Charlie Young, Peter Pan Cleaners & MAC Board Member
Members who have attended any MAC event in the past have probably met Charlie -- and if you have, you most assuredly remember him. He is an icon in the industry and the epitome of a drycleaner: Hard working, honest, and generous with his time and knowledge.
Charlie Young literally grew up in the industry, working in his family’s business since he was 12 years old. He started working on the delivery vans at 13 and at 16 started driving his own route. He has been driving ever since. He still talks about his early years on the family laundry delivery truck, but what really stands out is 73 years later... he is still picking up and delivering to some of the same families. The houses have passed from grandfathers to fathers to children but he has remained constant, the family laundry and drycleaner for three quarters of a century.
The houses have passed from grandfathers to fathers to children but he has remained constant, the family laundry and drycleaner for three quarters of a century.
He does note he did miss a couple years on the route when he was drafted into the army in 1952. He was stationed in Germany for 19 months where, you guessed it, he was still driving. He just traded his delivery van in for a Tank.
When asked what the biggest change he has seen in the industry over the years, he pointed to the volume of business. He used to make a stop and could barely hold all the clothes. Now it is just a few pieces and he has had to expand his territory. If the clothes aren’t coming in -- you have to go get them. That is what he does. He climbs in his gold, 2011, Towne and Country delivery van six days a week and drives 950 miles per week. On his longest day, he leaves the plant at 6:00 a.m. and returns at 8:30 p.m. after driving 235 miles. He has put over 329,000 miles on the van in the past 6 years, but don’t worry Charlie is a very smart man and bought a lifetime warranty. The van is still covered and includes a free loaner car for repairs. The last time he took it in the shop, he put 2,900 miles on the loaner car. They fix his van pretty quick now.
The business is a true family business. His daughter Rhoda, and her husband both work in the plant and have been for over 25 years. His son, Tim Young, is the key to production and is working in the plant doing all the maintenance. Charlie’s grandchildren have also been involved through the years. With 10 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren it seems he may have a another whole generation of help for the business.
Charlie celebrated his 86th birthday a little early with his industry friends at MAC’s dinner recently. His birthday falls fittingly on Labor Day. When asked about his hobbies and other interests, he is sincere in answering: “I like to work. I enjoy it. I enjoy my family and my drycleaning family. Working is what makes me happy.”
He did stun the crowd at dinner by announcing he is making retirement plans. He will officially begin his retirement in 2032 on his 100th birthday. Just like his gold Towne and Country van that he expects to drive to 1,000,000 miles, Charlie has his sights set and the determination to see it through.
He is committed to his family, the business, and the industry. He has been a member of MAC for over 35 years. He has served on the board for longer than he can remember, and the reason he does so is to give back to an industry that has been very good to him.
We can all learn a great deal from Charlie. He has spent a lifetime doing what he loves, sharing his expertise, and making the lives of those around him all the better for it. All we can do is wish him luck in his next 24 years of service!
MAC Officers & Directors 2016 - 2018
Dryclean and Shirt Salon
Allied Trade Directors
Tom Mc Allister
RR Streets & Co.
Board of Directors
Peter Pan Cleaners
Prince George Cleaners
Prince George, VA
Suffolk Quality Cleaners