Sinclair Skinner is perhaps best known to consumers of local media these days as the “frat brother” and political ally of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) who found himself at the center of the contracting scandal that contributed to Fenty’s defeat last year.

But before Skinner was a household name in political circles, he was a struggling small businessman, running a dry cleaning operation on Georgia Avenue for six years after leaving Howard University.

That makes this TV spot that Skinner shot in 2001 a D.C. political artifact of sorts.

Skinner said he found the tape after the death of his godmother, Donna Sanders, in January. She’s the woman at the counter in the ad clip, and Skinner credits her with keeping the business alive as long as it was. He digitized the tape and recently posted it on YouTube.

Skinner, who now works as a consultant, said his days in the dry-cleaning business have helped him put his political travails into perspective.

“Nothing was harder than cleaning grown people’s soiled garments,” he said. “There’s no articles you guys have written that will be as harsh as every day having to wake up and clean people’s clothes.”