How I Got Here: Les Pringle

Current Position: For the last 40 years, Les Pringle has been the president of Les Pringle Service, Inc.

The Business: Pringle’s wife, Chloe, is vice president of the Long Beach, California-based company.

“I started out as an installer, and for the first twenty years, we installed dry cleaning plants. Then we switched to selling parts and rebuilding dry cleaning equipment,” said Pringle. “Basically, anything in the used department, or rebuilt or re-manufactured, we do all of that.” Laundry machines, dryers, presses, suzies, spotting boards and conveyors are re-manufactured and sold to dry cleaners. The only thing Pringle does not rebuild or remake is dry cleaning machines. “At one time we used to do dry cleaning machines but there are so many different ones, and the parts are so expensive that we couldn’t maintain a good stock to help the cleaners, so we decided not to go there.”

Although Les Pringle Service advertises throughout the United States, the bulk of their work occurs in the western states. “We’re well known in the industry. Most everybody knows we rebuild a nice piece of equipment,” boasted Pringle. He continued, “We stand behind our stuff, and our warranties are what we say it is.” He works on the equipment along with two other individuals he hired. “My main job is to go out and gather in the equipment; buy it from the dealers, from the stores that are bankrupting, or landlords where the people just walked away.”

A good portion of their business involves selling to service providers. “When they can’t find it new, they come see us; because we save heads and parts for the presses,” said Pringle.

The Early Years: Pringle was born and raised in Plover, Iowa. His father had paraplegia, and the rough mid-west winters made it difficult for dad to get outside and work. The family decided to migrate out west to the year-round moderate climate in California when Pringle was in the fourth grade.

Getting Started: After graduating from Lakewood High School, Pringle immediately went to work for his uncle who specialized in the repair and maintenance of self-contained dry cleaning machines. When the manufacturing of this particular device ceased, he went into business for himself and started Les Pringle Service, Inc.

The Lord’s Work: Other than family and business, the balance of Pringle’s time is spent in following a divine calling to Christian ministry and service. Pringle and his wife Chloe are both credentialed ministers. They have traveled all over the world ministering to pastors and church leaders. They have met and prayed with many members of the clergy. Some of the most meaningful impacts they have had are being available to listen and provide wise counsel. “We’re pretty much called to help pastors and just be an ear for them.” So far, their efforts have taken them to fourteen different countries around the globe.

Parental Guidance: The one individual who has had the biggest influence on Pringle’s life was his father. He credits dad with playing a significant role in shaping whom he has become. “He was paraplegic, but he wouldn’t let that bother him any,” recalls Pringle. “He could do more in a wheelchair than most people. He inspired me to go on and do what I had to do.”

Market Signs: Due to current wardrobe trends, Pringle admits how relaxed dress codes are negatively impacting the industry. “Cleaners are scaling back, meaning there are less and less cleaners. But there is no retiring in our business because someone will always need what we do.”

Personal: Pringle, 71, has been married to Chloe for 35 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.

About John Leano

John Leano can be reached by e-mail: Leano@BryansCleaners.com or Twitter: @JohnLeano or www.facebook.com/johngleano