The Valley Breeze
Hometown Business Guide
June 21, 2007
Luxury Cleaners is entering its third generation of family owned professionalism, 60 gleaming years under founder Albert Lombardi, his son North Providence Mayor Charles “Charlie” Lombardi, and now his grandson Charles “Chucky” Lombardi Jr.
Albert Lombardi is the first in this line of business to make the business flourish, while gaining the respect of every customer who comes through the door.
“We started this business off small 60 years ago,” said Albert Lombardi, who still works part time in running Luxury Cleaners. “We grew from a little store to this plant in 1956.” He founded the store with his wife Virginia. Both are 87 years old.
“Said Charles Sr., “My father is 87-years-old and you can ask anyone in this business, my dad is the best at what he does. He got an award two years ago from one of the biggest dry cleaning soaps suppliers in the country, because we’re one of their oldest users in New England.”
That company is Street’s Chemical Company, and like many of Luxury Cleaner’s suppliers, has been supplying the Rhode Island business for decades.
“We also use Norton Supply Company in Providence, and we are their oldest user. They have been in business for 65 years,” said Charlie. “We have a good relationship with all of our suppliers. They know the way I am, if I’m paying you and I need a delivery this week, I need to get that delivery.”
Lombardi, nearly 61, said if a company is faithful to him, he is faithful right back, just like the relationship Luxury Cleaners has built with its customers.
“It has given me a new appreciation coming back to the business after working here before,” said Chuck Lombardi. “It’s really refreshing and has given me an idea of what’s going on here now.”
What’s going on is that Luxury Cleaners is still pleasing customers, some of whom have been faithfully coming for decades. “The last time we did a survey, 96 percent of our business was repeat customers,” said Charles Sr. “We are a dry cleaner offering professional shirt service, a shirt with a tie. We do all aspects of dry cleaning.” He said a 96 percent repeat customer rate is an astounding testament to customers’ faith in the Lombardi family. Charles Sr. ran Luxury Cleaners for 35 years prior to handing over the reins to his son after he recently won the mayor’s seat in North Providence.
Chuck Lombardi, 37, who has owned Cumberland Collision for nine years, said he is planning to keep updating a company that has always kept up with the technology curve during its 60 years, according to his father and grandfather.
“My sister Tarra is here two days a week, and has been instrumental in streamlining the office,” he said. “Between myself, the general manager Barbara Imondi, and Tarra, we are streamlining it even more, updating the technology again. The three of us are running things together.”
“It’s up to Chuck what level that he would like to take the store to,” said his father.
“We have the most modern plant around,” said Albert Lombardi, who still works part time at Luxury Cleaners. “We let customers write up their own tags and slips on the computers, and it’s very convenient. We have a very good system.”
Chuck Lombardi, said that he has thought about adding two locations to the four that the company already has, three drop locations, and the central plant at 610 Smithfield Road in Lincoln, but isn’t ready right now.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “Right now I just need to focus on maintaining the stores that we have.”
Drop locations are at 1526 Smith St. in North Providence, 1855 Mendon Road in Cumberland, and at 285 Washington Highway in Smithfield. The Luxury Cleaners plant in Lincoln has undergone two additions of its own in the past.
“Our vans are at those drop stores four times a day,” said Charlie. “If a customer drops something off at 10:15 in the morning, they will have it back by 3 p.m. That’s added a great deal to our success.”
Luxury Cleaners services formal dress apparel, household draperies, comforters and blankets, and all aspects of wedding gown restoration.
Charles Sr. said that Luxury Cleaners has built a reputation partially on the personalized touches that make customers realize how valued they are.
“If you bring a shirt to us for the first time as a new customer, we heat-seal your name down in the tail of the shirt,” he said. “We never jeopardize our quality for quantity.”
“We know most of our customers on first-name basis,” said Albert Lombardi.
When asked what one quality has kept Luxury Cleaners so consistent over the years, Charlie Lombardi was quick with an answer.
“I would have to say the absentee management that never occurred,” he said. “As long as I’ve been around and prior to me continuing the tradition, if you went to Luxury Cleaners at 5:30 in the morning, one of us would be there. We’ve never asked any of our employees to do anything that we couldn’t do, or that we were not willing to do ourselves.”
He said each generation of the Lombardi family are sticklers for professionalism, and perfectionists when it comes to the business.
Contact Luxury Cleaners, at 401-725-0636 or visit them at one of their four convenient locations.