What is the mission of your business?
I try to carry on the legacy established by C. B. Penninger, my grandfather, and Chet Penninger, my father. They taught me to understand the business of cleaning clothes and to put out the best product I can. They repeatedly said that customers are always right. We’re a people business. When it all comes out in the wash, it’s the people who matter — trying to do the best for our customers.
What inspires you daily?
I learned the meaning of service from watching my family in business since I was a young boy. It was ingrained in me since birth. I’ve been a part of our cleaning business for as long as I can remember. Recognition from our customers that we are providing them with exceptional service is my proudest accomplishment. Living up to our customers’ expectations along with continuing my family legacy inspire me to continue striving to be the best. Every day I go to work, I’m not only making a difference for my immediate and extended family, but also for the future generations.
What has been your business’s biggest challenge?
The dry cleaning industry, at large, faced difficulties in the 1970s when polyester became popular. Since people no longer favored wearing wools, cotton, linens, and silks at the time, our business suffered a downturn since polyester doesn’t need to be cleaned.
The payoff for persevering and enduring sacrifices is people who will go to great lengths to obtain our cleaning services. I have a customer who moved out of state, and she still ships clothes to Columbia to be cleaned. Another customer once sent me a bridal gown from Bermuda that I cleaned, preserved, and shipped back to her.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about your business?
Something that few people know is that my business used to be called Penninger’s One-Hour Martinizing.