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SonShine Dry Cleaners delivers more than quality dry cleaning

Let the SonShine in
Phoebe Roberson of SonShine Dry Cleaners in North Liberty, poses with her SonShine Saver bags. Though the reusable bags are available for customer use every day, the store offers 15 percent off when customers go green and use them on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. (photo by Jen Moore)

NORTH LIBERTY– For Phoebe Roberson, dry cleaning is about more than just caring for the clothes; it’s also about creating comfortable relationships.
She recalled a recent SonShine Dry Cleaners customer who struck up a conversation while dropping off a few items. Among other things, he mentioned that it was his wife’s birthday. When he returned for his order, Roberson remembered the familiar face and asked him how the birthday went.
“My goal is to know my customers and greet them with a warm, friendly, welcoming smile. I want to get to know their names.” Roberson said. “It’s more than just dropping off dry cleaning.”
Roberson and her husband, Aaron, opened SonShine Dry Cleaners last month after realizing the North Liberty community had few options for quick, quality dry cleaning. Though she had worked for Burke Cleaners in college and had knowledge of the industry, she never thought she’d own her own shop.
The process of becoming business owners began this past June and on Sept. 15, SonShine Dry Cleaners, located at 555 Highway 965, served its first customers.
Coming up with a name involved Roberson’s whole family. Her father had always called his daughter his “Sunshine” and felt this was the obvious choice. However, Roberson felt the business wasn’t just about her and wanted to include her family’s strong faith. So, the name was tweaked to SonShine to pay homage to their Christian faith.
Currently, Roberson is the only one involved in the day-to-day operations, feeling a strong foundation in customer service was necessary before bringing in any extra help. She thought this was key in making SonShine a firm part of the community.
“The biggest thing about dry cleaning, especially on the front lines, is it’s all about how you treat your customer,” Roberson said. “It’s about getting to know people and their lives.”
She also feels her background in dry cleaning has helped SonShine provide superior service to her customers. Though the cleaning is done off-site, Roberson knew exactly what excellent dry cleaning should look like. She took great care in deciding which plant her shop would partner with to uphold her high standards.
She visited several corridor dry cleaning facilities, learning about their methods and what materials each used. She wanted to find someone as committed to product quality as she was.
“My philosophy is, (grocery stores) do a fabulous job of selling the groceries, but they don’t make them all,” Roberson said. “You have to find what you’re good at then partner with people who know what they’re good at in order to give what the customer wants, needs, and deserves. That is the foundation.”
Basic dry cleaning services are done at a plant in Cedar Rapids, which allows most garments to be cleaned in just 24 hours. For more extensive services, such as leather cleaning and bridal gown restoration, she uses a company in Minnesota. SonShine Dry Cleaners also offers alterations services that are done locally.
Eco-conscious customers will also enjoy the dry cleaner’s SonShine Saver. To reduce waste and leave a smaller foot print on the environment, SonShine offers customer’s 15 percent off every Tuesday and Wednesday morning if they use one of their reusable garment bags instead of the one-time use plastic bags.
“It just helps to go green and get rid of waste,” Roberson said.
Overall, Roberson is looking forward to being a part of the thriving North Liberty business scene and hopes to become more involved the community.
“We really like (North Liberty) and how it feels and we really just saw a need,” Roberson said. “We just started opening doors, peeking in… and here we are.”
SonShine Cleaners is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. until noon. More information about their services is available on the company’s website, sonshinedrycleaners.com.