Klinke Cleaners’ dependable service and lasting commitment to the trade hasn’t gone unnoticed. In the last 30 years, they have won a gold medal in Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison category 29 times. However, before founders Maurice and Trudy Klinke had ever conceived of opening a cleaners, they were the proud owners of Klinke Hatchery, which raised more than 125,000 baby chicks a week. Perhaps the smell given off by thousands of chickens inspired them to seek a less malodorous occupation, because in 1958, they opened the first location of Klinke Cleaners.
In its early days, Klinke Cleaners used Econ-O-Crest dry-cleaning machines—early forerunners of modern dry-cleaning machines—but as the business grew, so did its thirst for new technologies. Soon, the company was installing new equipment nearly as quickly as it could be created, including shirt-finishing stands, drapery-pleating machines, and pants leggers, used to set precise creases in slacks. In 2000, the Klinke family began to consider expansion beyond Madison, leading to a rapid period of growth that culminated in 21 locations across southern Wisconsin and one experimental site at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Its EarthSmart Systems dry-cleaning process uses solvents and machines that are less damaging to the environment, as well as reusable garment bags and hangars to help decrease landfill waste. Most locations also offer a speedy turnaround with drive-thru windows and same-day pickup.