Zebra Cleaners transformed my wedding dress into something stunning

On a whim, I bought a blue wedding dress made in the 1950s from a thrift store. The dress was a little too small and would not zip fully up the back. The owner of the thrift store said that I wouldn’t be able to find someone to alter it, but wished me luck. I was determined and knew I could find someone to let the fabric out around the zipper so it would fit. How hard could that be? A friend of a friend recommended Zebra Cleaners. She said that they could clean any fabric and had experience working with older garments. When I arrived at Zebra Cleaners the owner, Rutu, was not there. However, he told me that he would meet me in 10 minutes at the store. Even though I said I did not mind coming back a different day. But he insisted. Already I experienced exceptional service.

I tried the dress on for Rutu and not only did the dress not fit, I felt that it was not flattering in the least. It was made for a specific person and in a different period of fashion. It extenuated my hips, it did not fit in the shoulders and the fabric was cut all the way to the zipper. This left him unable to let fabric out. I felt defeated. Rutu studied the dress and came up with a brilliant idea on how to fix the back. By making the length and hem shorter there was fabric to make a panel and piping to lace up the back and taking the zipper completely out. Every two weeks I would come to Zebra Cleaners to try on the dress. I probably did this at least 6 times. Rutu and the seamstress would spend at least thirty minutes pinning and coming up with different ideas to complete the dress. I felt that Rutu was excited about the project and genuinely cared for how I would look for my wedding day. He talked at length with me about what shoe color, jewelry, hair style, and makeup that would look nice with my dress. All my doubts about the dress ceased once he got a hold of it and transformed it into a custom dress for me. After the altering was finished the dress was carefully cleaned and ready for me to wear on my wedding day.

I could not be more pleased with Rutu and his staff. He transformed my dress into something stunning and we formed a friendship on the way. It is a work of art and it exceeded my expectations. Every girl wants to feel special on their wedding day. Zebra Cleaners made me feel that way in my one of a kind dress.

Giving Back to Community

Beyond the Business

At Zebra Cleaners, we believe that giving back to the community is of utmost importance. Each year, senior students from Lexington Technology Center are able to apply for the scholarship by submitting an essay written about the importance of nature. A team of judges collaborates to pick the best-written essay, then the scholarship is awarded at the LTC graduation ceremony. We strive to encourage students in our community to achieve education and set outstanding goals for themselves in order to become the best they can be.

Voted #1 by Lexington Patch

Voted Best Dry Cleaners in Lexington, SC

Lexington Patch readers have spoken. For dry cleaning locally, Zebra Cleaners is the clear favorite.

The operation, with two locations in Lexington (one on Augusta Highway, the other on West Main Street) and one in Irmo, garnered 64 percent of the vote. “We’re very happy, very excited,” manager Neel Patil said.

There was plenty of love for second-place Lexington Dry Cleaning, which has numerous locations throughout the area and managed 35 percent of the vote. Notably, the two cleaners were the only ones in our poll to score any votes among the 17 cast. Lexington Dry Cleaning won top honors, however, among readers of Irmo Patch, our sister site.

Zebra not only received the most votes, but garnered the most effusive comments from Patch readers. “Zebra Cleaners on Augusta Highway. I love the ladies that work there. They are wonderful people and do a great job for a reasonable price,” commenter “Tania” wrote. “The best cleaning I have seen in last 13 years in Lexington.Have been to 3 cleaners in last 14 years but the hospitality and service I got in zebra cleaners [I] did not get anywhere else…” added commenter “VJ.”

Zebra Cleaners has been serving the Lexington community since 1996, said Patil, who recently moved from New York City to help in the family business.

It offers services including dry cleaning, alterations and shoe repair. Free pick-up and delivery are available, as well as drive-through services. Experts in spot removal, Zebra Cleaners is a one-stop shop for everything related to clothes cleaning, according to Patil.

Wedding Gowns

Why Zebra Dry Cleaners for Wedding Gowns Cleaning and Preservation?

• Wedding gowns are delicate. The beautiful laces, beading fabrics and trims require special care by a skilled and professional cleaner. We have years of experience, knowledge, and awareness in the cleaning of your bridal gown. We are dedicated to cleaning and preserving your precious bridal gown, entrusted to us, with the utmost care.

• Your satisfaction is guaranteed at Wedding Gown Care Specialists. With proper care and storage, your cherished Bridal Gown will remain beautiful for years. Our exclusive service includes professional cleaning and preservation in a special acid-free MuseumCare™ preservation chest.

• We carefully inspect and prepare your bridal gown before cleaning. We check for spots, age, wear areas, any and all needed repairs; loose buttons or beads, open seams, tears, damaged zippers, etc., anything that should be fixed. Beads and other trims are tested for “clean-ability”.

• Some things should be done before cleaning, like removing or reinforcing & covering buttons, so they don’t become damaged during cleaning. Your gown is then professionally hand spotted and gently cleaned alone in crystal-clear solution for a brief period. It’s checked again, and if necessary, it’s post spotted, then skillfully hand finished. Any other finishing touches, like re-sewing buttons or trims, more repairs, etc., are done at this time. We then perform another complete inspection of your gown to insure that it is in perfect shape and ready for long-term storage.

• Full service on in depth alterations.

Sweet of the Week

Like many true individuals, this issue’s “Sweet of the Week” pretty much goes by one name.

best dry cleaners award“We nominate Rutu,” says Jennifer Pryor at White House Florist, last week’s Sweet. Rutu is Rutu Bhonsle, the India-born entrepreneur who owns and operates Zebra Cleaners with his El Salvadoran wife, Nicole. Besides European-style dry cleaning, Zebra provides alterations, as well as wedding gown preservation and cleaning. “You won’t find a more cheerful, outgoing fella in Lexington,” Jennifer promises. She and her family have been taking their dry cleaning to Zebra since 1998, when the Bhonsles opened for business near the U.S. Post Office on Augusta Highway. In 2001, Rutu and Nicole opened a second Zebra Cleaners near Lexington High School; in 2010, they opened their third in Irmo (Peak Exit).

By this summer, they’ll be working in their new downtown Lexington location, next to Pine Press Printing, in the former Miriam’s Petites & Missy Fashions building. Zebra Cleaners (www.zebracleaners.com) just started offering free delivery service. Nicole and Rutu moved to Lexington from New York in 1993, following a visit here by train. After living in the big cities of Mumbai, New York and Leicester, near London, Rutu was captivated by the South Carolina countryside.

They had friends in the area, as well as a fellowship of Rutu’s church, the International Family Church. “We said, ‘Wow, this is something fantastic,’” Rutu remembers. When their plans to open a bistro didn’t come together, the Bhonsles decided to enter the dry cleaning business. Nicole worked for a friend’s dry cleaning service, and Rutu went to Europe to study dry cleaning methods there.

They chose the name “Zebra” for several reasons. One is that zebras are hard to train, just as Zebra Cleaners’ methods are hard to imitate, Rutu says. Rutu, 49, designs clothing, and plans to open a boutique. His designs will be seen in the Junior Woman’s Club of Lexington’s fashion show March 25. Meanwhile, at Zebra Cleaners, he and Nicole, 42, make a good team. “I handle the marketing and strategic planning,” he says. “Nicole, she’s the main brain.”

Read the article on LexingtonSC.org

Zebra Dry Cleaners Locations