Personalized customer service, utmost attention to stain-removal, calibrated treatments using wet and dry cleaning, superior ironing quality. This is how Roberto and his wife Vittoriana manage the shop they inherited from his parents. With meticulous craftsmanship
Stains, the perennial, obstinate enemies of clean. Not all people and – even less – all machines, have the winning formula when it comes to stains.
Without wandering too far off topic, even the detectives in those American TV programs like CSI work day and night to find them, analyze them and catalog them, when all it takes is a trip to the cleaners to find out everything you want to know about the inherent features, history, and similarity of one stain to another. And, above all, to identify the weaknesses that will lead to their destruction (exactly the opposite of the conservative aims of a team of scientific investigators).
Naturally, it takes a certain kind of cleaners. Where, first and foremost, the incomparable added value is ‘experience’. Informed memory. And therefore, the human component. Fully capable of meeting these requirements is Pastore Cleaners which, located near the Padua hospital, for more than half a century has been flawlessly removing the stains from the wardrobes and fabrics of its (affectionately loyal) customers, considering their gratitude for such competent and treasured artisans.
As he begins to describe his shop, the current owner, Roberto Pastore, immediately paints a picture consistent with the remarks made above. “Talking about stains, and soil in general, comes quite naturally to me. Indeed, I was born at the same time this shop was established – he continues – that is, in 1964, a fateful event for my mother, Maria Bellucco who, at the same time I came into the world, had just opened this business, with the help of my father, Benito. So, ever since I was a child, this has been my environment; I saw how my parents won the trust of their customers and then it was my turn to follow in their footsteps”.
A successful “imprinting”. Thanks to which the story of the shop continues to this day. Managing it are Roberto, and his wife, Vittoriana. From one couple to another. “The most basic lesson I learned watching my mother and father at work every day – explains Pastore – has to do with the war on soil. Which, in a good many cases, and certainly in the most delicate ones, we artisans eliminate by using specific skills, and based on very strict ethical rules with regard to our customers. As soon as they bring in a garment, they should not be misled, but made aware of the situation and how we think it can be resolved. We start with an initial, thorough check, a sort of diagnosis that takes place in front of the customer. A similar review will be made at the time the item is picked up, in order to check the results together, prior to payment for services”.
As expected, at this point the conversation delves into one of the most critical problem areas for artisan cleaners still active in the business. “I know – confesses Pastore – that the reason they all come back to my shop is trust. Here, they place their garments in the hands of someone who knows how to identify the kind of stain, knows how to choose the proper technique, and stays constantly updated on the new fabrics and materials used in clothing. You tell me in what kind of automatic dry-cleaners they will find the answer to removing the soil that has crept into the trim on a fur coat, or that has damaged a polyurethane jacket?”.
A question that, aside from just imagining what the answer might be, leads to the next point: “Of course, it’s clear that in a shop like this, we strive to maintain rates consistent with the quality guaranteed to our customers, as well as with the delivery times and our working methods. We don’t conceal the fact that excessive use of water erodes the integrity and the luster of a coat. It is important to weigh the types of treatment. The same as it is easy to remind the customer of the difficulties of eliminating blood or red wine residue, which must be meticulously spot cleaned before cleaning. All things considered, it is right and reasonable that, for this kind of quality, you will spend more here than at a self-service cleaners”.
“Of course, the times have totally changed – concludes this craftsman who, in terms of passion and skills, bears a certain resemblance to a “macchiaiolo” painter of other times. – Today, the average customer spends proportionately less on clothing than their parents and grandparents did so, when they come to the cleaners, psychologically they tend to resist spending more than a certain amount to clean a garment for which they paid 50, and not 200, Euros. The transparency of our service, one more good reason to have the discussion, and a final, revealing analysis — the priceless pleasure of a professional job performed beautifully”.
Ensured by those who, fifty years after the opening of the family store, today are serving the grandchildren of their first customers. Including the sought-after ironing services provided for years by the highly-skilled Sonia. The signature of a mission handed down for generations.
Detergo Magazine December 2015
by Stefano Ferrio