The year 1917 brought a small business operation to life on 23rd Avenue in Altoona, Pennsylvania, marking the beginning of a legendary company destined to expand. Monarch Cleaners initially joined the Altoona community by offering rug cleaning services, but humble beginnings build firm foundations. In 1943, Bob Menchey and Edward Hancock purchased the company with the ambitious vision to grow. They expanded Monarch Cleaners to accommodate clothes as well as rug cleaning, and as their company acquired more and more recognition from the community, the potential for further expansion became stronger.
By the 1950’s, Edward Hancock’s two sons, Dave and Ed, took over operations and in 1969, Bill McNelis joined them with the united goal of advancing Monarch Cleaners. Twenty years after McNelis’s arrival, Monarch moved to its current location on Valley View Boulevard and two successful years later, they became licensees of Apparel Master and extended to offer uniform and mat rentals. Today, Monarch Cleaners continues to be owned and operated locally by Bill McNelis and Dave Hancock, dedicating its services to a 50-75 mile radius surrounding Altoona, PA.
With headquarters in Altoona, they have expanded to three dry cleaning locations and keep their industrial uniform and mat cleaning facility as well as their processing and distribution facility in Altoona. The business philosophy is simple yet vital to their steady growth. McNelis, who supervises all operations, explains that from the beginning, Monarch Cleaners “tries to do our best and satisfy each customer. We serve all our customers equally and faithfully.” It has been the key ingredient to their unfaltering success.
MONARCHS SERVICES & SUCCESS
McNelis believes that by remaining faithful to the community on a local platform, Monarch Cleaners has garnered its success by beating out the big corporations. “We offer personalized services to our customers that are based on our personal relationships with them. If they have a problem, we can easily accommodate them and fix it.” Not only do they provide loyal service to their customer base, but their reputation has withstood time and testing.
Dry Cleaning and On-Site Carpet Cleaning
Monarch offers full dry cleaning services and is a member of The International Fabricare Institute (IFI) and The Pennsylvania Delaware Cleaners Association (PDCA), which enables them to stay up to date with new technology, take care of their customers’ clothes and provide more efficiency in pricing. By walking in stride with cutting edge technology, they are able to provide optimum cleaning of their customers’ clothes, and by gathering more efficiency, Monarch is capable of giving their customers affordable prices. They also offer free pickup and delivery service for their customer’s convenience. Monarch continues to provide excellent carpet and upholstery cleaning, in-plant rug cleaning, and commercial carpet cleaning. For carpet and upholstery, they employ a hot water extraction, which is the only method that fully removes deep dirt that has compiled in the carpet. It is also the gentlest way to clean without causing stains or discoloring. Their commercial carpet cleaning is perfect for businesses as Monarch can come after hours to clean for their clients. In-plant rug cleaning is also very convenient for their customers as Monarch will pick up rugs at the customer’s home, take the rugs to their plant, clean them and hang them dry before delivering the rugs by the following week. By assisting customers to take care of their carpets, rugs and upholstery every twelve months, Monarch is extending the value and appearance of their client’s frequently used floor coverings.
Uniform and Mat Rentals
With forty years of rental experience, Monarch is fully prepared to meet any company’s needs. For their uniform rental branch, they are capable of offering a wide range of options to their customers. McNelis notes that Monarch has serviced companies sizing from one employer to hundreds of employees. This range of capability has established their expertise, creating the slogan: “Monarch has a uniform for everyone.” Alongside their uniform rental, Monarch also supplies mat rentals, which allows their business clientele to save hundreds of dollars per year by cutting down on excessive cleaning costs. Mats, which are the most efficient way of stopping dirt at the door, assists in keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. They also strive to provide other superior products and services, such as dust mops, restroom supplies, restaurant services, shop towels, fender covers, lab coats, patient gowns, butcher coats, and executive shirts and pants. Unwavering local products, services and customer relationships is what makes Monarch unique in a world of cleaning businesses. In 2010, they were nominated as favorite dry cleaner of the year by a local newspaper’s poll, which further reflects the enduring regard Monarch’s customers have for the company. As McNelis said, their success is founded on excellent customer relationships. The personalized service is the material for a business that has flourished for ninety-five years.
COUGAR MOUNTAIN SOFTWARE
For the past twenty-five years, Monarch Cleaners has utilized the payroll and account payables solutions offered by Cougar Mountain Software. McNelis remembers that his brother-in-law encountered the software at a trade show, and Monarch has been using CMS ever since then. “At the time we were a very small company with about 8 to 10 employees,” McNelis explains.
Cougar Mountain has enabled us to grow. We now have 45 employees. Their software has been instrumental in keeping things in order for our business.”
The crucial need of supporting a growing business is fundamental to Cougar Mountain Software, which has allowed small companies such as Monarch to grow and prosper. Sally Hancock, the office manager of Monarch, works with the software on a daily basis. “We’ve been very happy with Cougar Mountain,” she says. “It’s rare to encounter a problem with the software, but they are always there to help walk me through it.” She continues to note the supportive nature of the accounting team at Cougar Mountain, which has furthermore contributed to the day to day success of Monarch . By building a strong accounts payable foundation as well as a polished payroll system, Monarch has established a smooth office operation, enabling the company to focus its attention to their services and their customers. A vision which started in 1917 has expanded beyond original expectations, and it is everyday companies like Monarch Cleaners that constitute the fabric of the American spirit. With the sky as the limit for Monarch, Sally concludes that the future holds more expansion for the company. Altoona, Pennsylvania and possibly more cities in the future, can count on expecting more exceptional services from this dedicated, thriving company.