It’s tough out there in today’s business climate – you’ve got to be committed, you have to know your stuff and most of all, you must be resilient. In this challenging economy, each and every day is a battle; only those who have the heart can triumph. That is why reaching significant business milestones is a reason to celebrate!
In this “Milestones” feature, My City is happy to highlight Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners and Kerton Lumber for their recent achievements. Congratulations to Jan’s for receiving the Global Best Practices Award from a field of 300 competitors, and to Kerton Lumber – a family-owned operation in Holly celebrating a successful 75 years.
Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners Receives Prestigious Award
Established in 1982, Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners is Mid-Michigan’s one-stop shop for laundry and fabric care services in Genesee, Saginaw and Oakland Counties, as well as the surrounding areas. Offering cleaning services for all textile items from clothing to drapery, Jan’s leading-edge equipment and highly efficient, eco-friendly processes save you time and save the environment, as well. The team of specialists is qualified in several specialty services including restoration of fire, smoke, mold, or water damage; restoration of damaged vintage garments; clothing alterations and tailoring; wedding gown alteration, cleaning, storage and restoration – and much more!
Last October, Owner Jan Barlow attended the PTC World Congress in Milan, Italy with other notables from the laundry, linen care and textile care industry from around the globe. “I am thrilled to announce that out of over 300 applicants, I received the prestigious Global Best Practices Award!” Barlow exclaims. “This recognition means the world to me, as it reflects the values I’ve held dear through my 42 years of entrepreneurship at Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners.”
For Barlow, business is not just about the bottom line. “It’s about making a positive impact on our environment and the lives of those around us,” she states. “During the event in Italy, I had the privilege of sharing our journey and insights with fellow industry leaders, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and continuous improvement.”
Barlow credits her company’s longevity to community, innovation and sustainability, which have always been at the heart of her business. “I have been blessed with the best clients in the world,” she shares. “They are loyal and interactive, they are articulate, kind and appreciative. The same applies to our staff. They are team-oriented, self-starters, honest, they pay attention to detail and put the customer first.”
When asked how the dry cleaning business has changed over four decades, Barlow feels that technology has had the biggest impact. “In the beginning, we only talked face-to-face with customers and maybe occasionally on the phone – communication options have continued to increase with texting and email, online and at the point of sale.” Barlow adds that working at Jan’s has also changed compared to 40 years ago. “The work isn’t as physical, the environment is comfortable, and it is a career.” And, the business isn’t just about clothing anymore – services include bedding, leather goods, purses, blinds, designer brands, bridal, formal wear and alterations. Last August, Jan’s added a facility in Frankenmuth – the first in Mid-Michigan to offer a secure kiosk that allows 24-hour access to pick up and drop off dry cleaning.
“We’ve made it our mission to lead by example, implementing sustainable and profitable practices that reduce water consumption and lower CO2 emissions,” Barlow adds. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been part of this incredible journey. This award is not just a recognition of our efforts; it’s a celebration of our shared commitment to a better, more sustainable future.”
Kerton Lumber Family Serving Families
Soon to celebrate 75 years of serving the Holly, MI area, Kerton Lumber is a family-owned company going strong with the fourth generation now at the helm.
“Kerton Lumber was founded in 1949 by my great-grandfather Lee Kerton,” informs Nicole (Kerton) Ryan. “They started out just selling lumber, but the business evolved into a full-service lumber and hardware store.” The team at Kerton can help with projects ranging from painting a room or replacing a door, to building an entire new house. Along with Nicole, the staff includes her brother Travis Kerton and Greg Hooper.
“I would say that our service is what sets us apart,” Ryan states. “We provide free quotes with blueprints or drawings of barns and decks, we can color-match paint, make house keys, deliver building materials, etc.” The team at Kerton strives to help their customers successfully complete a variety of projects. “We try to figure out what they need and if we don’t have it, we see if we can get it,” Ryan adds. “Customers frequently find that the store layout has changed a bit, as we try to maximize space to stock what they need.” A new truck was recently purchased for deliveries.
When asked what has contributed to the Kerton Lumber’s longevity, Ryan’s answer is simple: service and hard work. “We have many of the same customers continuously coming back – their kids are now coming here and some spread the word about our service. Our store is located on a very busy corner for traffic, which makes it easy to find us and helps get people in the door.”
Since 1949, people have counted on the family at Kerton Lumber. “We work very hard to make our customers happy,” Ryan shares. “We know many of them by their first names, we know about their families and if they bring their dog with them to the store, we definitely know the dog’s name, too!”