The rich history of businesses in Coronado is still here today providing us with a new generation of families who own them and are dedicated to this community.
Crown Cleaners is one of those businesses. Looking back at the pictures from the 1970s the location is the same and the cleaners has modernized and changed with the times. Its current owner is Sang “Steve” Gi, who bought Crown two years ago after the previous owner retired. Gi was born in Korea and moved to Brazil with his family when he was 10 years old. He spent 15 years of his life in Brazil as a student, until his family decided to move to the U.S. in 1998 for better opportunities.
“I have lived in San Diego for over 20 years and I love Coronado,” said Gi. “When the old owner of the cleaners contacted my family, it was a great opportunity to own a well established business and be a part of this community”.
The last two years have been running smoothly for Crown Cleaners until, like all businesses, they were affected by the pandemic. “Everything changed in March of 2020. Our customers were not here every day and business dropped approximately 70 percent.”
Crown Cleaners has a lot of military and medical customers that need their clothes cleaned and they have been there throughout this pandemic. “We soon found out that we were considered an essential business so we actually never closed our doors,” said Gi. “We supply clothing to our customers that is essential to their work and belongs to them.”
When you visit Crown Cleaners to drop off your dry cleaning, it is obvious that this is a family owned business. The employees greet their customers with kindness and a smile letting them know they are happy to see them and make them feel part of that family.
“My biggest concern when COVID hit was being able to keep all my employees working,” said Gi. “They are like family to me and I wanted them to be able to stay with us. We did have to reduce our hours for a time but we are slowly catching back up”.
Crown has taken a great deal of care in making sure they are following all the regulations related to sanitizing their business and protecting their customers. Employees are required to wear masks at all times. They wear gloves while handling all clothing, there are plastic shields to protect you at the counter, and all surfaces are cleaned throughout the workday. “It has been proven that clothes do not pass on the virus after dry cleaning. None of our workers have been infected and we maintain a clean and safe environment”.
So many of us think long and hard about where we go and who we see each day. Maybe dropping off your dry cleaning is one of those things? You consider another person handling your clothing and then returning it to you. However, “when you have your clothes dry cleaned the steam kills the bacteria and germs on the material and returns to you completely sanitized,” this is a fact that I never considered, and like so many of us, I have opted for washing, spraying, sanitizing and scrubbing anything I wear in the privacy of my own home. I have always known how the process of dry cleaning works, but isn’t it funny how a pandemic and all the germ seeds planted in our brains has made us hesitate to continue to do some of the “normal” things.
“We realize that our customers are working at home more and therefore not wearing suits and ties, traveling or attending parties. I have not seen a wedding dress since the pandemic,” said Gi. “We usually clean so many suits, ties, and event wear, we just don’t see much of that anymore – people are much more casual now.”
Even though all those things have changed, we need to remember that Crown Cleaners also provides cleaning services for household items as well. “We can clean your larger items like duvet covers, curtains, bed linens, and even shoes”, said Gi. “During a time when families are at home more, these are things that also need to be cleaned and kept from gathering dust and germs.”
Crown Cleaners also has many of the restaurants bring in their napkins and aprons to be cleaned, although that has recently slowed down, too.
“This has been a difficult time for all businesses in Coronado, said Gi. “But there has been an incredible outpouring of support from the community. Some of our customers have donated fabric for masks, they ask about my family to make sure we are safe and healthy, and they maintain a great relationship with our employees. This touches me. It’s neighbors helping neighbors because this community is like family.”
We all hope that someday soon this crisis will end and we will be able to go about our everyday lives with less hand sanitizer in our bags and see everyone face-to -ace with a visible smile. Until then, Crown Cleaners is happy to provide free pickup and delivery on the island if you are more comfortable in your home. Rest assured that all cleaning is done locally and no items are sent out.
Crown Cleaners is located at 1212 Tenth Street. They are open Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on Sundays. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach them at 619-435-6092.