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Second generation Sharps go to the cleaners

As of this summer, Farragut Cleaners located on the corner of Kingston Pike and West End Drive, is under new ownership.

However, the residents of Farragut may not notice the difference. The family-owned and operated business is now in the hands of the second generation of the Sharp family, brother and sister David and Dustin Sharp.

“Dad decided that it was time to retire,” said David Sharp.

Dad is Don Sharp who has owned the dry cleaning business since 1990 along with his wife Dorothy.

“Well, he hasn’t really retired. He still goes from store to store covering for employees who take a day off.”

Farragut Cleaners is one of the original landmarks in Farragut.

“I think that this place has been here since the forties,” Sharp said. “The old high school was across the street, Russell’s had a dry goods store next door and there was a hardware store where the bridge is.”

According to Sharp, things are going well so far. “I was used to running the operational end of the business,” he said. “When it came to advertising and paying the bills, I didn’t have a clue.”

Sharp said that his dad has filled him in on everything and that he is now comfortable with all aspects of the business. “Every now and then, things come up and I have to ask dad for advice, but I pretty much have a handle on things now, he said.

Sharp’s sister Dustin also works at the Farragut location and he said that she helps him keep the business running smoothly.

Farragut Cleaners has four other locations in addition to the Kingston Pike store. “We have a store on Middlebrook Pike, Cedar Bluff Road, Peters Road as well as Lenoir City,” Sharp said. All of the locations are called Farragut Cleaners.

The headquarters for the dry cleaners is the Farragut store. Sharp runs a van from the satellite stores back to Farragut where the clothes are cleaned and returned for customer pick-up.

We can do same day service if our customer gets the clothing in early enough,” Sharp said.

Farragut Cleaners handles all aspects of the cleaning business.

“We do regular laundering, dry cleaning and spot cleaning as well as special pieces such as wedding dresses, leather and suede,” Sharp said. “We have a wet cleaning system. We can take clothes that are supposed to be dry-cleaned and actually clean them with soap and water using a special machine.” He added, “The machine has a computer in it and the temperature is controlled to protect the garment.”

Sharp said that these special machines make it possible to get the results that his customers are looking for. “As long as we take care of our equipment, we can continue to do the job.”

Frequently, customers leave belongings in the pockets of their clothing to be cleaned. “When our employees find money or jewelry in the pockets at the counter, they save it and give it back to the customer.” Sharp said. “Sometimes coins slip through though and they can be very hard on our cleaning machines.”

Farragut Cleaners also does alterations, but they are in the process of hiring another person as its former tailor retired. The business currently employs 20 associates.

Sharp has many fond memories of growing up in Farragut.

“Dad’s had all kinds of jobs,” Sharp said. “He used to run some of the “One Hour Martinizing” dry cleaning businesses.

The Sharp family also owned a hotel on Kingston Pike and Dixie Lee Junction called Marion Court.

“Before the Interstate, people mainly used Kingston Pike for travel and the hotel did real well,” he said. Once the Interstate was put in, business died down.” The hotel has since been torn down.

Sharp (David) also worked as a stockroom manager at K-mart before coming to work for his father in 1990.

He and his wife, Karen, bought the house that he and his sister grew up in and said that he has no plans of leaving Farragut.

“We’re staying right here,” Sharp said.

Farragut Cleaners is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information about the services offered at Farragut Cleaners, call 966-9414.


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