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Coping With COVID-19

About garment care owners dealing with the coronavirus right now

CHICAGO — When asked recently in this special 2020 American Drycleaner Your Views survey to tell us: “How is COVID-19 impacting your drycleaning business?” Here is what respondents say:

“Very hard, business is down,” says 78%. “Hard, but we’re finding ways to hang in there,” relates 21%. “It’s tough but we’re doing better than we thought,” notes 1%, and nobody resonded to “Little or no impact.” See the graphic.

The survey then asks this: “How are you dealing with COVID-19 at your drycleaning business?”

Respondents answer as follows:

• “Laying off some employees, cutting store hours.”

• “We have scaled production back by 50-60%. We have tried to maintain our business hours but with fewer employees. We are working to get the word out that we are open for service.”

• “Cutting payroll and expenses. Deferred all rents, and loans for 90 days. Only paying utilities and supplies.”

• “Family working only.”

• “Only working three days a week. Trying to stay afloat.”

• “Reacquainting myself with the joys of shirt pressing and drycleaning pressing.”

• “Calling customers that have orders in inventory and remind them to pick up. Also advertising: ‘Protect your family! Clean & Sanitize you’re clothes daily!’”

• “Retail is gone. Lucky I have a contract with a state agency.”

• “Closed til further notice.”

• “I have one plant that is high-end with good dollars per piece. Sales down by half. I laid off my shirt presser and my silk presser, so now my dry cleaner is doing everything. I still have my afternoon counter person and my route driver but I still may not be profitable.”

• “Plexiglass sneeze barrier installed at counter.”

• “We are open 1/2 days, offering curbside drop-off and pickup.”

The survey asks: “What are some of the ways your business is doing more to reach out to clients right now?”

Respondents indicate: “Making personal phone calls, texts and emails,” says 29%. “Making special deliveries and pickups,” notes 16%. “Sending out materials to let clients know of all our services during these times,” says 8%. “All of those things,” say 30%. And another 17% answer, “Other methods,” which include “Yelp ads,” and “Portable roadside signage.”

The survey also asks respondents: “How are you and your team personally coping with the coronavirus?” 

Answers, as follows:

• “One day at a time.”

• “Trying to keep social distancing, and stay healthy.”

• “It’s very tough, we’re cleaning, cleaning.”

• “Trying to stay upbeat and caring for each other.”

• “Maintaining positive attitude.”

The Your Views survey offers a current snapshot of the trade audience’s views. Qualified subscribers to American Drycleaner e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in the unscientific poll.