Cincy Ballet wardrobes: Curtain rises on the work of Cheviot dry cleaner

By Forrest Sellers, Cincinnati Enquirer February. 8, 2018


Ray Kroner, owner of Kroner Dry Cleaners, stands amidst costumes from a recent Cincinnati Pops Orchestra holiday program. Kroner Dry Cleaners cleans the costumes and wardrobes for a number of local arts organizations. Feb. 6, 2018 (Photo: The Enquirer/Forrest Sellers)

On a given day an assortment of delicate sugar plum dresses to a life-size snowman might be found in the back of Kroner Dry Cleaners.

For almost a decade, Kroner has been the go-to location for area art organizations such as Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

“It’s a fun challenge,” third-generation owner Ray Kroner said. “We do a lot of wedding gowns and formal work, so that loaned itself to doing (this).”

Kroner Dry Cleaners, which is located in Cheviot, began operation in 1939, but it was within the last eight to nine years that it has been dry cleaning costumes and wardrobes of some of Cincinnati’s best-known arts organizations.

Kroner said it began with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

“The arts world is very connected,” Kroner said. “They were happy with us and told the (Cincinnati) Ballet, and it spread that way.”

Not long ago, Kroner Dry Cleaners finished dry cleaning an assortment of dresses for the Cincinnati Ballet that were used in a performance of “The Nutcracker.” Along this same holiday theme, an assortment of costumes ranging from a snowman to a tiara-adorned hippo were recently completed for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

“We’re in the business of complementing someone’s personality, and your wardrobe is a piece of your personality,” Kroner said. “When you get a theater (job), you’re really dealing with some characters.”

In just a few months, Kroner Dry Cleaners will start cleaning costumes and wardrobes for the Playhouse as the cycle of productions continues.

Despite the novelty, Kroner said a certain attention to detail is necessary. Costumes and wardrobes typically don’t go through the traditional dry cleaning cycle where clothing is placed on a wheel, submerged in a biodegradable fluid and then dried.

Kroner said some of the more delicate items, especially ones with elaborate beadwork, can’t be exposed to biodegradable fluids and thus require more personal attention.

“That is where time and patience come in,” he said.

However, Kroner, who also handles school drama and band uniforms, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m not surprised getting costumes,” said Kroner, who is also president of the Cheviot Westwood Community Association. “I have been working here since I was 10. I always thought we’d be well-suited for this type of work.”