Owner of Escalade Cleaners and Laundry in Phoenix, Arizona
Dry cleaning has been in Melissa Coborubio’s family for several generations. Even though Melissa started working with her mother in the business at a young age, she says her focus isn’t necessarily on the work itself, but on her community.
“I’m running this business because my passions are in serving customers, seeing my employees grow and develop, and being a part of my community,” she says. “It feeds my soul.”
Melissa opened Escalade Cleaners and Laundry in Phoenix in 2015. When she was ready to open a second location, she faced financial barriers despite a strong business track record.
Melissa tried unsuccessfully to obtain financing from more than five banks before one recommended DreamSpring. She received funding from DreamSpring to open the second location and has since received additional loans to help grow her business.
Since inception, donating to local charities has been a cornerstone of Melissa’s business practices. “I recognize that without my community and my customers, I wouldn’t be able to open the doors every day,” she says. Escalade Cleaners and Laundry has participated in back-to-school and clothing drives, and it offers discounts to churches and schools. The business also donates to a music scholarship fund for students at the local community college.
Today, Melissa proudly employs 25 people from her neighborhood. Many of her employees have faced difficulties finding employment because they are refugees or formerly incarcerated individuals. Melissa prides herself on giving them a chance to develop critical workplace skills.
“Seeing an employee bloom and transform into a completely different person since they were first hired is amazing. It reminds me why I do this work.”