Making a living as a carpenter and a seamstress in post war Te Awamutu wasn’t easy, and with 6 children to feed, Ray and Joan Pryor moved their family closer to Auckland. As a result the Papakura Dry Cleaning Co. was established in 1951.
With a small hand built plant, the company set its roots firmly in Papakura providing drycleaning services to the growing local community. Their first commercial client of size was the Papakura Army Camp.
Business flourished through the 60s, and all the family were kept busy either working at the main plant, or at 1 of the 5 factory outlets all located in the Papakura area. However, with the trend towards casual clothing, wash and wear polyester and with washing machines becoming both affordable and easy to use, business started to decline.
With personal drycleaning decreasing, the range of services offered needed to be extended, so in 1983 Papakura Dry Cleaning added the growing Apparelmaster workplace rental and laundry solutions license. As a result a new plant was established at Great South Road, Takanini.
With the passing of Joan and Ray in 1985, Owen Pryor became the sole director. With the Apparelmaster license now firmly in place, Owen took the business to a new and exciting level, servicing the needs of commercial and industrial organisations throughout Auckland; many of whom remain as loyal customers today. Expansion and growth over the years has seen the company mature to become one of the leading industrial textile care companies in Auckland today, adding complimentary services along the way such as embroidery and staff room locker supply, rental and installation.
It wasn’t long before the company out grew their Great South Rd plant, and in 2001 they moved to a purpose-built factory in Takanini School Road – a great way to celebrate 50 years in business. And to further recognise the successful Apparelmaster partnership, The Papakura Dry Cleaning Co became known as Pryors Apparelmaster.
Staying abreast of new technology gives Pryors Apparelmaster a real edge and all the senior team are regular attendees at the international Clean Show, held bi-annually in the USA; Clean Show is an international trade show specifically geared for the laundry industry.
Investing in new technology (much of it seen in operation at Clean Show) such as their new state of the art German Engineered (CBW) Centrifugal Batch Washer and 2x 120kg dryers with loading/unloading conveyors, has increased servicing capacity, reduced water & heating costs and crucially improved the garment life and wash quality.
Further investments in technology over the years include: Garment Folders, an overhead bagging systems, garment Tunnel Finisher. Every garment processed through the plant is individually identified with a unique barcode, improving stock control & tracking. A heat exchanger was also installed to reduce energy costs & re-use energy in the plant.
The team at Pryors Apparelmaster are very proud of the plant, and invite any customer to visit for a personal tour of the plant.
Papakura Drycleaners started as a Pryors family business, and the same core values and principles are upheld today through Owen’s daughter Emma and son-in-law Brett Homan at the reins. Both share the same passion for growth and pioneering spirit that the company was founded on by Ray and Joan back in 1951.