Members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS) met recently in Napa, CA — famous for being the heart of the Napa Valley wine region.
The group, however, toured a drycleaning business with a fine vintage — Greene’s Cleaners — the oldest cleaning company in the Napa Valley founded in 1919 by George Greene. Today, it is owned by Laurie and Alonso Corona.
During the meeting, the association honored Dave Matthews and Kyle Matthews with its prestigious Barth Award of Excellence — named in memory of Canadian drycleaner Jack Barth to recognize contributions toward the advancement, promotion and development of industry standards for wedding gown care.
The Matthews’ company, Janet Davis Cleaners of Berkley, MI, has been in business since 1938 and became a member of AWGS in 2006 when Dave Matthews’ son, Kyle, joined the company as director of sales and marketing. Over the years, both Matthews have shared many useful ideas and procedures with the group including a method for instantly locating a wedding gown at any point between accessioning the wedding gown and delivering it back to the bride.
Recently retired, Dave Matthews has been named to the AWGS position of national training director, succeeding Ken Grippi of Dependable Cleaners of Boston, MA.
The meeting additionally featured many guest speakers, including well-known wedding planner Terrica of Terrica, Inc. and Yash Patel of Be Creative 360. Topics included important trends and ideas for branding and networking. There was also a series of roundtable conversations, which gave everyone the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics, from strategic alliances with other wedding professionals to recruiting and training a reliable in-house team.
The most popular part of the weekend was the group’s self-analysis of its own strengths and weaknesses. Led by Jan Barlow of Jan’s Professional Dry Cleaners of Clio, MI, and Nadine Rana of Style and Grace Cleaners of Toronto, Ontario, members laid out an ambitious plan for the organization’s future. The progress report will be given at the group’s next meeting in February of 2024 and be hosted by Greg and Margaret Butler of Dublin Cleaners in Columbus, OH.