Local dry cleaners, Ablitt’s, upholds Santa Barbara’s legacy as a pioneer in environmental stewardship

Local dry cleaners, Ablitt’s, upholds Santa Barbara’s legacy as a pioneer in environmental stewardship
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Source: Ablitt's

Fifty years after a disastrous oil spill launched Santa Barbara as a leader in the modern environmental movement, a local, family-run dry cleaners is continuing the tradition by drawing global recognition for its pioneering sustainability practices.

Ablitt's Fine Cleaners & Tailors, an environmentally friendly cleaning business dedicated to protecting the planet as well as its customer’s clothes, is a finalist for the 2020 Global Best Practices Award in retail textile cleaning. Hosted by the Netherlands-based Comité International De L`Entretien du Textile (CINET), an international organization representing the textile industry, the awards program showcases trailblazing professional laundry and dry cleaning operations from around the world, with an emphasis on sustainability.

As a finalist, Ablitt’s will present the company’s achievements on Nov. 4 before association judges and hundreds of participants representing 45 countries from around the world. Due to the pandemic, rather than giving an in-person presentation, the Ablitt's Finalist Pitch will be live-streamed from Amsterdam. Final winners will be announced at an award ceremony the following day.

Owner Sasha Ablitt, a former systems and design engineer, says her company is proud to represent the United State and particularly the city of Santa Barbara for its environmental stewardship before the world.

“Ever since the 1969 oil spill, Santa Barbara has been a leader in striving to preserve the Earth for future generations,” she said. “As a small business, we believe strongly in that mission and are proud to contribute to our city’s reputation as a global environmental leader.”

Ablitt's is a pioneer in the use of non-toxic cleaning solutions, reducing energy and water usage, and encouraging community recycling. In keeping with its sustainability mission, Ablitt’s has developed multiple recycling programs, partnering with local non-profits, including the Community Environmental Council and Heal the Ocean, to encourage customers and the community at large to recycle. The company sponsors weekly recycling events that divert tens of thousands of pounds of plastic from landfills to flooring and furniture manufacturing.

A family-run business with roots dating back more than 100 years, Ablitt’s began in 1915 in Portland. The company moved to Seattle and finally to Santa Barbara in 1949 where it has happily remained. In 2003, Sasha Ablitt, a systems and design engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from UCLA, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, bought the business from her parents. Since then she has worked to modernize dry cleaning and implement the latest and most innovative environmentally friendly cleaning protocols. This has resulted in being recognized as one of America's Best Cleaners and a finalist for Best Practices Award on a world stage.

Ablitt’s is located at 14 W. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara. For more information, visit www.ablitts.com.

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