“A Detroit Institution”
Kimbrough Cleaners doesn’t advertise, and a Google search will net you exactly one review. The storefront is inconspicuous – except that the exposed side exterior, painted in tag-me white, is remarkably free of graffiti.
In fact, driving past the business on Van Dyke in West Village,
you might never guess that this is where every Detroit mayor since Coleman A. Young has taken their finest clothes. These days, the Archer family still comes from across town, and Mayor Dave Bing now brings his suits to Kimbrough’s.
Proprietor Chris Chae counts among his clients other well-known Detroit figures such as Bankole Thompson, editor of the Michigan Chronicle, and Bishop Marvin Winans of Perfecting Church. He says that Motown legends Stevie Wonder and Smokie Robinson have also passed through the door.
Chae, who took over Kimbrough’s from its retiring owner in the early 1980s, says his business relies entirely on word of mouth.
“When the film incentives brought Hollywood directors and actors in
to town,” Mr. Chae says, “they stayed at the Book Cadillac but heard about this cleaners and sent their dry cleaning here.”
Mayor Bing, when asked how he ended up at Kimbrough’s, responded, “When I moved downtown, I asked neighbors and friends to recommend a dry cleaner and Kimbrough’s came highly recommended. Kimbrough’s is a Detroit institution and was recommended time and time again for the excellent service the staff and owners provide their customers.”
Chae is proud of his reputation for customer service and meticulous standards for quality. Asked why his business does so well, he replies simply that he’s the best.
“Did you know they say the dry cleaning industry is second highest in customer
complaints?” Chae says. “We can’t make everyone happy but we try.”