Photos by J. Leonard Photography
If you can wear it, Camelot can clean it
Clothing has changed dramatically over the years, with business casual replacing traditional suits, ties, and shift dresses. With that change has come more embellishment—beading, leather trim, and new fabrics—all of which can pose problems when trying to wash them at home. Having a quality, reliable dry cleaner is actually more important than ever, and Craig Courtney, President of Camelot Cleaners, said they can provide the expertise, customer service, and value it requires.
Camelot is celebrating its 31st year in business this month. The company was started by Craig’s father, who ran Stepanek dry cleaners in Omaha for 20 years until he decided to venture out on his own. “My dad saw the shortcomings that can occur when you’re a big business,” Craig said. “He didn’t want to be the biggest in town, he wanted to be the best, so he put his effort into having very high quality with just a handful of stores.”
Craig worked for his dad during high school then returned after college to help run the business. Now he oversees all six locations throughout Omaha, and his father, who is 81-years-old, still comes into work every day. Other family members also work in various parts of the business, which Craig said makes a difference. “Dry cleaning is all about the details, and those are taken care of when you have dedicated, long-term employees and family members working there,” he said. “Everyone is vested in the business and has an interest in making sure everything that goes out the door reflects them personally.”
Dry cleaning is a business based on experience, Craig explained they have to be able to recognize challenges and know when to recommend a different method if needed. “Every garment is unique, and care labels aren’t always correct, so we test anything we might have a question on and then consult the customer right away,” he said. “Different methods of cleaning are required for different items.”
For example, all household goods are typically laundered, which uses traditional water and detergent, including bedding, tablecloths, blankets, and quilts. Dry cleaning does get clothing wet, but uses a solvent instead of water. Craig said they were one of the first dry cleaners in the country to introduce an organic solvent with high cleaning performance. They also use top of the line spotting agents, detergents, and equipment.
Camelot is a full-service cleaner with an “if you can wear it, we can clean it” policy. This includes wedding gowns, formal dresses, leather and suede, especially Ugg boots. They also offer same-day service. If clothes are dropped off by 9 a.m. they can be picked up the same day after 4 p.m. Also, two of their locations have drive-thru service with car hops who bring your items to your car — one on 132nd and Dodge and another off of 84th and Frederick.
“All of our stores are higher quality than the industry norm,” Craig said. “We have two locations that have plants, where the work is done, and each plant serves three stores. A truck picks up from each store every morning and delivers again every afternoon.” Whether it’s expensive items or more casual clothing, Craig said they treat every piece with the same attention to detail. “People should look sharp if they’re wearing a suit or a pair of khaki pants.”
Craig said they run their business the way they’d want to be treated as customers, which is something his father instilled in him when he started the business. “We treat our customers fairly, honestly, and give them a great product for a price they’re comfortable with,” he said. “We also try to be consistent with our quality at all of our locations. When you pick up your clothes from us, you know they will look great.”