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Embassy offers elite dry-cleaning services

“The dry-cleaning business is not so much about dry cleaning as it is about trust and connections,” said Andrew Rivkin, president and owner of Embassy Cleaners. “We are taking care of customers’ belongings, to which those customers have a personal connection.” 

It could be anything from a favorite blouse to a wedding gown. In any event, Rivkin added, the customer wants to know that you will keep track of the garment, clean it properly and have it ready on time. 

Embassy has been doing that since it opened its doors on a corner of Chatsworth and Palmer avenues in Larchmont in 1937. (That store moved a half-block to 1895 Palmer Ave. in 1992.) 

A second Larchmont location, at 19 Madison Ave., opened originally as Tennyson Cleaners – “same spelling as the poet,” Rivkin said – in 1944.  

In 2001 – three years after he bought the business, which had had two previous owners – Rivkin launched the Scarsdale location at 58 Christie Place. Late in 2023 and early this year, the Scarsdale operation moved into what has become the flagship, a roughly 8,500-square-foot, extensively refurbished space at 826 Scarsdale Ave. 

Today, he said, Embassy is the largest dry cleaner in Westchester County, one of the largest in New York state and in the top 1% of the nation, handling 8,000 to 12,000 items a week, with a data base of more than 25,000 customers. Embassy, which has more than 700 new customers, has been chosen as one of the 30 best cleaners by America’s Best Cleaners out of 30,000 nationwide. 

Rivkin put that success down to four elements – “the use of technology in cleaning and tracking the clothes, customer communications, great systems and a great staff” of 36 full-time employees – including wife Jane, who does the bookkeeping and with whom Rivkin shares a Long Island home and grown triplets. 

On a warm late-spring day, he discussed the business with Westfair at his office in the Scarsdale flagship – an airy blue and white space that seemed tailor-made, pun intended, for summer. The eight seafoam-colored Embassy delivery trucks added to the cheery, summery feel. Rivkin himself – a personable man whose conversation can range from poetry to politics – was a walking advertisement for his business in a crisp navy blazer, white shirt and jeans. Dry cleaning, about which he is passionate, is a bit of a misnomer, he said. Yes, there are clothes that are dry cleaned, using solvents that have evolved to the plant-based, eco-friendly SK4.  

But for certain kinds of garments like a white linen outfit or for customers with allergies, there is wet cleaning, which involves water and, in Embassy’s case, high-end professional products from Kreussler, a German company whose North American headquarters are in Tampa, Florida. Wet cleaning is done in special machines and uses tensioning equipment that finishes the garment by pulling it taut and blowing steam and air through it.  

But technology is not just about being environmentally friendly, Rivkin said. Everywhere you look at the Scarsdale locale, which has a separate entrance and area for custom alterations, automation is in play. A 24/7 drop-off and pickup kiosk operates like an ATM. Clothes are barcoded with fingernail-size, heat-sealed labels for internal tracking. Although there is a good deal of manual labor involved – including spot cleaning, hand-finishing, hand-pressing and tailoring – clothes are hung in biodegradable bags by machine and sent on a conveyor belt out to the trucks for 800 to 900 deliveries per day in Westchester, parts of Fairfield County, the Riverdale section of the Bronx and Manhattan. Pickup and delivery comprise 60% of the revenue, Rivkin said, with the retail stores adding another 15%. The remaining 15% to 20% is restoration work for the insurance industry, which includes garments, accessories, bedding, carpets, upholstery and drapes as well as furs and leather that are outsourced. Generally, Embassy does not handle furs. 

Rivkin started out in a different, yet related, world. Born in the Bronx, he grew up in New Rochelle and Framingham, Massachusetts, before heading off to Brandeis University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics, as a Brandeis B.A. in political science is called. He was a congressional intern on a prelaw path when the entrepreneurial bug led him to Macy’s executive training program and running a flea market business. After a year with Macy’s, Rivkin worked for other companies in the apparel industry before he formed his own business at age 32 and secured the North American distribution rights for New Boxer, a luxe Italian men’s sportswear company. 

But the apparel industry is not without its financial challenges, he said, which after a time spurred him to look for something with more stability. In dry cleaning, he’s found not only that but opportunity for growth as he looks to expand delivery and the 24/7 kiosks. 

Added Rivkin:  “We see customer convenience as an important aspect of growing our business.” 

For more, including summer specials that feature $25 off for new customers and $25 off bedding for existing customers, visit embassycleaners.com. 

by GEORGETTE GOUVEIA

To view this article click here: Embassy offers elite dry-cleaning services

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Our Customers Feedback

Steven D
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Embassy is so far above other places I’ve used that I regret not discovering them sooner. Not only is the quality of their service exceptional (right down to the hangers they use), but they’re also environmentally conscious, and so friendly. The service is efficient and they communicate well when your items are ready for pickup. I can’t say enough good things about them.
Grant J
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I’ve used Embassy Cleaners for the last eight years. They do a wonderful job. Expert cleaners of fine clothes and home furnishings and great tailors. Their service is excellent. They listen to all of my instructions and are extremely diligent.
Charles F
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Excellent experience in all respects, e.g. friendly and honest staff, quality cleaning services for my oriental rugs, reasonable pricing, helpful customer service and punctual pickup/delivery service. I will continue to use Embassy Cleaners.
Viviana G
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Excellent seamstress! And very quick work! Love them
Ivan N
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I get my dry cleaning picked up and dropped off, I love this service. Life is so busy and it’s good to be able to take my mind off certain things, like my laundry. Thanks to the whole team.
Diane C S
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Embassy is extremely professional and does excellent cleaning!!
Chris M
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Been using them for the 3 years I’ve been here. Never, EVER, had a single issue. In fact, they are the best laundry/dry cleaner my shirts and other items have ever seen. Impeccable.
Susan
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The most fabulous cleaners!!
Heidi L
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I love this service. The clothes leave dirty and are returned clean and meticulously folded. My driver is always professional and picks up and drops off each week. I never have to do laundry again!
Linda F
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Wonderful alterations done quickly at a very fair price.
David H
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Amazing business and it shows. 10/10 service.
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