Craft Cleaners seamstress Lucksmee Warren has 35 years of experience. (Photo by Carolyn Steber.)

Craft Cleaners, a dry cleaning company owned by Lorrie and Tom Janick, has been in business for 56 years.

In the time they have become a mainstay in Princeton, the Janicks have been getting to know their customers and their needs.

What sets Craft Cleaners apart from other dry cleaning services, they say, is that they run a green facility. The difference is noticeable upon entering their spacious building on Nassau Street. The strong smell that usually emits from dry cleaning businesses is nonexistent.

“People who are new to the area say ‘Oh my gosh it smells so nice here,’” Lorrie Janick said.

Craft uses Solvair Green dry cleaning and Miele wet cleaning systems. The Janick’s say they try to educate their consumers about this process and why it’s better for clothing.

According to Craft’s website, Solvair is a safe, biodegradable cleaning fluid that is highly effective in removing stains. The drying process uses liquid CO2 to rinse clothing. The system prevents stains from setting due to the lack of heat and tumbling time used in traditional drying methods.

When the job is done, the liquid carbon dioxide is converted back into gas to be used for the next cycle.

The Miele wet-cleaning system is the process of cleaning “dry clean only” clothes in water instead of traditional solvent. Wet cleaning is not a traditional washing machine with powdered detergent, but instead a cleaning that utilizes special detergents in a computer controlled machine that oversees the washing speed, rhythms and temperature to insure safe cleaning.

Janick says she has invested in the equipment that is used to give the staff multiple choices when it comes to figuring out what is best for customers’ clothing.

“People have been sold in a big way at cleaning things at home, but everyone has shrunk things or had a black sock that’s bled all over everything,” she said.

The wet system calculates the weight of the clothing that goes into the machine and puts in correct ratios of detergent and water, minimizing the amount of agitation.

The business attracts patrons from as far away as New York City.

“People from Manhattan box up their clothing and send it to us to clean,” Janick said.

The Janicks understand clothing is special and treat everything with care. A black label service is offered for high-end garments which includes hand processing and hand finishing. This extends the life of customers’ clothing investments.

“They worked hard for the money to buy this shirt,” Janick said. “It might have been an interview shirt or a first date shirt. It might be a favorite dress. There’s a lot of energy and people’s sentimentality with clothing. We take it seriously and we want to help them protect that.”

The services at Craft go further than just washing and folding. A team of experienced seamstresses is on staff to help with tailoring as well. They can shorten pants, let clothing in or out, and even work on finer garments like wedding dresses.

There is also a cobbler available to do shoe repair.

“With the economy the way it is now is the time to pull out that coat that you haven’t worn in a while,” Janick said. “It’s time to re-line it and have the zipper replaced. It extends the life of the garment.”

Suede and leathers can also be cleaned, handbags can be re-finished and stubborn stains can be removed.

“A lot of dry cleaners set the attitude that the stain is the customers problem, but we take a lot of care with that,” Janick said. “That’s what sets us apart from the 99-cent guy. You’ll tell us what the stain is and we have multiple approaches to stain removal. That’s one of the processes of our cleaning process.”

Manager Traci Skodacek has been working with the Janicks for 31 years, so she knows the business well.

Skodacek’s team can process 600 to 900 garments of hand-pressed dry cleaning per day. If shirt laundry is added in, that’s another 600 to 700 mens’ dress shirts that are washed and commercially pressed.

“Every garment is touched multiple times by different employees throughout the processing,” Skodacek said.

Craft Cleaners has 18 employees including counter staff, pressers, dry cleaners, markers who tag in clothes and tailors. Free pickup and delivery of clean clothing is offered to their 800 customers from Cranbury to Belle Meade.

The Janicks are proud to be an important part of their community. Lorrie is on the board of Princeton Merchants Association. Hers is a company that offers personalized service from people who live in Princeton.

“We’ve always been in Princeton, and we’ll always be here,” Janick said.

Craft Cleaners is located at 225 Nassau St., Princeton. Phone: (609) 924-3242. On the Web: Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a .m. to 5 p.m. Seamstress Hours are Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.