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Restoration business employs 15
Started 2 years ago in backyard
pic RGR-1 lt
John Vigallon, who is vice president of Revival Garment Restoration Inc., points out at the boxes of clean and refurbished goods in the Lathrop warehouse thats ready for shipping out. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

LATHROP - John Vigallon and Stephen Crotty launched Revival Garment Restoration Inc. about two years ago.

So far they’ve bucked the odds by flourishing during some tough economic times. From a humble backyard operation, this family-owned and operated business has quickly expanded into a Lathrop warehouse in about a year. Couple that with the recent acquisition of a nearby dry cleaner.

“At RGR, our motto is ‘A Higher Class of Service,’” Vigallon said last Tuesday. “We stand behind it.”

RGR specializes in cleaning and restoring fabric or textile salvaged from incidents related to smoke, fire, water, and mold.

“We work mostly with insurance and restoration companies,” said Vigallon, who, along with his son-in-law Crotty, handled some of the cleaning and scrubbing when the business first kicked off.

He noted that RGR currently employees 15 to handle the day-to-day operation.

When it comes to restoring personal property, Vigallon pointed out that some items such as stuffed animals might have sentimental value.

RGR also cleans and refurbishes shoes, clothes, bags, bedding, area rugs and draperies, to name a few, responding to the emergency within two to four hours while completing the process in about a day or two.

Crotty, who is the president of RGR, and Vigallon understand that no two jobs are the same. Yet they do their best to handle each claim with as much care as possible.

They’ve also expanded their coverage area to include all of the Central Valley and Northern California. “We have clients from Reno to Bakersfield,” Vigallon said.

Crotty had the restoration background prior to starting up RGR. He worked at Blue Sky Cleaners, where he was tech / inventory worker before being promoted to project management.

Vigallon, who grew up in the Bay Area but raised his family in Manteca – he’s been a resident here for the past 32 years – was once a drug and gang counselor. He also traveled, going to the various schools from throughout the state to work assemblies.

But the recent state budget woes forced public schools to eliminate his services, leaving Vigallon without a job.

It wasn’t long before the former motivational speaker was forced to pick himself up from the doldrums of not working. “My wife (Julie) told to me that it was time for me to practice what I preached,” Vigallon said.

He found employment at an environmental testing company.

When Crotty learned that he was losing his work benefits, the two decided to enter into business together.

“Steven was the one who knew all about the restoration business,” said Vigallon, who proved to be a fast learner.

They got by on borrowed money – Vigallon said it was a “few $1,000”– and did the grunt work in his backyard cabana.

Crotty used a few of his contacts early on. But marketing on their part coupled with word of mouth helped expand the business.

“We moved into a 3,000 square-foot area (warehouse in Lathrop) but outgrew it in two months,” Vigallon recalled.

He added, “We rented 3,000 square foot and then another 1,500 square foot – our building is now full.”

In addition, Vigallon and Crotty relied on Craig and Evelyn Moser of Lathrop Cleaners to handle their dry cleaning. Not too long ago, RGR was able to purchase the business from the retiring Mosers.

“We’ve grown by leaps and bounds in such a short time,” said Vigallon, who entered the business venture at an age when people contemplate retirement. “It’s been a great ride.”

Revival Garment Restoration Inc. is located at 17612 Murphy Parkway, Lathrop. For more information, call (877) 792-7029 or log on to