from the WFAA website article on Tuesday, July 10th
Not a dry eye could be found in Snider Plaza Monday morning, as Marzella Fox, surrounded by her long-time Turner’s Cleaners customers, began a new legacy at Bibbentuckers.
John Palms, president and CEO of Bibbentuckers, along with staff and dozens of loyal Turner’s patrons, greeted Fox Monday with a surprise party welcoming her to her new position.
“It is a privilege to welcome Marzella to the Bibbentuckers family,” said Palms. “I’ve always thought we had great customer service, but we are humbled by the remarkably high standard of care that Jay and Marzella Fox demonstrated year in and year out. We are already learning so much from her.”
Through teary eyes, Fox embraced Palms’ greeting and hugged her friends, as they dropped in to make her feel welcome on her first official day at Bibbentuckers.
“It has been hard, losing Jay and deciding to close our business,” she said. “But I am so happy and excited to continue to be involved and am grateful to Bibbentuckers for the opportunity.”
Turner’s Cleaners closed its doors last weekend after serving as a mainstay of Hillcrest Road near SMU since the 1940s. Marzella and her husband, Jay, ran the popular dry cleaners for nearly 30 years, after succeeding Jay’s mother, who had run it since the 1960s.
Jay and Marzella established a thriving business, forging long-term friendships with generations of Park Cities families and setting a standard of exceptional care for garments… and most importantly, their owners. Word of mouth referrals grew their business by five or six new customers per week, with a solid customer base of nearly 500 people, many of whom sent Christmas cards – still posted on the counter in the old un-air conditioned, glass-front shop. The Foxes grew their business the old fashioned way: remembering their customers by name, treating them like family and providing consistent quality week after week, month after month, year after year.
Until Jay passed away unexpectedly toward the end of May.
The sudden loss sent shockwaves through Marzella’s life, and through the loyal customer base. “Not customers… friends,” noted Marzella.
Marzella tried to keep the cleaners operating as it always had – Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. That goal was made easier, thanks to the unsolicited help of many of her customers, even new ones.
“In the days after Jay’s death, I was so surprised by how many of my customers – my friends – came by and offered to pitch in,” said Marzella. “They spent hours helping me run the store. They weren’t asked; they just stepped up. It was amazing.”
After a few weeks, however, reality began to sink in and Marzella started to think about selling her cherished dry cleaners.
“I wanted to find someone who would treat our customers with the same level of care that we always have,” said Marzella. She opted to contact Bibbentuckers, which has a Snider Plaza location less than a block south of her store.
Without hesitation, Palms agreed to acquire Turner’s. He also extended an offer Marzella couldn’t refuse: working as many hours as she wished at Bibbentuckers’ Snider Plaza store.
“Jay and Marzella Fox have been role models in the dry cleaning world for their wonderful tradition of caring for their customers,” said Palms. “It’s an honor for Bibbentuckers to welcome Marzella and Turner’s Cleaners to our family.”
Marzella says her customers have been very supportive of her decision.
“I’m glad to be joining Bibbentuckers,” she admitted. “If I had just closed our doors and walked away, it would have been another huge loss. These are my friends. This is my community. It’s a blessing to be able to continue serving everyone.”