Dry, clean and ready for a new job

June 21, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Would you rather hire a person in rumpled clothes or someone whose clothes are cleaned and pressed when they apply for a job with your business?

Samson Durand is convinced the latter applicant would make a better impression, and he is in a position to help make that a reality.

As the owner of Zhest Organic Dry Cleaners, a new business in Hagerstown, Durand says he can appreciate the harsh realities facing job hunters in today's economy.

So for the next four months, Durand is offering to help spruce up any resident of Hagerstown seeking employment by cleaning up to two garments free at his business at 11205 John F. Kennedy Drive off Robinwood Drive.


"We are a small business wanting to help our community," Durand said. "We want our fellow citizens of Hagerstown to look professional and clean for their job interview. This is our commitment and help for the community."

A native of West Africa, Durand, 46, grew up in France before moving to the Washington, D.C., area. There, he earned a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland and spent the next 20 years working in the banking industry.

Durand and his wife, Joan, recently moved to Hagerstown with their two school-aged children. They opened the dry cleaning business in August. Durand has four employees.

"When you have a business, you are looking to help yourself and others," Durand said.

A lot of job applicants have contacted him, and one thing Durand has noticed is that they often are not dressed for success.

As far as proof that the customers are really job hunters, Durand said he doesn't plan to be too tough on them.

"I would be happy if they have some paperwork to show they are looking for work," he said.

Durand worked at a dry cleaners in Silver Spring, Md., when he was in college and he liked the work. With advances in the field, he has been able to incorporate eco-friendly methods and products into the traditional business.

"We use DF 2000, an eco-friendly solvent produced by Exxon Mobil," Durand said.

The process not only protects the environment, but the odorless, biodegradable solvent is better for people with sensitive skin and asthma, he said.

"It's a little more expensive, but it is better all around," Durand said.

For more information on Durand's organic dry cleaning business or his offer, call 301-714-0123.

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