Alexandria, VA – Alexandria institution at 1623 N. Quaker Lane, Presto Valet has been the primary dry cleaner for many local notables such as former Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore, and for cultural establishments such as The Kennedy Center, The Washington Opera, and Ford’s Theatre.
However, there is so much more that makes Presto Valet a stand-out business. As co-owner Dianne Chatelain tells it, “While we appreciate the famous customers we have had, we are actually even more proud of our employees, our commitment to the environment, and our relationship with our community.”
A certified environmental dry cleaner, Presto Valet uses GreenEarth cleaning solution, which is one of the attractions for its many loyal customers. Another point that keeps folks coming back is customer service.
Buddy Gritz, who took ownership of Presto in 1979, says of his 54 years in the business, “I look forward to coming to work every single day. I have fun every day. I enjoy the customers, I enjoy the people that I work with. It’s made my life great.”
Buddy’s customers return the same fervor for Presto Valet. “Our customers love us a lot,” says Buddy. “Some have even moved away and continue to mail their clothes to us.”
Presto Valet has built a loyal customer base over the years, but its 70th year, as you would expect, has seen changes. When theatres and other cultural venues closed, Presto had to get creative to supplement their usual clientele. “We arranged services to better fit our customers’ needs during this whole pandemic,” co-owner Dianne Chatelain says. With curbside service, a 24/7 drop-off chute, and adjusted hours, Presto kept all of its employees working and keeps all of its customers as happy as before.
“I am so proud of this place,” Buddy Gritz said in a 2019 Zebra article. “Our philosophy is to be nice to people and do something nice for someone every single day.”
These high ideals run long and deep in the company’s history. On April 7, 1951, Harold and Jessie Weisblut opened the store. In 1965, their daughter, Janet, married Buddy, who joined the business April 21, 1967 and took ownership in 1979 when Harold retired.
Presto Valet has upheld that philosophy through the pandemic, showing just how much it truly cares about its employees, its customers, and the environment. As theaters, restaurants, and other establishments start to open again, Presto Valet’s 70th year is sure to be a continued success. Why not stop on by?