GreenEarth Cleaning

Steamer Cleaners featured in National Clothesline

Most people don’t go to the drycleaners looking for love, but sometimes that’s just what they find. Thirty-one years ago, Shawn Basseri worked at a drycleaning plant visited by his future wife, Nicole.
“I went in there as acustomer and there was this handsome man behind the counter who was very eloquent and charming. That’s how I met him,” Nicole recalled. “Then, we went out eight months later, and then got engaged six months later, and married five months after that. According to him, he lost my skirt so he had to marry me. That’s his story.” The courtship was slowed by Nicole’s skepticism. “He had to convince me,” she noted. “He was tired all the time, so I thought he was a little on the wild side. Then I realized he was tired because he was working so many hours opening up his drycleaning business.”
Over the past three decades, the Basseris have built an impressive legacy. Steamer Cleaners has earned a long list of accolades: Best of LA, Los Angeles magazine, SOS Go Green Club Community Recognition award, Reader’s Choice award by LA Daily News and much more. Today, the business has one picturesque two-story location in Sherman Oaks, CA, where it has remained, even after it burned down in 2001. The family recovered then and they hope to do so today. During the pandemic, volume has dropped sharply, but the business has stayed open and kept its staff of approximately 30 busy. “We were so lucky that we were able to stay open because drycleaning is an essential business and we’ve just
taken every precaution,” noted Ariana, the couple’s oldest daughter who has joined the family fold full time.
Such precautions mean floor markings six feet apart, shields at the front counter, trunk service, thermometers, hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. “It goes along with how we feel about taking care of our customers and our employees,” Nicole added. “In fact, we take great precautions with our employees trying as much as we can to keep them separated as much as possible. We keep the tailors employed by having them make masks in their spare time so they get to stay together as well — although apart.” “We want everyone to feel comfortable,” Ariana explained. “We want our employees to feel comfortable and our customers to feel that way.”
One way Steamer Cleaners has always tried to differentiate itself is through technology. The company was an early adopter of GreenEarth technology in the 1990s. Nicole spent time trying to find the right technological fit that would also be acceptable for them from an environmentally friendly standpoint. At the time, she worked at Steamer Cleaners while also serving as an executive consultant for Bayer Healthcare, a post she held for over 30 years, dealing with contracts, education and marketing.
“I came from the medical field  so when all of the new [drycleaning] products and machines came out I called the companies and asked them lots of questions,” Nicole noted. “They really didn’t answer my questions.” More recently, Steamer Cleaners became one of the most advanced cleaning companies in the country. “We’re the first fully automated Metalprogetti full system on the west coast,” Ariana emphasized. “It was quite a process. The people had to come from Metalprogetti and build it.” At first, the Basseris weren’t sure what the staff would think of the technology. “We now spend our energy on inspection and making sure everything looks as great as it can before it goes to the machine [for packaging],”
Nicole said. “So, believe it or not, our employees even love the machine because it takes out the part they didn’t enjoy doing and they can put more energy into customer service and inspection and making sure the clothes are well taken care of.” Nicole left Bayer Healthcare a little over a decade ago and there is no question in her mind that she enjoys the
drycleaning industry much more. She relishes the challenge of promoting her business in her own style.
“It’s so much more interesting to be in the drycleaning industry as far as the issues go and all that. They’re pretty daunting with Bayer Healthcare, and the beauty of being with Steamer Cleaners is Ariana, my great partner in this,” Nicole explained. “We can do anything we want as far as marketing. We can try things. We can have special promotions and we can even give away what we want to give away. If we dryclean clothes for
people who are unemployed for free, we can do that because we own it.”

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