Over the years Mary Kay Valencia has seen a major shift in how people do their dry-cleaning and laundry, but even as people’s attitudes have changed, she and her co-workers at Lionheart Cleaners have kept theirs the same.
“We built our business around service and going the extra mile to make sure our customers have only the best,” she said. “Clothes are personal, so we try to keep our services and approach as personal as possible.”
That includes door-to-door service, and “knowing” people not just as customers but as friends, neighbors, and partners in making Broomfield a better place to live. And they pride themselves on doing everything “on location” including household drapes, leather cleaning, and a newly added shirt laundering service. On the laundry side, they have everything from “fluff and fold” to full laundering services; “a more ‘finessed’ laundry process,” Mary Kay said.
“While dry cleaning has changed, we try our best to meet each customer’s needs and wants. We’ll do the little things and work with customers on ‘extras’ like fixing buttons, doing minor repairs, de-linting, or paying special attention to items. If alterations are needed, I’m trained to do that, too.”
Mary Kay started 30 years ago for another local dry cleaner, working as a pants presser when she and her husband, a Broomfield police officer, first came to town.
After 10 years, she found herself widowed with daughter Anastasia just starting law school; and son Bill just starting college. “Dry cleaning was what I knew, but I was concerned that I might be too faint of heart to try it on my own. But my kids said, ‘You’re not faint of heart, you have the heart of a lion.’ And that’s how we decided on the name.”
Bill, a student in art and design, designed their logo and “lion” mascot, and helped with advertising, while Anastasia pressed shirts when not studying law. “We used to tell people that this was the only dry cleaner around where a lawyer would press their shirts.“
Anastasia has now put her law degree to work for the State of Colorado. And, a few years out of college, Bill found himself drawn back to the business and joined his mother as a partner.
Bill does routes, handles any plumbing or other problems, and both maintains and runs much of the sophisticated equipment and computerized tracking system. “You have to wear a lot of hats in a family-run business,” Bill said. As for working side-by-side with “Mom,” Bill adds: “You get to see a side of your parent that most kids don’t get to see. You become friends, partners, even adversaries on rare occasions; but in the end it’s great to have someone to lean own, who will always support you and have your back. And having someone with her experience is truly great.”
Lionheart has always been in the same location – the northwest corner of the Safeway Shopping Center at 120th and Main – growing from just “family” to 5 fulltime employees and 2 student workers, who both Bill & Mary Kay say “are all like family to us.” The employees echo that, saying they love the work environment.
Mary Kay said it’s been great to “grow with the community.” When they first came to Broomfield there were two stoplights and two places to eat, one of which was in a bowling alley. Their clientele today includes hotels, churches and the city police department. Because they have been attentive to environmental concerns, they were called upon as consultants when the City & County of Broomfield was formed.
“There are lots of regulations; air and water pollution standards; disposals that must be adhered to; and we have always insured that everything we do is first class. We had so much experience in dealing with these various regulations that officials came to us to ask questions about the process.”
“We’re in the business of helping both our community and helping people look good,” Mary Kay said. “Some people today say they like the more ‘casual’ look and they don’t need a drycleaner or pressing service. I just tell them, wrinkles are not casual.