on Broadway has been the place to drop off your dirty laundry and dry cleaning for many a year. Proprietor Sue Vinck told me that, when she bought the business 15 years ago, it was pretty tired.
“The place had gone through a number of owners,” said Vinck, and then added, “they had kind of let it go.” She explained that it had taken a lot work to the turn the dry cleaning business around. Vinck has been so successful that she bought the building—and opened a satellite location in Spring Valley four years ago.
The Lemon Grove location is the plant where all the work gets done. Longtime employee Carlos Barradas told me they dry clean, on average, 1,500 pounds of garments each week. They launder about 400 pounds of shirts and 300 pounds of other items every week. And you thought that pile in your closet was a mountain of laundry.
Palomar Cleaners, with its 10 employees, gets the job done with a flourish. On the day I visited, the place was humming with activity, both in the front and the back. At the counter, staff was handling the coming and outgoing of clothes with ease. Meanwhile, Alma Cortez was busy off to side, fixing a garment on her whirring sewing machine.
In the back area, it was more fine organization. There were rows of automated clothing racks, stretching nearly half the length of the narrow, 125-foot-long building. Beyond that was the enormous dry cleaning machine, which looked like something from the Starship Enterprise. Past that was the garment sorting area. Behind it was an employee lounge, where two wedding dresses hung from a pole in all their matrimonial glory.
Palomar Cleaners offers professional, full-service laundry and dry cleaning with great service. Bring in your American flag, and they will return it to its glory at no charge.
I wanted to find out a little more history about the place, so I contacted Helen Ofield of the with the question. She knows everything about the Grove and, on very short notice, was able to provide some background information. Ofield explained that the business was originally named Dutch Cleaners.
She also phoned Jack Durham, now 86, who moved to the Grove at age 8 and currently lives in El Cajon. Durham said that Dutch Cleaners dates back to the early 1950s. Ofield told me it was originally owned by a Mr. Vandenberg, which could explain why it was called Dutch Cleaners.
is located at 7870 Broadway, between Grove Street and Lemon Grove Avenue. You can check out their website specials, like them on their Facebook page, or call them at 619-466-4145. The store hours are Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.