Clean and green: a Manchester success story
Jim Harrington of A & A Dry Cleaners loads his new, environmentally friendly dry-cleaning machine at their Manchester shop. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Jim and Marcia Harrington of A & A Dry Cleaners have a new environmentaly friendly dry-cleaning machine at their Manchester shop. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
Instead, the destruction ended being a breakthrough for the second-generation dry cleaners — enabling the Harringtons to convert to an organic dry cleaner, possibly becoming the first in Manchester to do all its "green cleaning" on premises rather than ship clothes to Massachusetts.
Bennett, who apparently suffered a medical condition, lodged her car in the dry cleaning machine against the back wall. Thankfully, the solvent holding tanks hadn't ruptured. But the machine — a capital investment that costs $60,000 and up — is the heart of the business.
The Harringtons turned the loss into their opportunity to meet a looming federal guideline that requires small dry cleaners in residential buildings to convert to machines that use organic solvents by 2020.
Two years ago, the EPA posted its final health assessment on perc characterizing it as a "likely human carcinogen." The EPA said it does not believe wearing dry-cleaned clothes will result in exposure levels which pose a risk of concern. But it has taken steps to reduce exposure through clean air standards and the phase-out of machines that use perc.
"We didn't want to close down because we didn't want our customers to go elsewhere. We didn't know how long it would take," Marcia Harrington said.
"I'm a big advocate of helping the environment in any way that we can. If every dry cleaner used green solvents, that would be wonderful. It's safer for people. It's safer for the environment. And it's better for the world," she added.
Marcia and James Harrington took over the business that Marcia's parents, Ace and the late Alice Mavrogeorge, started in 1967 as a One Hour Martinizing franchise in what is now East Side Plaza. Her parents ran the franchise for 13 years before they bought the 1019 Hanover St. lot and built the store that would become A & A Dry Cleaners.
"I brought him into the store in his wheelchair so he could see all the new things," she said.
- What do you plan to do with money saved on oil and gas this year?
- Spend it
- Bank it
- Pay off debt
- Total Votes: 716
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