The Elite Laundry is an expression of Racine’s enterprise and business ability. It is the property of the firm of Eager & Dunn and the rapid development of its business is indicative of the progressive methods of the owners. In 1905 the firm of Chapman & Anderson established the Elite Laundry at No. 612 Sixth Street, but after two years the business failed. Several months later the plant was sold to Hess & Williams, who a year later sold to Eager & Dunn. Something of the growth of the business is indicated in the fact that at that time the pay roll was less than forty dollars a week and today it is more than four hundred and fifty dollars. The only wagon then in use has been supplanted by a collection and delivery system that utilizes six wagons and two automobiles. The number of employees in the laundry has been correspondingly increased. The latest improved machinery has been introduced, including a Troy collar ironer with a capacity of twenty-five thousand collars per day. The enterprise of the firm is further indicated in the fact that they now have three independent telephone lines under the number 282 and employ a girl merely to answer calls. They have installed a Troy Trojan forty-eight by one hundred, and twenty flat work ironer which is the largest in the state. Their plant is always open to the public and in fact they invite and solicit inspection, knowing that when their methods are seen they will be appreciated and that business will accrue.
Both partners were experienced laundrymen before entering into their present relation. They have made an attempt to educate the people to the value of their business methods by issuing a paper called Clean Clothes aria their progressiveness has resulted in a continuous and substantial growth in the business. After a year they were forced to secure the second floor of the building at No. 612 Sixth Street, and at the end of two years they leased the Beffel building adjoining, thus securing the largest floor space for laundry purposes in Racine. In the next two years, however, they again outgrew their quarters and they purchased land at Nos. 931-37 Carroll Street, where they erected a building sixty by one hundred feet. After occupying this for three years they found it necessary to put up a sixteen foot addition on the east side of the building in order to enlarge their work-room. They have installed a wet wash department, returning clothing wet to patrons, who can then hang their clothes in the open air for drying. They now do over three tons of wet wash every week besides six tons of family and flat work, in addition to the shirt and collar work. The firm does not claim to have attained perfection but it does claim to do everything within its power to make the work as nearly perfect as possible and it is putting forth every effort for the further improvement of its service. It employs over fifty people and pays the highest wages in the city, so that it is able to secure the most competent help. The laundry is clean and sanitary and presents none of the appearance of the “blue Monday” of the home. The wash-room methods sterilize as well as cleanse and the goods are given just the treatment demanded by the condition of their coloration or other modification of the original fibers. The seven years of the firm’s existence has been a period of continuous development and progress and the character of the men at the head insures that this will be kept up.
Source: Stone, Fanny S. Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.