More Than Just Gown Preservation

Raising money for a worthwhile cause

Most people in the drycleaning industry work hard each day trying to make ends meet and bills paid in these trying times. It is not often that they are able to take the time and effort away from work to help others.

Although there are many cleaners who help out their communities with Coats for Kids, prom dresses for needy students, two percent for the local schools and other notable causes, most are just caught up in the daily grind of work, work, work.

Michael Schapiro, the owner of Wedding Gown Preservation Company in Endicott, NY, is one who takes the time and special effort to help make a difference in the community.

In July, Schapiro was involved in the largest single sporting event fundraiser in the country — the Pan Mass Challenge, a two-day, 200-mile bike ride from Sturbridge MA, to Provincetown, MA, to benefit cancer research.  Schapiro and the others involved raised $34 million for the Jimmy Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research and the Dana Farber Institute, a special center for pediatric cancer, in Boston.

There were 5,400 bike riders and each one is obligated to get sizable donations to help children and their families overcome this frightening disease. Schapiro’s family has been touched by cancer and he was anxious to help raise money for cancer research.

The experience was emotional, heartwarming, and gratifying, Schapiro said.

“My grandparents started a little tailor shop in Endicott, NY, in 1913. It was the impetus for my parents and brothers to enter the business. This weekend was all about giving back to the community and helping families who are less fortunate than mine,” Schapiro said.

“I can tell you hundreds of stories from the people I met on the ride who have been affected by the disease. Some riders have lost spouses and some have lost children or parents. Some riders have miraculously overcome their disease thanks to the Dana Farber Institute and Jimmy Fund, and thanks to the money raised each year.

“It was so inspirational and so uplifting to ride alongside friends and strangers and hear their stories and their heartfelt thanks to all the riders. I have never seen such an outpouring of love, help, and just caring for our fellow human beings. It was so good for the heart, and soul, and helped me realize what one person can help accomplish.”

After the first night of cycling, most riders slept in a huge tent. Schapiro was lucky enough to spend the night at friend and fellow dry cleaners Paul and Roberta Bagley’s house in Onset, MA, just at the midpoint of the ride.

Schapiro has spent many years in the dry cleaning industry. In 1981, along with his two brothers, he opened a tuxedo rental store. Since they already had the drycleaning equipment, they were urged to expand their formal wear store to include drycleaning. From that they have expanded to an Apparel Master franchise, CRDN fire restoration business, HealthWear, as well as Wedding Gown Preservation Co.  In 2005 they sold it all except for Wedding Gown Preservation Co., which Schapiro kept. Since then he has purchased Allied Heirlooming of Mississippi and Heirloom Memories of Florida. His wife, Sue, joins him in running the business.

Wedding Gown Preservation Pre-Stain Tips

Before you head off on your honeymoon, take these pre-stain tips

The top of your wedding cake is boxed up, all the guests have gone home and you and your new husband are off to Cancun.  But what about your precious wedding gown?  If you don’t have time to order your wedding gown preservation kit before you leave, there a few things you can do before you pack up your flip flops and your bikini top.

Treating common stains

We offer full gown cleaning during our gown preservation process, however, you’ll make our lives much easier if you perform some basic pre-stain treatment on your dress before you let your wedding gown sit too long.  Here are common stains that occur during a wedding and how to pre-treat them.

  • Chocolate.  We all love it but we don’t love it on our satin wedding dresses. This can be a bit tricky.  As with most of our tips start by soaking the area in cold water.  This lifts the proteins in the chocolate and serves to loosen up the stain.  Use a dishwasher detergent (never use bar soap) to lightly scrub the area.  We find a soft bristle tooth brush works well, just make sure not to scrub the area too much and damage the gown’s fiber.  We’ve also heard that cascade dishwasher soap works really well.  Remember, you’re just pre-treating, not eliminating the stain. That’s our job.
  • Candle Wax.  Hopefully the majority of the wax landed on your dress and not your skin.  The first thing you can do is put your dress next to those frozen peas that have been sitting in your freezer since 1996.  We’re serious!  Remove the dress in a few hours and use a spoon to chip away as much of the now brittle wax from the dress.  Don’t use a knife as you risk the chance of pulling fibers.  After you’re done grab your ironing board and clean towel that you don’t mind throwing away after.  Place the thin towel on your dress and let your iron sit on top of the towel for 20-30 seconds.  This should pull the wax away from the dress and absorb into the cotton of the towel.
  • Soda, coffee or tea.  The most important thing to remember with these is not to soap as this will permanently set the stains into your dress.  Instead use white vinegar (2/3 water and 1/3 white vinegar) in a spray bottle.  Spray, let it sit for a minute and rub with a cloth or soft tooth brush.

Order your wedding gown preservation kit before you leave and when you come back send the wedding dress to us and we’ll take care of the rest.