Only In Louisville:
Let’s start with Project Runway. Fashion designer, Elisa Jimenez, was an eccentric contestant on season four of the hit reality TV series and caused quite a stir with her “spit” markings on the fabric. Consensus on the show was that Jimenez’s practice of measuring was not unique but rather gross. When asked about her technique by Entertainment Weekly.com, Jimenez replied, “Has anyone done research on what dry cleaning does? If you want to get into a big stink, let’s talk about that.” So, let’s talk about it with Anne Nash, president of Highland Cleaners, a Louisville local business since 1944.
“It’s a fact that the man-made substances used by most dry cleaning services,” says Anne, “is not only harmful to the environment but to employees who work with the substance on a daily basis and also to the consumers who trust us with their clothes."
Highland Cleaners opened its doors in 1944 using natural solvents but by the time Anne’s father, Robert Jones, bought the business in 1952, the toxic, man-made solvents were already on the market. “Dad stuck with the natural solvents which have now been proven to be better for the environment, for people and, as it turns out, even for your clothes,” Anne says with pride and adds that the natural solvents are simply more gentle on the clothes and won’t degrade them over time or worse, damage them.
Customers must agree with Highland’s philosophy because Anne can now boast that there are 12 Highland Cleaners in the Louisville area with the newest location on Bardstown Road at Edgeland. But this new opening doesn’t just mark further success for the locally owned business, the new building is actually LEED certified and takes the Highland Cleaners environmental commitment to a whole new level.
“We’ve done a major push in the company,” says Anne, “and have changed all of our lighting to environment-friendly lighting, we are recycling all hangers and the biodegradable plastic we are using contains a pellet that will completely breakdown between nine months and five years.” Most plastics take about 90 years to breakdown in a landfill.
All of this would make anyone – even Elisa Jimenez – rethink dry cleaning as a practice. Most impressive, however, is that Highland Cleaners isn’t abiding by regulation. All of their progressive business practices are simply a result of initiative and Anne says that she is very aware that her business is part of a community.
“Louisville is a great city with a lot to offer culturally,” she says, “but by making businesses progressive and innovative, we can begin attracting people right out of college who may want to make Louisville their home. We have to make Louisville an attractive place for the future. This will be the key to the city’s growth,” Anne adds, “which will expand our population and be good for all local business.”