Daniel Kertenian, ‘Backbone’ of Magic Laundry, Passes On
Daniel Kertenian, 80, a key backer of Magic Laundry, a business launched by his son Harry that has grown into 100,000 square feet of production space capable of processing more than 100 million lbs. annually, passed away recently after an illness.
“He was my backbone and my support; pretty much my ‘silent everything,’” said Harry, noting that while his father, a retired tailor, wasn’t involved in day-to-day operations, he was an active presence at the hospitality laundry company based in Montebello, CA. “He was there every day, but not involved,” said Harry, owner/CFO of Magic Laundry. “He was a supporter and is a father to the entire team at Magic.”
That backing continued with Daniel’s attendance at the TRSA Production Summit & Plant Tours in February in Anaheim, CA (see nearby photo). At that event, more than 100 TRSA members toured the Magic plant, which features three processing areas under one roof and a staff of 600 employees.
The company represents an immigrant success story for Daniel, who fled a civil war in Beirut with his family in 1976 as Armenian refugees. In the Lebanese capital, he had operated a tailoring shop. After leaving Beirut, the family relocated to Pasadena, CA. There Daniel plied a trade as a “mobile tailor” going to various dry-cleaning businesses around the city to make alternations to garments. In 1992, he opened a dry-cleaning business. His son Harry joined the company the following year. “I was fresh out of high school in ’93; I joined the business,” Harry said. “We ran the business as a family. Me, mom (Suzy) and dad for 10 years, and I had built a good commercial route doing uniforms for hotels.”
As business on the hotel side expanded, Daniel encouraged Harry to go all out with the new venture. As the company grew in the early 2000s, Daniel continued to back Harry’s efforts. “As I basically grew the business, the linens and mats came in heavily. My father supported me and pushed me into starting Magic Laundry Services.” Founded in 2003, the business outgrew its original location the following year. Harry relocated Magic Laundry to an industrial site.
Had Daniel not provided financial as well as moral support for these efforts, history would be quite different, Harry said. “Magic would not be where it is because it was his credit, it was his support that he invested.”
Daniel visited the plant regularly until the latter part of last year, when his health deteriorated. He passed away on June 30 with the knowledge that his son had achieved his (and the family’s) goal of business success. “All he cared about was the success of his son and the company,” Harry said.
“That was his main … everything.”
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, July 11, at Tuner, Stevens Live Oak Mortuary, 200 E. Duarte Road, Monrovia, CA, with visitation from 10 a.m.-noon and a graveside service from noon to 1 p.m. Click here for details. Click here and here for more information on Magic Laundry.