The A.W. Zengeler Story

Back in 1857, A.W. Zengeler announced the opening of the New York Steam Dye Works located at 208 South Clark Street in the frontier city of Chicago, Illinois. He emigrated from Germany, with a thorough knowledge of the fabric dyeing business. The young Zengeler soon enjoyed a flourishing business in the rapidly growing Chicago market, which was fast becoming a busy metropolis.

In 1871, the year of the great Chicago fire, in common with many other businesses, the new York Steam Dye Works was reduced to a mass of chared ruins. The new Chicago, which rapidly sprung up after the great fire again found the Zengeler's pushing forward to establish yet another dyeing plant at Cottage Grove and Prairie Avenues, just south of today's Chicago downtown area. About this time, the dry cleaning process made its first appearance and a modem dry cleaning department was added to the dyeing plant. Both operations continued to enjoy a healthy growth.

His son, assumed the active charge of enlarging the cleaning and dyeing plant, keeping abreast of progress during the turn of the century. With the pioneer instinct still very much alive, the Zengeler's cleaning and dyeing plant operated in Lake Forest in 1904 continuing until 1925. Five years later in 1930, Zengeler and his sons were offering the Winnetka and surrounding areas a complete dyeing and cleaning service, based on an expert knowledge gained from the experience of three generations of cleaners and dyers.

During the first half of the 20th century, the company thrived under the leadership of Arthur Zengeler and Ralph Zengeler. A partner, Bob Lechner, joined in 1930 to help steer the company in new directions. His son, Larry Lechner, joined the company in the 60s. A new plant was completed in 1967 in Northbrook. The company continued to add stores, 10 in all as well as a new dry cleaning package store in Libertyville in 1998. The company also moved into uniform rental in the 1960's as the dry cleaning market softened when new "wash and wear" fabrics came to the marketplace. In 1985, the company bought Northside cleaners and uniform from Mr. Morrie Cornick and doubled its industrial routes to 10. Currently A.W. Zengeler has 15 industrial uniform rental routes.

Today, the company has divested into two with the ownership of dry cleaning division, belonging to Zengeler Family and the ownership of the industrial uniform rental division belonging to Larry Lechner and his son's Eric and Brian. Both companies bring the "best of both world's" in dry cleaning and industrial uniform rental services and use their synergy and their knowledge, experience and hard work over the past 100 years to continue to grow into the 21st century.

CSC Network—The National Alliance of Independent Launderers

With your local CSC Network member, you can get the personal service and quality that only a local independently owned company can provide, as well as the pricing power and the national presence of an industry leader.

Do local, independently owned companies really provide fairer billing, better product quality, higher quality service personnel, and (most importantly) better value for your cost? We asked companies renting uniforms from independent and national uniform suppliers and their response was an overwhelming, YES!

CSC Network is an Alliance of 170 independently owned and operated uniform, linen, facility services and other textile rental service companies, which are comprised of 230 plants and 320 operating facilities located throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Your company can have the “Best of Both Worlds" by choosing a CSC Network member who can provide national coverage without sacrificing dependable service and personalized value.