffic hours in the afternoon.

Inside this building, you’d be amazed at the amount of equipment he has set up and at the amount of cleaning that actually takes place.

Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry Equipment
Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry Equipment

Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry Equipment

His business is powered by a huge boiler. Basically, it’s a machine that boils water and creates steam at a incredibly high pressure. With this steam, he powers steam-powered presses, shirt folding machines, 100 lb steam powered dryers, and washing machines so big that a small child could stand up in. He also has a giant machine called an ironer that is also powered by steam that can dry, iron, and fold sheets and tablecloths straight out of a washer.

With these machines, he not only provides dry cleaning services to the locals but he also provides commercial cleaning services for local businesses throughout the Central Coast. He offers towel services, mat rental, linen and napkin rentals, cook shirt and some uniform services to small restaurants, shops, and stores in his community. He goes out and deliveries it all with his little fleet of vans with his Paso Robles Cleaners logos you may have seen on the roads and highways throughout the county. He likes to give local businesses an alternative option in linen and uniform services as compared to several huge, multi-million dollar companies that offer the same service. He says those huge companies like to sign these businesses to long-term contracts that they later can’t get out of and then they jack their prices up yearly.

He likes to do business the old-fashioned way; with a handshake. He tells his customers the pricing on his services, they agree, and the deal is done.

Two of Paso Robles Cleaners Vans
Two of Paso Robles Cleaners Vans

His business keeps him busy and provides a much-needed service to the community. Dry cleaning is always a tough business they explain…

“People come in and out and are generally always pleased with the quality of work. The funny thing about dry cleaning is that no one is always jumping up and down with excitement to get back a super cleaned and ironed shirt out of our store. Why would they? It’s just a shirt right?”

“The problems happen when that same person gets back that same shirt with a stain that cannot be removed or think that we caused it. Then we really hear it from customers! But we are used to it and it’s the nature of the business.”

This little business currently employs 13 people in the community. With several people behind the scenes providing all of the pressing and bagging of dry cleaning. There are several people running the industrial part of the business. Jason himself will drive his own vans run the route and service his local accounts for his Paso Robles Cleaners business. He drives out as far as San Luis Obispo and Cambria throughout the week to service his customers.

Paso Robles Cleaners is operated 6 days a week and opens at 7 am till 6 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to till 2 pm. However, the washroom guys fire the plant up and equipment as early 5 am in the morning, Monday through Friday. For the most part, there is someone there just about 7 days a week to keep up with the demands of the business.

Loading Up Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry Van With Linen
Loading Up Paso Robles Cleaners And Laundry Van With Linen
Jason understands that at times the profit margins for pressing a drycleaning and pressing a shirt can be incredibly slim.  For example, he charges $3.50 for a shirt and out of that he has to pay for his employees, the energy costs, the cleaning chemicals, the overwhelming environmental regulations, taxes, insurance, and the list goes on and on. But he also knows that it’s a business that is always in high demand and is needed in the community.
Steam Whistle Blown At Noon in Paso Robles
Steam Whistle Blown At Noon in Paso Robles
He also understands that Paso Robles Cleaners is a big part of this town. From the very beginning of starting out his business, he decided to try something different in the town. He decided to let the entire downtown of Paso Robles know when lunchtime has arrived. He does so by blowing a giant steam whistle every weekday right at 12 o’clock. When he first started this he says he got about a 50/50 response from it. In other words about half the people downtown loved the idea and the other half totally hated it.

Now after doing it for over 5 years, the majority of the town has just gotten used to it and for tourists visiting the area, it gives downtown Paso Robles an added little charm.

Jason says he plans on keeping his little business running for as long as he can He doesn’t plan on expanding out and wants to keep his business small. He likes only having to deal with a few good and loyal customers for his industrial part and the dry cleaning part of his business pretty much takes care of itself. With keeping things small he feels he has better control and keeps enough business to help employ his 13 employees.

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