Varella Cleaners: 30 Years of Sustained Success

It’s 1985. Back to the Future is a box office hit and teen beat artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Whitney Houston are stereo favorites. On a political level, Ronald Reagan is serving his first-term as United States President and a Cold War has arisen in the Soviet Union. For Varella Cleaners, 1985 marks the year they opened their doors as the neighborhood dry cleaner at Regency’s Encina Grande Shopping Center.

Framed photo of the Varella Cleaners owners.

Fast-forward through five U.S. presidents, three recessions, multiple wars and a fourth installment of a theme park taken over by dinosaurs, and you have Varella Cleaners celebrating their 30th Anniversary.

Varella Cleaners is owned and operated by husband and wife, Woo and Hyang Lee. The cleaners are one of the original tenants found in Encina Grande, which was acquired by Regency Centers in 1997. Owner Woo Lee is now seeing his third generation of customers from the same families. We asked Hyang Lee, co-owner with her husband Woo, what it took to sustain success for three decades and what that’s been like for her and her family.

“You have to stick to it!” Hyang exclaimed with a light chuckle. “This is a great area, and a great center. It helps that there are no major problems to deal with. The community is safe and stable, which has allowed for just about two and a half generations of people that still come to our store. It feels very close and connected, and more than just a business.”

The business operates in a 2,500 sq. ft. space within the 114,844 sq. ft. shopping center located in Walnut Creek, California. Encina Grande is currently undergoing a substantial face-lift and will include the addition of specialty grocer Whole Foods Market, exterior and landscaping upgrades and a new building and location for current tenant, Walgreens.

To celebrate its 30th year in business, Varella Cleaners will be giving out $30 of store credit to one winner, every week from 6/2/2015 to 6/2/2016. To find out more about the contest or center updates, please visit Encina Grande on Facebook.