BOB KOTCHENREUTHER of CLEVELAND PARK VALET
Interview by By Cara Ciullo
How did you get into this type of business? When did you open up your shop in Cleveland Park? What inspired you to open in Cleveland Park?
Forty years ago, Bob Kotchenreuther dated the daughter of Seymour & Francois Weinstein, the original owners of Cleveland Park Valet, and starting helping out at their dry cleaning-shoe repair shop on weekends. Though the young romance came to an end, Bob’s dedication to and love for the Weinstein family, shop [ask him about his Cleveland Park Valet tattoo!], and Cleveland Park community has remained steadfast. Bob took over the business in 1995 when the Weinsteins retired and has spent 70 hours a week in the shop serving our community ever since.
Cleveland Park Valet is a family affair in that Bob has had his sister, Debbie; mother, Doris; wife, Laura; dopplegänger best friend, Peter; children; nieces; nephews; and more all serving beside him. Even more, Bob treats his customers like family which is why neighbors like Isabel Taylor (pictured) have supported the business since it opened in 1979. Mrs. Taylor stops in most days just to say hello and says of Bob, “there are not many people as kind and thoughtful.”
Tell us a few things about your business that people may not know.
- Cleveland Park Valet provides a variety of services to the Valet’s customers including dry cleaning and laundry, sewing and alteration, shoe repair, key cutting, and notary services. Consider it a one-stop shop.
- Come inside to see which shops lined Cleveland Park’s main street in 1979 and 2015. Bob intends to have another mural painted in 2035.
- Cleveland Park Valet’s long-time shoemaker, Francis Turcotte, is now 99 years old!
- The Valet won “best in show” during Cleveland Park Main Street’s Holiday Lights competition this past December 2021. Bob proudly reports, “I wanted it this year.”
Tell us a funny fact about your business and/or the funniest thing a customer ever did or said.
A customer dropped off a wedding dress to be cleaned TWENTY YEARS AGO. Bob continues to hold onto it for fear that she’ll walk back in the door to claim it the minute he gets rid of it.
Cleveland Park Valet, 3303 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Monday-Friday 7AM-7PM, Saturday 8AM-5PM, Sunday Closed