Plant Design Awards — Grand Prize: Peerless Cleaners (Conclusion)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. –Naming his Peerless cleaners for a plant design award, co-owner Steve Grashoff wrote, “We offer just about anything you can think of.

Full service of dry cleaning, laundry, housewares, draperies, wedding dresses, leather, suede, linens, restoration work and even car rugs – whatever you want , Peerless cleans it up.

The company occupies five floors of a downtown building built in the early 1900s, constantly moving products up and down using a forklift or cart pulled by a cart golf has become a daily challenge to maintain productivity, according to Grashoff.

So, about two years ago, with Peerless’s lease expiring in September 2015, he set out to find a new location.

Today, after a total investment that Grashoff estimates at $ 1.4 million, the result is a 32,800 square foot, L-shaped, one-story factory that won the grand prize for best design from factory in American Dry cleaner 55th Annual Plant Design Awards.


After Peerless Cleaners bought the old tire distribution center and took possession of it in December 2014, Grashoff, armed with a full set of original blueprints, began to design the dry cleaning plant that he and his staff wanted. Meanwhile, work began to thoroughly clean the building of tire residue that had accumulated over the years.

Prior to getting involved in dry cleaning, Grashoff spent over 20 years in the grocery business. The last five have been spent on developing supermarkets and renovating and building new stores, he says. So he had a good idea of ​​what needed to be done to convert the old warehouse into a production facility.

“We had renovated our existing installation several times and were getting very good parts per hour of work in our core business. I really wanted to take what we were doing in our Main Street factory and fit it into the Hillegas [Road] factory to maintain this productivity and not confuse our employees by completely changing the ship.

Because of their familiarity with Peerless’ unique operations, Grashoff believed that he and his management staff were best qualified to determine the design of the plant. After recording the desired equipment layout and locations, he called in distributor Eagle Star Equipment to take measurements and refine the design.

Peerless repainted the entire interior, ceiling, walls and floors of the production area before moving into brand new equipment: a boiler, dry cleaning machines, washers, dryers and a conveyor system. .

Before any existing equipment was moved from the original factory, it was rebuilt and painted white for a “clean look”. The inspiration for the latter came from seeing photos of Wooven’s grand prize winning factory last year, Grashoff says.

Peerless began the transition to its new plant in July 2015 and was fully operational there by the third week of the month.

The main production equipment includes a 100hp Fulton boiler, two 90-pound Union K4 dry cleaning machines, 10 Continental Girbau washers, eight Continental dryers, a Metalprogetti assembly system with automatic bagger, four Sankosha liner units, a Railex garment conveyor and a variety of dry cleaning presses from Forenta, Unipress and Ajax.

Peerless uses Maineline Computer Systems’ Compassmax POS. Chemicals and packaging supplies are sourced from Tri Supply and Cleaner’s Supply.

What’s next for Peerless? “Volume,” says Grashoff.

“We want to be open to looking at new opportunities and new markets. … This building can handle a little more volume. We only operate five days a week, Monday through Friday. We know we could work longer and more days if we could find more business.

Did you miss part 1? You can read it HERE.

Leon E. Hill