Our Mission

Since opening our doors in 1909, S. Ray Barrett Dry Cleaners have prided ourselves on delivering the highest quality garment care and unrivaled customer service.

Practicing an uncommon dedication to customer needs S. Ray Barrett Dry Cleaners serves a diverse range of commercial and residential customers. At S. Ray Barrett’s you will find an extensive knowledge base of the care and cleaning of our garments. Every customer is our #1 priority. Our objective is to have a satisfied customer each and every time they visit our store.

At S. Ray Barrett Dry Cleaners we believe that presentation matters. We believe that details should not be overlooked and we believe clients should look their best . . . always.

Our History

Cleaning for a century.

For close to a century, S. Ray Barrett Dry Cleaners has been doing business in historic Ghent. The business started in 1909 when Mr. Barrett leased an abandoned tailor shop and paid $3.00 a week to rent an art deco building on Colonial Avenue. Over the years it had downsized to one operating plant but still maintained a fine reputation for quality dry cleaning.

In 1990, Al and Mary Keywood purchased the business. Originally from Northern Virginia, they were looking to buy a small business in Hampton Roads. After years spent relocating for their jobs, they wanted to put down roots.

“I had a coat ruined by a prominent dry cleaners, so I told Al as long as he was looking at businesses, find me a good dry cleaners,” Mary joked.

“I really don’t know why I bought it,” admitted Al Keywood, a former vice president. “I was burned out on big business. I wanted to be involved with something that was quality rather than volume oriented.”

Since taking over, the Keywoods have purchased new equipment and now offer several specialty services. Concentrating heavily on quality service has made the difference. They have branched out in wholesale service and are the dry cleaners for Virginia Stage, Virginia Opera and Virginia Symphony and most of Norfolk’s finest hotels.

Still a family-run business, S. Ray Barrett Cleaners can hold its own against the competition of budget cleaners and chain operations, the Keywoods say.

“They have no effect on us,” Al Keywood said. “We’re at the top end of the quality scale and our business keeps growing.”

“When we bought this business we decided to keep the name, because it had such a fine reputation,” Mary added. “To have survived all these years, they must have done something right. We just want to keep that going.”

In addition, when you step into the lobby at 21st Street, you will feel the difference. The lobby is tastefully decorated with antiques and the customer service will far exceed your expectations. Just another example of the Keywoods’ commitment to tradition and quality.