People might be a little surprised to find out Dublin Cleaners is a three-generation family business, but they will definitely be surprised to find out the dry cleaning business started out as a barbershop.

In 1934, Bernie Butler was working as a barber and decided to start taking in dry cleaning at the barbershop to supplement his income.

As the years went by the barbershop, located on the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Hudson Street in Columbus, evolved into Hudson Cleaners.

“We had the business there until 1982, and then we moved it up here and changed the name to Dublin Cleaners,” said Greg Butler, Bernie Butler’s son and owner of Dublin Cleaners.

Greg Butler took over the family business in 1975, after going to school and serving in the military for a few years, and his father died in 1978.

His mother, Martha Butler, 86, still comes to work three times a week and does the bookkeeping for the business.

Brian Butler, Greg Butler’s son, has been working as vice president of operations for Dublin Cleaners for a little over a month and will eventually be taking over the business from his father.

“When you transition from one owner to another, there are going to be some bumps in the road,” Greg Butler said.

“I can remember a few little conflicts my father and I got into about philosophy ideas and about how we thought things ought to be.”

“When ownership changes, changes in the business take place as well.”

“It’s a rejuvenation. It’s good business to have youth come into it,” Greg Butler said.

When Greg Butler took over the business from his father, he went from one Hudson Cleaners location, to five Dublin Cleaners Locations.

The first Dublin Cleaners location was 6845 Caine Rd, and over the years Greg Butler has added locations on Sawmill Road, Frantz Road, Muirfield Drive, and Dublin-Granville Road.

The business also has six delivery routes, which almost comprise a location each, Brian Butler said.

Brian Butler is using his education to add to the business as well.

“I grew up here. When I was five years old, I was sorting hangers in the plant for a quarter an hour,” Brian said.

Brian Butler graduated from Ohio University in 2000 with a degree in Management Information Systems and spent almost four years selling computer software.

“I really liked that job, but I wanted to move into business for myself,” Brian Butler said. He is using his skills to add to the business in his own way.

“I’ve taken those skills and written www.dublincleaners.com,” Brian Butler said. He is working on integrating accounts payable, accounting, and payroll into an in-house system.

“I’ve hooked up the first real live local area network here at Dublin Cleaners, so one computer can print to another” he jokingly added.

Brian Butler said the benefit of working in a family business is flexibility. He said he feels like he has a lot of room to work and his father steers him carefully.

“There’s a little bit of my enthusiasm and his experience, which helps us keep each other in check,” Brian Butler said.

The group also pointed out it is not just a family-owned business but a family-employed business as well. “I have a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, who work with us, but there are even larger families within the staff than ours,” Brian Butler said.

There are many groups of husbands, wives, and children who work for Dublin Cleaners. “We really are a family business,” Greg Butler said.

“There are seven people still working here who worked for my father, and at least half of our employees have worked here for more than ten years.” The business started out with six employees and has grown to about 70

“We’ve had a pretty good time,” Greg Butler said. “We’ve been very lucky and very successful.”

Reprinted courtesy of Suburban News Publications, Copyright 2003.

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