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Great Story On A GreenEarth Affiliate by Chicago Tribune

Shout Out: Fahim Zuberi, owner of Lapels Dry Cleaning in Wilmette

Fahim Zuberi worked in the airline industry for more than 20 years, but always had an interest in running his own business. Last September, he got his opportunity to be an entrepreneur when he opened Lapels Dry Cleaning in Wilmette on a Ridge Road location where the previous family-run dry cleaning operation had been in existence since 1931. He speaks proudly of the fact that Lapels uses an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution.

Q: How did you get interested in becoming a dry cleaner?

A: I was interested in running a business. I had been working for the airlines for almost 23 years and when I went through different businesses, the first ones were mostly food industry. But the dynamics of the dry cleaning industry were more attractive to me.

Q: What interested in terms of the dynamics of the industry?

A: This is an industry which has been there for a long time and it is not a fad. This particular store started in 1931 and it was a third generation who sold it to me. So it is a time tested business. I took the (Lapels) franchise on board so they could give me the expertise and I use their training to run the business.

Q: How did it come about using an environmentally-friendly solvent?

A: Currently the dry cleaning industry uses a solvent which is known as PERC (Perchloroethylene) which is a known carcinogen. Many of the states have told the dry cleaners to phase it out. This solvent that we are using is called Green Earth and there are only two components in it: silicone and water. It is not something new, but in the dry cleaning industry it has just started in the last 20 years. This is the future of dry cleaning because eventually everybody will have to go off from PERC.

Q: What do you like about your work?

A: The customers. You get to interact with so many different types of people. That is the same thing I was doing in the airline industry. It was different people from different walks of life coming to you. That is the best part.

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