Cleaners celebrates 45 years, bank opens – Downtown & Around Town

By DeAnn Rossetti

  • Monday, November 24, 2008 8:03pm
  • Business

By DeAnn Rossetti

Clampitt’s Cleaners celebrates anniversary

Island institution, Clampitt’s Cleaners at 7633 S.E. 27th St. celebrates its 45th anniversary on Mercer Island this year.

“We’re the second-oldest single-family owned business on Mercer Island,” said Craig Clampitt, manager of the store. “My grandfather started in the drycleaning business in Sumner (Wash.) in 1939, and when my dad graduated from UW in 1957, he opened a drycleaning business in Seward Park.”

The elder Clampitts, Craig’s father and grandfather, met with Chick Tabit and his father about remodeling an Island summer home they used as a shoe store into a business building. The Tabits agreed to build Tabit Square, and the Clampitts were their first tenants in February 1960.

“I came into the business when I graduated from UW in 1984,” said Craig Clampitt. “My dad still works here, doing cleaning and spotting, but I’ve taken over the business and marketing.”

The Clampitts have three other “drycleaning stores; one each in Issaquah, Woodinville and Bellevue. Drycleaning is done on-site at just the Mercer Island location.

Clampitt’s is one of only 2,000 drycleaners world-wide to have the designation of being a certified master dry cleaner. The King County Department of Health also awarded Clampitt’s a 5-Star Envirostar rating in 2001 for its program of recycling everything from hangars to distillates from the cleaning machines.

Clampitt notes that the cleaners distills its solvent every day, which isn’t common in the business, but keeps clothing cleaner and keeps the press of the clothing longer, he explained.

“In the past, we had machines similar to the ones you have at home,” he said. “Now we’re into the fifth generation machines that clean and dry the clothing in the same machine. They’re very high-tech and better at utilizing cleaning solutions.”

Clampitt’s recently hosted a visit from five drycleaners from Japan, who came to observe how a leading cleaner in America operates, as well as to share their own ideas.

Craig Clampitt estimates that the Mercer Island store has pressed over 650,000 pairs of men’s pants, and laundered and pressed more than 1.9 million shirts for residents over the past 45 years.

In recognition of its anniversary, Clampitt’s is having a “sweater special” of 45 percent off.

“We’re dedicated to being the very best cleaners,” said Clampitt. “We do everything we possibly can to keep our customers happy.”

Clampitt’s Cleaners can be reached at 232-3236.

Banner Bank opens

Banner Bank has opened in the building that formerly housed Interwest/Pacific Northwest Bank, at 2918 78th Ave. S.E.

The Northwest regional bank is based in Walla Walla, is growing. Banner Bank plans to opening five new branches within four to five months. The new branches will include Western Washington locations: Alderwood, Kent, Everett, Edmonds and Mercer Island. Banner has branches in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Returning to the location and banking, are Pam Goulder, who is now branch manager, and Kathy Miller, a teller. Goulder worked at the current location when it was University Savings from 1986 to 1995, and then worked for Interwest/Pacific Northwest Bank from 1995 to April 2004, when that bank was bought out by Wells Fargo.

“Banner Bank tracked me down after they signed the lease here in November, 2004,” said Goulder. “I started in December, hiring staff and preparing the branch for opening.”

Goulder said that many banks were looking at this particular location because the building itself was in good shape and there is a market for new banks on Mercer Island.

“We put on a fresh coat of paint and added some updates, from paper clips to computers,” said Miller, who worked at Pacific Northwest Bank on Mercer Island for five years . “The fireplace is still here, the coffee is on and the newspapers ready.”

Miller was referring to a group of local senior gentlemen who were known for having early morning kaffe klatches next to the fireplace at the bank while discussing events in the news.

Banner Bank will offer personal, retail and commercial banking, as well as a drive-through window, drive through ATM and safe deposit boxes.

Banner Bank had a soft opening on Jan. 24, and will have its grand opening and official ribbon-cutting ceremony from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Banner Bank was founded in 1890, and currently has 49 branches and 12 loan offices in 23 counties in three states. The bank is part of Banner Corporation and has approximately $2 billion in assets.

For more information about the bank, please call 232-2804.

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