House Sends Out for Dry Cleaner

Posted March 22, 2004 at 6:01pm

House officials are seeking some tailor-made proposals in hope of continuing dry cleaning services on their side of the Capitol campus.

The Office of the House Chief Administrative Officer began a search for potential dry cleaners to provide services to House employees by issuing a Request for Proposals on March 10.

“The House is seeking a professional dry cleaning service provider to perform high quality services under contract to the House,” the Request for Proposals states. “These services include, but are not limited to, dry cleaning and laundry services, and repairs and alteration. These services shall include same-day dry cleaning and laundering services.”

Beth Bellizzi, the House Administration Committee minority spokeswoman, said the CAO’s search is part of the “normal contract process.”

Applications for the dry cleaning operation will be accepted through mid-June, and the contract will be awarded through Guest Services Inc., which operates the House’s food services.

The two-year contract will be awarded with the option to extend the contract for three additional one-year periods.

Virginia-based Bergmann’s Cleaners, which has operated the House dry cleaning facility since 1999 and also provides services to the Senate, will likely be a competitor for the new contract, according to Bergmann’s Executive Vice President Jeffrey Bergmann.

Under the current arrangement, Guest Services provides the employees who staff the 140-square-foot Longworth House Office Building facility, while the clothes are sent out to an off-site Bergmann’s facility for cleaning.

The CAO’s announcement was heralded by at least one House aide, who asserted the current provider has developed a reputation for poor customer service.

“I would certainly believe that staffers would be lining the hallways cheering when they leave the building because their customer service was certainly less than superior,” the aide said. “When you hand a garment to the dry cleaner, it’s with the unwritten trust that you’re going to get the garment back.”

While Bergmann acknowledged that items are occasionally lost, the chain manages more than 30 locations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, but added: “Our claims on that store are very, very low.”