Sunday, November 14, 2010

Starched and Pressed for Success


Many people are in their careers as a result of actively pursuing them. Others are born into them, and others just happen to be at the right place at the right time. But Verly Langlinais started her career in 1989 at Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaing because her husband went on an errand.

“Noicy brought his suit to be cleaned and came back home and said he was buying a business,” says Mrs. Langlinais. “At the time, he didn’t even know how to turn on a washing machine.”

Mr. and Mrs. Langlinais’ son, Tracy Langlinais, joined Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning and the three of them learned about the laundry industry from employees and chemical vendors. They also took classes and joined a dry cleaning association.

“The people who taught us the most were our competitors,” says Tracy Langlinais. “We’re a close knit industry and help each other out when we can.”

Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning, located in Abbeville, launders, dry cleans, folds, steams, starches and presses clothing and other fabric products like drapes, curtains, sheets, comforters and rugs. Other services include alterations, shoe repair (Repaired by Musso’s in Lafayette) and heirlooming wedding dresses, a process that involves sealing the product in an acid free box to prevent fabric from yellowing.

“The best part of this business is meeting and talking to the customers,” says Mrs. Langlinais. “Some of them have been coming here since we opened for business. I know their names, family and even their clothes.”

Some of Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning’s large volume customers include doctor’s clinics, and boating and offshore companies. According to Tracy Langlinais, one of the most interesting jobs was cleaning industrial laundry infested with bugs. The employees had to wear mask, gloves and protective clothing during the cleaning process.

“Our most memorable experience was a fire that burnt the business down to the ground in 1992,” says Mr. Langlinais. “We reopened because we felt we couldn’t let our customers down. They cried with us and then helped us rebuild. One of them even gave us a stuffed Dalmatian to protect us from any future fires.”

Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning offers a fifty percent discount to police officers and fire personnel on their uniforms. Everyone can save five percent if they prepay, ten percent by picking up clothes on Tuesday or Thursday, and for the month of November, receive a twenty percent discount on all cleaning of sweaters and heavy coats. Limit one special per visit.

“We really try to make it affordable for the community,” says Mrs. Langlinais. “They’ve supported us all of these years, and we want to give back a little of what we received.”

Mrs. Langlinais was with a customer when I entered Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning, but a sensor doorbell announced my arrival. She acknowledged me immediately and assured me that she’d assist me momentarily.

“The person who works the front counter is who makes or breaks your business,” said Mr. Langlinais. “They have to be able to please the customers. They can’t say, “no,” unless it’s, “no problem.”

Mr. Langlinais and his mother gave me a tour of the back of the building where all of the laundry is cleaned. I learned that there are different irons for laundered and dry cleaned items, and that a dry cleaning machine is very similar to a washing machine except that it uses chemicals instead of water, and also dries the fabric.

“One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing laundry is putting something stained into a dryer,” says Mr. Langlinais. “This sets the stain and ruins the fabric. It’s okay to hang dry it if you’re not sure if the stain is completely out.”

The Langlinais let me help do the laundry by feeding a sheet (with the assistance of employee, Mary Zeller) into a flat work ironer. It was a large machine that pulled wrinkled fabric into one end and produced a pressed product at the other.

Some careers are attained by pursuit, coincidence or when your husband goes out to get his suit cleaned. But as I learned at Acadiana Cleaners and Dry Cleaning, in order to be successful in any career, there are consistent practices that must be followed; believe in yourself, build relationships in the industry, give back to the community and always greet customers just as soon as the sensor doorbell announces their arrival.

Acadiana Laundry and Dry Cleaning is located at 213 Donald Frederick Boulevard. For more information on their services, call 337-893-2472. Tracy Langlinais is also the owner of Langlinais Computer Systems which specializes in virus removal and system restoration. For more info call 337-422-4801 or visit

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