Owners of Beloved Oak Park Cleaners in Pleasant Hill Retire
Apr 06, 2015 08:14AM
● By Jennifer Neys
Sandy and Bob Kim with PH Mayor Ken Carlson at their retirement party at Kobe Japan.
By Alison Clary
Oak Park Cleaners is a mainstay of the Oak Park Shopping Center in Pleasant Hill. After 35 years, its long-standing owners, Bob and Sandy Kim, have retired. As of January 1, the smiling face of the Kims’ lovely niece, Robyn Bhak, now greets customers. Robyn says her aunt and uncle “cared for customers like their own family.”
Bob and Sandy hail from South Korea. They married in San Francisco in 1964 and worked in a bank together before opening their dry cleaning business in Pleasant Hill. They have been married for 51 years and have two children and three grandchildren. Their quality tailoring and cleaning services have kept the faithful returning back year after year, one as long as 15 years.
Robyn is delightful and has many stories to share. She fondly remembers when Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy served homemade pot stickers to tired and hungry teachers picking up dry cleaning after a busy workday and when they loaned out clean comforters to customers who brought in their own for cleaning but didn’t have back up. The couple even donated a new but unclaimed shirt to a customer of modest means whose own shirt was becoming threadbare. Indeed, the expression “they’d give you the shirt off their backs” comes to mind. All who enter get special treatment, even the four-legged variety that awaits treats from the biscuit jar on their way to the nearby groomer.
Robyn was intent on throwing her aunt and uncle a retirement party, but they begged and begged her to cancel out of concern for any expense and trouble. She reluctantly relented at first, but customers in the know implored her to reconsider a plan that couldn’t be thwarted. With help from Kobe, the Japanese restaurant next door, she threw them a surprise party instead, and loyal customers celebrated their affection for the gracious couple on March 1. Even Mayor Ken Carlson was on hand to dedicate a proclamation of outstanding service to the community.
Fortunately, Robyn proudly carries on the tradition of excellent customer service. In this day and age of tough competition, loyalty to businesses can be rare, but customers to Oak Park Cleaners come back time and time again. Robyn knows she has big shoes to fill, but says she wants “to keep the same, strong relationships with customers, just as Sandy and Bob did.”
Oak Park Cleaners, 1906 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill. 925-934-5730