IN GOOD HANDS  Melinda Tugade (left) and Emelisa Ombing are excited to take ownership of Invermere Dry Cleaning. Photo by Greg Amos

IN GOOD HANDS Melinda Tugade (left) and Emelisa Ombing are excited to take ownership of Invermere Dry Cleaning. Photo by Greg Amos

By Greg Amos

Special to The Pioneer

The Columbia Valleys only dry cleaner and coin laundry will be getting longer hours, more services and some new energy when two new owners take the helm today (Friday, August 1st).

After working for J. Benedict Cleaning Services for the past two years, longtime friends Emelisa Ombing and Melinda Tugade are excited to bring their skills and enthusiasm to Invermere Dry Cleaning and Coin Laundry, a business that has been in Invermere for more than 30 years.

We see a lot of opportunity, because this is the only dry cleaner between Golden and Kimberley, said Emelisa, who first met Melinda 16 years ago when they were both working for a shipping logistics company in Manila, in the Philippines.

Starting today, the business will now be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Services offered will include dry cleaning, coin laundry, alterations, drop-off laundry service, pressing, tablecloth cleaning, and commercial laundry. The business works with a seamstress to carry out custom tailoring.

In the future, they hope to add a laundry pick up and delivery service and faster turnaround times up from a week to three or four days for rush service. There are no plans to move the business from its location at 507A on 7th Avenue near Gone Hollywood Video, but the pair may bring in a few bigger and faster washing machines.

Sometimes people are just here for a vacation, and want to bring their laundry with them when they leave, said Emelisa who, with Melinda, came to Canada as temporary foreign workers at the Riverside Golf Course in Fairmont Hot Springs in 2008. They later gained permanent resident status under the Provincial Nominee Program.

We really love this place, added Emelisa. Its very simple you can get to work in five or 10 minutes, and theres less stress here.

The pair got to know previous business owner Linda Malinowski through their jobs at J. Benedict, and said it was a simple process to take over from Linda, who was looking to retire.

She made the terms easy for us, said Melinda.

The new owners are hoping to bring in a coin change machine that would be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and will likely be hiring more employees in the future.

Our husbands are going to help us for now, said Melinda.

The pair will be offering a special promotion to new and existing clients of J. Benedict Cleaning, as theyll be able to clean laundry in their new business, rather than using their customers household machines.

Its better that we can take it out and have it as a package of service, if they have a small machine especially, said Melinda.

Invermere Dry Cleaning will keep the same phone number 250-342-6610 but will soon have a new website and email address.

By the end of August, the pair hope to have an Ontario-approved certification in place, as B.C. doesnt require an operator to have any specific certifications to run a dry cleaning business.