Silverdale: Ultra Custom Cleaners offers wide-ranging services
By RACHEL BRANT
Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer
August 8, 2008 · Updated 4:19 PM
Zahra Akhgar spot cleans stained clothing at 7 every morning.
Akhgar owns Ultra Custom Cleaners in the Albertsons shopping plaza on Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale and handles hundreds of shirts, pants and dresses every day.
“I love clothes. I love clothes so much,” Akhgar said with a smile.
She worked at Ultra Custom Cleaners for three years and when the previous owners brought in a broker in February to talk about selling the place, Akhgar decided to step up.
“It was either grad school or buying the store,” she said.
Ultra Custom Cleaners opened in 1999 and Akhgar said many staff members have been onboard since its first day in business.
“We are very blessed,” Akhgar said.
Akhgar, a former grant writer, said she never thought she would have her own business, but she is enjoying every minute of it.
“I really thought that I was just going to go back to grant writing,” she said.
Ultra Custom Cleaners not only works with clothing, but will clean rugs, handbags, bedding and draperies. The dry cleaning business offers professional tailoring, bridal gown preservation as well as a wash and fold service.
“We are committed to low prices,” Akhgar said.
Ultra Custom Cleaners offers same-day service. Items brought in by 10 a.m. can be picked up around 4 p.m. the same day.
“We are the only cleaners that do not charge for same-day service,” she said.
Akhgar learned the ins and outs of dry cleaning by simply diving right in and experiencing it firsthand.
“I learned just working here — asking questions, hands-on training,” she said.
Akhgar said many dry cleaning businesses are owned by first-generation Koreans who speak little to no English. Akhgar said it is easy for customers to tell Ultra Custom Cleaners employees which dry cleaning services they are seeking.
“I think it just comes back to having that open line of communication with our customers,” she said. “They can tell us what they want and we’ll do it.”
Akhgar’s husband, Gerald Hixon, and 21-year-old sister, Mariam Akhgar, spend countless hours at the dry cleaning business helping sort through clothing and working the front desk.
“I feel so blessed to have such amazing family support. It chokes me up,” Akhgar said. “It’s a commitment and it’s definitely a family effort.”
Akhgar said Ultra Custom Cleaners keeps busy with with 65-85 customers a day going in and out of the Silverdale business.
“We are fairly consistent year-round,” she said. “Most cleaners do about half the business we do on the peninsula.”
Ultra Custom Cleaners offers various discounts for community members including wedding party discounts, a 10 percent discount for senior citizens (ages 65 and older) and a 20 percent uniform discount for police officers and other men and women who wear uniforms.
Ultra Custom Cleaners also offers a 20 percent military discount to the men and women of the armed forces and their families.
“They do so much for our community,” Akhgar said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the community we have.”
Ultra Custom Cleaners gives back to the community too. The dry cleaning business gives money for high school scholarships and donates to other local organizations.