- THE SHIRT OFF YOUR BACK: Mike Stienke will launder it.
There was a time when most men got their shirts back from the laundry folded. Only wealthy sophisticates paid extra to have their shirts returned on hangers. Those days are gone — it's now cheaper and less trouble to put shirts on hangers, and most customers prefer them that way. But an always out-of-step editor hadn't realized the extent of the change until recently, when the laundry and cleaners he was patronizing hinted that perhaps he might take his shirts for folding elsewhere. He did, and he discovered Comet Cleaners, whose Riverdale store is home to the redoubtable Jennifer, an Albert Pujols of shirt-folders (also the only person in the store who knows how to operate the folding machine). Obviously, that's not the reason Arkansas Times readers chose Comet as Best Cleaners, but it's important to the editor. Who's not allowed to vote, incidentally.
Comet is a franchise. Mike Stienke owns seven Comet stores in Little Rock, two in North Little Rock, one each in Sherwood, Benton, Bryant, Searcy and Pine Bluff. His father was in the cleaning business. Now his two children are. And, “We have some longtime employees. I think that's what sets us apart.”
UPDATE: Jennifer has been hampered by injury lately, and shirt-folding has been no more available at Riverdale than at other shirt-laundry establishments. There's hope she'll return. Comet is still the people's choice, in any case.