Eighty years from its inception and Comet Cleaners Franchise Group is still going strong in 2011 despite these challenging economic times. “We’ve been in business a long time and our business has survived much more trying times than these,” said the company’s President and CEO, Jack Godfrey, Jr., in a recent interview with BusinessOpportunity.com. “Eight decades in this industry going back to my grandfather, hundreds of facilities later, and we are still showing our owners how they can make a great living. In fact, the dry cleaning business is one of the most solid ones out there,” Godfrey asserts, “even when times are tough.”
Although on the face of it the dry cleaning and laundry industry may not seem glamorous, there’s very little argument that it can be lucrative. Consider this. Dry cleaning and laundry facilities in the U.S. today comprise a roughly $10 billion industry. And according to a report recently released by the nation’s largest publisher of industry research, IBIS World, demand for the industry’s services is expected to rise in the next five years.
“We are the second largest, oldest and only family-owned franchised dry cleaning business out there,” Godfrey says. “When we help a new owner open his or her shop, it’s as if we’re opening it for ourselves. They become part of our family.” It’s for precisely this reason that so many of the company’s franchisees have been so incredibly successful throughout the years. In fact, Godfrey claims that out of the hundreds of facilities they’ve opened since the company began in the 1920s, only three or four have ever gone under due to business failure. “And those were entirely people failures, not location failures,” he adds.
So what’s the secret to Comet Cleaners’ ongoing profitability and overall success? Godfrey points to a number of key factors. “First, we know how to run a high volume of clothing through a very small space to maximize the sales per square foot and keep the workflow moving. Second, we know how to adapt to changing market forces and guide our franchisees in how to actively manage their way through any circumstance. In fact, we’re experts at it! And lastly,” he says, “our core values keep our brand strong and our facilities unified.”
Chief among those values are customer satisfaction, cleanliness, integrity and quality. Comet Cleaners’ facilities never compromise quality or service to cut costs. They don’t have to. “One of the truly beautiful things about this business,” Godfrey says, “is that it’s entirely labor intensive. You always have the staffing flexibility to manage any change in marketplace demand.” He goes on to describe how decades of experience in the dry cleaning business’ school of hard knocks means Comet Cleaners has the tools in place to manage productivity that others do not. “We really do have this down to a science,” he says. “Listen and execute. It’s that simple!”
As more and more people today are exploring the idea of self-employment for a host of reasons, Comet Cleaners offers a very solid and proven small business ownership option. “We teach people how to be true entrepreneurs, how to take control of their own destiny,” Godfrey says. “As a Comet Cleaners owner-operator, if you’ll just go to work each and every day with a servant’s heart and a mindset that puts your customer first, there’s a great chance that you’ll never have to worry about the financial end in this business.” And those are encouraging words from one ambitious entrepreneur to another.