Jay Melvin Honored As 2016 Chamber Business Individual of the Year
Jay Melvin of University Cleaners was named the 32nd recipient of the Chamber Business Individual of the Year at the 79th Annual Chamber Dinner Dance. The event took place on March 19, 2016, at The Natural Bridge Historic Hotel. Previous award winners were Alvin Carter in 2014 and Gregg Ammonette in 2015. One can describe Melvin in many ways—a hardworking and successful entrepreneur, a man of true character and service, a loyal friend, and a devoted leader. All of these descriptions reflect the strong impact he has had on his community and the desire he has to make it a better place.
Melvin graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1980 and began working in the VMI admissions office. He met his wife in Lexington and the couple later moved to Richmond where he was a salesman for a dry cleaning supplies and equipment distributor called Richclean. When the opportunity arose to buy University Cleaners, they moved back to Lexington to take over the business. Thirty years later, Jay still owns and operates University Cleaners, a business that has flourished from humble beginnings. His business started as a small dry cleaning and laundry service that later extended to nearby summer camps in the region and Washington and Lee University students. Melvin plans to offer his laundry services to University of Virginia students this upcoming fall. His business further expanded to include renting refrigerator and microwave combination units to students at W&L and Southern Virginia University. Nowadays these rental services reach 10 colleges and universities in Virginia.
In addition to his success as an entrepreneur, Melvin has also shown his involvement and love for the Lexington community through service. In the past he has served on the board for the Lexington Rotary Club, Industrial Development Authority, and the Lexington Police Foundation. He is currently the Treasurer for the Public Service Authority. Melvin pioneered the movement to collect initial funds for Cornerstone Bank and has been an active supporter of the establishment and his dear friend and former CEO David Grist (2013 Business Individual of the Year Award recipient). He is also on the Board of Directors for Cornerstone and formerly served as Chairman of the Board. ven after the passing of Grist, Melvin continued to provide leadership and support for Cornerstone, a testament to his commitment and loyalty to his fellow community members.