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Washington Voices

Dry cleaner offers ‘gentler’ service

Sat., Nov. 7, 2009

It would seem unlikely for someone with asthma and sensitive skin to be in the dry cleaning business, but Sonja Zimmerman has found a way.

Zimmerman has owned and operated Sonja’s Cleaner by Nature with her husband Frank for the past 12 years. The name reflects the Hayden, Idaho couple’s desire to offer dry cleaning options that are less volatile for the environment.

Now, they’ve expanded into Washington, opening a Spokane Valley location last January.

The Zimmermans opened their flagship store in the Prairie Shopping Center in Hayden after happening on an entrepreneur conference in Portland, where a company was selling turn-key set ups for dry cleaning operations that uses a hydrocarbon solvent.

“It’s still a petroleum solvent, but gentler on the environment and materials, and odorless,” says Sonja Zimmerman.

What they brought to the Inland Northwest was a Real Star hydrocarbon dry cleaning machine. The less volatile and odorless cleaner was newer to the industry and gave dry cleaners an alternative to the long-standing and widely used toxic perchlorethylene, or Perc,

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