Ideal Cleaners sold to Vick's Cleaners
For one legendary Kinston businessman, the time has come to hang up his hat and enjoy a much-needed and well-deserved retirement.
Tommy Pressly, the owner of Ideal Cleaners, a Kinston institution for generations, has decided to sell his business to Tim Vick of Vick's Cleaners. The sale closed on July 1.
“Tim contacted me last year and I hadn’t thought much of retirement, but I’m 72 years old.," Pressly said. "When the gate of opportunity opens up, you take it because those situations in life are far and few in between, especially when you are 72,. We got together and found a figure that is agreeable to both of us.”
When looking at the new management, Pressly had only kind things to say about Vick.
“He’s half my age with twice my energy," Pressly said of Vick. "He’s grown up in this business. His family has had over 100 years of experience and excellence in the cleaning business. He knows what to do and how to do it. I wish him all the luck in the world and he will handle it well and make it grow.”
Ideal Cleaners has been open for business since 1945. In that time, it has served the community by doing alterations, cleaning uniforms, dresses, suits, and getting kids ready for the prom or weddings.
“Ideal has been around for over 75 years," Pressly said. "I grew up in the business. My father was in the business for 55 years before he retired. Back then, I was working here as a little boy.
“I was contacted by Mansfield Creech, who was my daddy’s competition. He was 72 years old and he offered to sell me the business because he knew that I knew the business. He was ready to retire, just as I am now."
Pressly said he offered to work free for a month to observe the business so he could see if it was right for him. That was Feb. 1, 1975. One month later, Pressly and Creech sat down and worked out a deal for Pressly to purchase Ideal Cleaners.
Pressly said he knew that with Vick, Ideal Cleaners was in good hands.
“I’d been approached by a franchise operation before Tim and I began to talk. I hated to see some cutthroat, nonprofessional enter the community. They don’t care as much about the customers as we do who were born and raised here,” Pressly. said “When you are local, even if you are a competitor, we always work with each other. When you offer good services, you have a loyal customer base. Tim has that relationship with the community, too."
Vick said Vick Cleaners has been in business since 1899 and are the oldest cleaners in North Carolina.
“We are probably among the oldest in the U.S.,” Vick said. “An opportunity arose (with) Mr. Pressly getting ready to retire. He was looking for a way to step away from the business. We’ve been talking with him since the beginning of the year.”
Ideal Cleaners is now owned by the Kinston Laundry Company, which also owns Vick's. There is some upgrading and updating that will be done at Ideal before they will change the name. The purchase of Ideal allows Vick's Cleaners to get more of the clean clothes market share within Kinston and will allow them to keep cleaning clothes for future years.
“I’m a fourth-generation Vick to be in this business," Vick said. "My family has been around for over 100 years serving the community and helping to make everyone look good and clean. We give back to the community with donations of clothes, money, or sponsorships. We are proud to be part of the downtown movement here in Kinston and we want to see it prosper and grow.
"We are very glad to be part of Kinston and our community.”
For now, Pressly can leave, knowing he left the business in capable hands. For Vick, he can continue a proud legacy and family tradition that now includes what the Pressly family brought to Kinston, and bring it into the 21st century.