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Readers' Choice: Experience keeps NuTone Cleaners humming

Readers' Choice: Experience keeps NuTone Cleaners humming

From the H.O.T. Readers' Choice Awards 2021 series
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NuTone owners

Raymond and Kerrie Farrell say their experienced employees provide customers with the best possible service at NuTone Cleaners. Photo by Ken Sury.

NuTone Cleaners owners Raymond and Kerrie Farrell say it’s an experienced staff that makes their drycleaning business stand out in Waco.

“We have been truly blessed to have such an incredible staff having decades of experience and tenure with us,” says Raymond Farrell. NuTone Cleaners has locations in Waco, Woodway, Hewitt and Robinson.

“We love servicing the Central Texas community and being the go-to cleaners for all their laundry and drycleaning needs,” he said. “We pride ourselves on great customer service and quality cleaning. We take pride in removing difficult stains and restoring items that most cleaners don’t have the expertise to do.

“It makes us really happy to see a customer’s reaction when we restore a family heirloom such as a grandmother’s wedding gown or a World War II military uniform.”

Raymond met his wife Kerrie on a cruise. He then moved to Waco in 1987 and went to work for Vogue Cleaners.

“I learned the business from many great people at Vogue cleaners and became their GM (general manager),” he said.

In 2001, they jumped on the opportunity to purchase NuTone Cleaners, a well-established quality drycleaner that was started in the 1960s. NuTone expanded to five locations, though one was closed due to the COVID pandemic.

NuTone Cleaners joined a national franchise in 2005 known as CRDN (Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network). Kerrie manages CRDN, which services insurance claims for homeowners with losses due to flood, fire and other disasters.

Like other small businesses today, NuTone faces challenges with supply shortages, increases in all the costs of doing business, and staffing.

“The pandemic took its toll on the drycleaning industry,” he said. March of 2020 national industry sales were cut by more than half overnight and the work-from-home trend negatively impacted the business.

But they are seeing a slow steady recovery as the state returns to some normalcy with weddings, sporting events and public gatherings.

“We are almost back to pre-pandemic sales and we are trying to adjust to the increased costs and challenges of doing business today. Everyone is trying to adjust to a new normal way of business.”

Adjusting to that “new normal” is made easier with the experienced NuTone staff, which has more than 425 years’ combined experience.

“Edward Zamora, our production manager, started with me in 1988 and does an incredible job keeping everything running seamlessly,” Raymond said.

Other longtime employees are Rita Moore, with more than 40 years of customer service with NuTone; Linda Smith, fine pressing/finishing and over 40 years’ experience with NuTone; Leonard Bradbury, CRDN operations manager , over 25 years’ experience; and Eric Dulock, general manager, with over 25 years’ experience in the industry.

“Our entire staff is amazing,” he added. “It is fun working with everyone and seeing how they all work together to overcome the daily challenges with great communication.”

NuTone Cleaners has also invested time in training and technology, such as bar code tracking of items, automated assembly for order accuracy, and state-of-the-art computer systems, cleaning and pressing equipment.

Raymond has earned the industry’s highest certifications from DLI (Drycleaning & Laundry Institute) as a certified garment care professional. He also teaches continuing education classes on textile restoration.

NuTone Cleaners offers free pick-up and delivery service to most of Waco and surrounding areas. This service can be set up through its website (nutonecleaners.com) mobile app or by phone call. 

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