Dublin Villager

Keeping TBDBITL clean

Local business takes on band uniforms

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Dublin Cleaners President Brian Butler readies a few TBDBITL uniforms for dry-cleaning. The three-generation business recently started dry cleaning uniforms for the marching band.
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Dublin Cleaners has laundered uniforms from local marching bands and now the Best Damn Band in the Land.

The three-generation business started dry cleaning Ohio State University Marching Band uniforms in August, a deal that came about from a little cocktail party banter.

Company president Brian Butler is a member of the Ohio State University Alumni Association, but it was at a Columbus Speech and Hearing event that he met an OSU extracurricular administrator and said he could clean the uniforms quickly.

"We do about 10 or 12 local high school marching bands," he said. "We know what it takes to get them clean."

A meeting was called shortly after that, Butler said.

"I said I could get them clean in three days," he said. "They looked at me in disbelief."

Turning around 250 marching band uniforms in three days was a drop in the bucket for a business that cleans 3,000 to 4,000 garments a day, Butler said.

Dublin Cleaners has a production facility near the Sawmill Road exit off I-270 and several neighborhood stores throughout central Ohio.

"We have the largest production facility in the area," Butler said. "Another 250 garments in three days is not crazy. It's like a busy bump."

Dublin Cleaners first cleaned uniforms for TBDBITL after the Aug. 31 game against Buffalo, then cleaned them again before the Sept. 7 game with San Diego State.

Between performing in temperatures above 100 degrees at the game and getting rained on while playing for the 2013 Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial in Put-in-Bay over Labor Day weekend, the uniforms needed another dry cleaning.

"They called me up Tuesday morning and said, 'Can you get them in?' " Butler said.

The business currently dry cleans about 800 wedding dresses each year and already had a process to clean the white crossbands on the OSU uniforms -- which can turn blue after rubbing against the dark wool uniforms.

"We have effective cleaning methods for that," Butler said. "Sometimes clothes do weird stuff."

Dublin Cleaners' thermal tagging system also helped employees put the uniforms back together for each student, rather than leaving pants and jackets to be matched by the band.

"We assembled the uniforms back per student," Butler said. "They were mystified. They keep coming back."

Dublin Cleaners was challenged to clean the uniforms again in 28 hours so they could be put on a plane for the Sept. 14 game in California, but the timeframe was expanded to 48 hours.

Despite the extra time, Butler said staff was called in to work on Sunday and put in some overtime.

The infusion of 250 more uniforms has challenged Dublin Cleaners and Butler said it could mean one or two more staff members or overtime for current staff.

"The staff is volunteering and coming in for overtime," he said.

"We're hoping to see some tickets to a football or basketball game or two. It'd be great to give (staff) that."

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