Dry cleaning was a service I associated with staying in a hotel. I never thought twice about slipping my suits, dresses, and jackets into the plastic laundry bag and then find them nicely pressed and hung a few days later in the closet. Where do you find a dry cleaner if you don’t stay in a hotel?
Since arriving last Thanksgiving Day, I have been subconsciously looking out for dry cleaners. I found two in Kahului on google. The lady who answered my call deferred to the new manager Mimi who encouraged me to visit and see which of the many categories I’d qualify for a discount. The other one on Dairy Road gave the prices matter-of-factly and mentioned discount coupons in the phone book. Because the latter was not open on Saturdays and did not seem as flexible, I decided to visit the first one.
Valley Isle Dry Cleaning on 180 E. Wakea in Kahului is wedged between Midas Brake Shop and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The owner greeted me with a gentle smile. I introduced myself as the person who had called about dry cleaning a long black, sleeveless silk dress bought in Paris and a 100% cotton green Laura Ashley dress bought in London. I had worn these dresses in concerts, and a dry clean was long overdue.
Mimi, the new owner, explained that organic dry cleaning referred to using products not damaging to the environment. The previous owner was just getting this underway.
Four months ago when she first took over the business, she offered 30% grand opening discounts. Since then there are discounts at 10 and 20%. I managed to get the latter for the two dresses.
I asked Mimi if it was okay to leave the dry-cleaned clothes in the closet over the summer period. She confirmed and also advised that dry cleaning should be done sooner rather than later otherwise the sweat will wear out the clothes.
I wish I had looked harder for a dry cleaner shortly after I had arrived on the island. I would have obtained the 30% grand opening discount AND my dresses would be in better shape (cleaned earlier rather than later).
As for prices, a dress cost $11.50. Add another dollar for silk. I asked why I had to pay upfront when they’ve got my clothes, the manager replied that it’s been a practice for the past 10 years as customers tend to leave the island without paying.
Pick up: Saturday after 2 pm.