Swan Saves Santa


Jolly Old St. Nick holds a lot of messy kids on his lap at Christmas time. Over the season, his Santa suit gets a work out. As Santa says: “we get some drool, dribbles and drops” on the suit. On occasion, a sticky lollipop is involved.

Plus with a belly his size, it is no surprise that Santa himself likes to snack. You might say that Santa Claus is the original foodie. Some of those treats are bound to spill down the front of his suit.

Santa’s suit is very important to him, and his job. It’s more than just a uniform…that red fur suit is iconic. That’s why it needs to look its best!

Kris Kringle can’t trust just anyone to clean & press his favorite outfit. Here’s a fun story of how Swan Cleaners saved Christmas for one special Santa.

Santa Dean Mark has been on the job for 24 years. After a career as a police officer in Fredericksburg, Ohio, Officer Dean traded in his handcuffs for hugs! The moment he put on the big red suit, says Santa, he was transformed by the spirit of the children!


After Christmas each year, Santa generally has his special suit cleaned and pressed. That way, he’s all set for the next year. But this year as Santa reached into the closet, he realized that he had not had his suit cleaned from last year. Apparently Santa procrastinates too!

Santa Dean had a calendar full of Christmas appearances on the horizon, but nothing to wear! What’s a jolly old elf to do? Like most of us, Santa turned to his friends for advice.

He reached out to his peers at the Buckeye Santa Meeting. Yes, really! Santa asked the others where they take their suit for the best care and service. He was worried about the soft fur on the sleeves and collar. They all pointed him towards Swan Cleaners.

Wonderful, he thought until he realized that all Swan Cleaners stores are in Columbus. Santa Dean, as you recall, lives over 2 hours away in Fredericksburg. Santa knew he and the reindeer would look a little conspicuous landing on the roof of the store. He needed to find another way to get that suit to Columbus.

A panicked Santa quickly Googled: Swan Cleaners for help! A desperate e-mail came in through the Swan web-site. Santa explained his dilemma, and asked for help. Swan Vice President Brady Armor knew just what to do!

Instead of the sleigh, Brady suggested that Santa send his suit via UPS. The soiled suit arrived in Columbus the next day, and the Swan elves went straight to work. Angie Moss at our Kingsdale store in Upper Arlington cleaned and pressed the suit, with extra special care for the white fur.

Once the suit was looking like new, Angie carefully packaged it up to send back to Santa. She even included some Cheryl’s cookies – Angie knows how to stay on the good list! The suit was back in Santa’s hands in just a few days, and well in time for the start of his busy season!


Santa Dean sent another e-mail to Swan Cleaners (Santa is very tech-savvy) to announce that his suit had just arrived, and looked like new! He thanked Brady and Angie for the amazing service, attitude and turn-around time. Said Santa: “You never hesitated to give me a positive feeling that my suit, which is so important to me, was in the best of hands!”

Santa Dean is now busy with parades, Christmas tree lightings and school visits all around northern Ohio. He even roller skates in uniform at the local rink during a special holiday event! No doubt he will be looking sharp in his bright red suit with bright white fur trim!   Wonder if he wears bells on his skates?

Back here at Swan Cleaners, we’re busy getting your clothes ready for fun holiday parties and wonderful family traditions. We’re prepared for whatever holiday stains you bring!

During this busy holiday season, we hope you took a moment to enjoy our story. Watch your inbox on 12/17 for another holiday treat. We’ll share our special version of the classic poem The Week Before Christmas written back in the 1950s especially for Swan Cleaners.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and all the best in 2016!


Have a questions or comment? E-mail me at andra@swancleaners.com

My name is Andra Gelpi Gillum. I’ll be your blogger. I’ve been around the clothing care business most of my life. That’s because Swan Cleaners president and owner, Paul Gelpi is my step-father. While you may have talked politics or sports around the dinner table, we discussed dry cleaning and clothing care. I also worked in the business for many years from counter person as a teenager, up to Communications Director and Vice President after college. I now stay home with my kids, and work as a free-lance writer. I am thrilled to be back writing for Swan Cleaners. I look forward to learning and sharing all sorts of facts and insider information about fashion and clothing. What woman doesn’t love clothes? Of course, we won’t leave the men out. Our topics will apply to men and women. We all want to look our best! At the start of each month, we’ll feature a fashion or fabric hot topic. Please check back soon to stay in the know on what to wear and how to care for all of your beautiful clothes!