Friday, December 4, 2009

Perfect Cleaners Goes West

Flint Expatriate Grady Forrer lives in Washington, D.C. but manages to find reminders of the Vehicle City when he least expects it.

I was born in Flint wanted to pass along my own little ex-pat story of Flintites scattered to the four winds.

I was in L.A. not too long ago for my brother in-law’s wedding. I needed to get my tux pressed and the hotel sent me to a dry cleaner down on Pico near Westwood. The place was called “Perfect Cleaners” – I didn't give it much thought as it didn't strike me as a terribly unique name for a dry cleaning establishment, but I did remembering that there was a Perfect Cleaners in downtown Grand Blanc on Saginaw street (it had been Falk’s drug store when I was a little kid).

Anyway, as I was waiting in line to hand my tux over, I noticed that the store had pictures on the wall of the Perfect Cleaner’s shop in Grand Blanc, Fenton and in Flint on Fenton Road (I believe). Turns out this Perfect Cleaners was owned by the son of the owner of the Flint area cleaners and had moved the store out to LA when his dad retired from the business.

I’ve not been back to Grand Blanc in 20 years so I don’t know if there is a Perfect Cleaners still at that location or any cleaners at all. However, it was strange being completely across the country looking at old black and white photos from Grand Blanc and Fenton. Needless to say, the guy behind the desk was amazed that I knew exactly what the pictures were of and where they were taken. I suspect I was the first one to ever ask or recognize that store's parentage.


  1. Yep, that place is still there, or at least a perfect cleaners is still there in downtown. The building isn't brick though so I am not sure if its the same building or not. The perfect cleaners Im thinking of is across the street of where Hamady Bros supermarket was( building now houses a pet store). Its at South Saginaw and High street.

  2. Sweet story. I love those kinds of surprises. And Pico Blvd., of all places. It's like Dort Hwy times about a hundred.

  3. Perfect Cleaners and Nifty Cleaners both sponsored sports teams. I wonder if this guy saw any of the old trophies from the fifties.

  4. I worked there for a couple of weeks right after high school. Mostly I worked for the son, now owner as a "spotter". Spot the stain, take a guess what it might be and try not to ruin too many cloths.

    Apparenty ,I replaced some old guy who kept a bottle of his own chemicals behind the chemicals used for spotting. In my opinion, that's the best way to be a spotter.

    Anyway, I went in one morning and man did I get a cheap-headache-huffer buzz. Dry cleaning solvent leak, I guess. I've always enjoyed quitting a job on the spot. It's reminds me of the Blues Brothers. YOU BETTER THINK! THINK ABOUT WHAT"CHA DOIN' TO ME. Kinda like I'm on a mission from God...

    Very nice family oriented people to work for though. Best of luck. Hope they wear as much silk as the people in Grand Blanc, (pronounced Grand Blonk).

  5. The Perfect Cleaners on Saginaw in Grand Blanc is the one I'm talking about. Thy clad the building in wood sometime in the early 70s if I recall correctly. There was a little drug store at that site called Falk's Drugs, I think. Perfect bought the property and re-habbed the building.

    Are there any more Hamady Bros. stores, or are they all gone now?

    Without that Hamady store, that Grand Blanc mall is likely a very sad little mall now. When I was a kid, we'd always go to the Barber to the left of the Hamady store (I think it is where the Baskin Robbins was) for our 1960's buzz cut (before long hair).

    -- Grady Forrer

  6. What I found amazing was moving here to Arkansas from the Flint area (Tyson's was hiring, nobody in Flint was - easy choice to move). The nearest "big city" to me now is a 90-minute drive to Fayetteville, and there's a Schlotzky's Deli there! Used to love that place in Flint, and as long as I'm willing to drive a ways, or my daughter and I are making a pilgrimage to Fayetteville anyhow, I can still have my Schlotzky's!


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