Kolb’s Grand Cleaners in Fondren has a new home, just down the road from their long-time location.
The dry cleaners, which began in the early 1920’s, has moved from their iconic building at the corner of State Street and Mitchell Avenue to 2800 North State Street, the former CafÃ© OlÃ©, across from what was Que Sera Sera.
The transition was made to make way for The Fondren, a nine story hotel that will utilize Kolb’s former home, a 1950’s Robert Overstreet designed structure.
“We’re very excited about it,” said owner Ted Dinkins, who, along with Chris Creely, purchased Kolb’s in December 2015. “(Our new) facility is nice and easier to get in and out of.”
Clothing dropped off here or at one of Kolb’s two other locations, in Flowood or on Highway 51 North (both formerly Prestige Cleaners) is dry cleaned at their plant on Grants Ferry Road. That plant is soon to be outfitted with newly arrived equipment. Dinkins is elated. “Not only did we move locations, but we’re moving to the greenest technology for cleaners. We’re the first guys in central Mississippi to do away with hydrocarbon-based cleaning to move to more of a plant-based system.” Dinkins adds the “hazardous waste free” setup will allow cleaning of leather and wedding dress preservation. “This whole system – I’m thrilled about it.”
But the real excitement comes when Dinkins speaks of the people behind Kolb’s. Johnny Pate has been with them for 19 years. Maurice Washington (“known to be the best presser ever”) has been there 33 years. Loraine Butler has 31 years with Kolb’s, Essey Butler has five decades in and her daughter, Delores, 29. And then there’s “Miss Ann” Butler, who has been with Kolb’s for 54 years. “She’s iconic,” Dinkins stated. “Everybody knows Miss Ann and she knows everybody. When we purchased Kolb’s – if she had said she wasn’t going to stay, we wouldn’t have done it. She’s the anchor. All of our employees have taken so much pride and been part of Kolb’s as a family.”
With tried and true service and a commitment to the future, Dinkins said, “What we’re going to be is the oldest cleaners with the newest technology. That’s going to be hard to beat.”
Kolb’s Grand Cleaners in Fondren is open Monday – Friday, 7am to 6pm with next day pickup by 5pm and Saturday 8am – 2pm with Monday pickup by 5pm. An expanded pick up route is also in the works.