Model Cleaners: A Company on the Move
Model Cleaners, Charleroi, PA, has expanded and prospered over the past three decades by putting a new spin on old business, says Dave LaCarte, president of apparel, and one of five sons who runs the family operation.
The company has grown from a mom-and-pop dry cleaning operation with a workforce of eight to a chain with 25 locations, 300 employees, and state-of-the-art equipment and technology, according to a local news report. More growth is ahead, says John, company president. They are working on buying a uniform rental processing site in Twinsburg, OH, and looking at adding four processing facilities by early 2016. A plan to “chip” garments with RFID identification tags is also in the works.
Today, the company handles approximately 20,000 pieces of clothing a week, cleaning all types of garments and work clothes, including eco-friendly options, in their 65,000-square foot plant. A far cry from the original ’30s store front, but then the LaCarte boys know a lot about teamwork: All the boys were involved with high school athletics, and some went on to starts on the University of Pittsburgh’s offensive line and playing defense for Allegany College’s Division III national title team.
Although the brothers oversee the company and its locations in Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio, Jack, the 71-year old father, who started it all in 1986, still comes in every day. “He’s been the visionary of the business, and the boys work,” said John. “He comes in every day and is our biggest cheerleader.” That sentiment is echoed by the rest of the boys – Mike (CFO), Dan (president, dry cleaning), and Joe (president, uniform rental).
The brothers’ bond is essential to their success, says Joe. “The commitment we have is to each other. We’re kind of a rock band.” Model Cleaners continues to maintain its strong family tradition while expanding the company. Keeping up with technology, they recently started using radio frequency identification to track each garment through the Charleroi plant.
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