Frank B. Slater founded company with a new building on Ross Avenue in Dallas in 1907. Within three years, he bought out the W. B. Fishburn Cleaning Company in Fort Worth. In 1913, a new plant was erected on Ross Avenue, complete with stables and hayloft. These were necessary for the horse drawn vehicles. The company, using the Fishburn name, had begun daily pick up and delivery services, which continue today, but now they are motorized.
The company expanded in 1926 with another new building on Ross Avenue. It included a large sales area with custom paneling and inlaid woods, custom etched glass, and marble flooring. These adornments have been cared for lovingly, and can still be seen today. With this new appearance, Fishburn coined the phrase, “Not how much, but how good.”
After World War I, Fishburn and other leaders formed the Mundatechemical Society and developed the Stoddard Solvent, which reduced fire hazards when using petroleum solvents. This new safety product was given to the entire cleaning industry. Fishburn was also a leader in cold storage vaults for garments, heirlooming service for bridal gowns, and the “Adjust-A-Drape” method of blocking drapery to original length and recreating the designer fold.
Later Frank’s three sons, Denys, Vernett, and Orval, joined the business, which expanded to other Texas cities. It acquired the Oriental Dry Cleaning Company in 1931, and added laundry service in 1937. It opened its first branch on Oak Lawn Avenue near Lemmon. It continued to grow, acquiring the Ideal Laundry Company, Progress Laundry Company (1963), and Zenith Cleaning and Laundry (1965). Denys Slater, Sr. became president and chairman in 1945, and Vennett Slater in 1972. Denys, Jr. took over in 1981.
The original building is now part of its cleaning plant, and the early stables and hayloft are still evident. The company now has four plant sites and 19 retail locations, ten routes providing bonded pick up and delivery service, and over 220 employees. This pioneer Dallas business has come a long way.