CHICAGO — More drycleaners are saying “‘Tis the season!” instead of “Bah, Humbug!” this year, according to this month’s Wire survey. The vast majority of respondents (79.5%) decorated their stores to help spread the holiday cheer, while only one in five (20.5%) did not.
“I’m feeling very blessed to have a business [and] a roof over my head,” one respondent says. “This is not the time to feel down. We have so much to be grateful for.”
Almost half (48.7%) will offer customers exclusive specials, give gifts or send cards during the holidays, while 51.3% will not. Among the operators offering such glad tidings, slightly more (25.6%) will target their best customers, while 23.1% will offer holiday specials, gifts and cards to everyone.
“Maintaining whatever traditions you have at the holidays—gifts to customers, tips for tradespeople, employee bonuses, a holiday party for your staff, etc.—sends the message that [you] are still strong and haven’t been brought to your knees by the weak economy,” says one operator.
Asked if they think “customers are in a better mood or appreciate your services more during the holidays,” 43.6% say “Yes,” while “No” and “Not Sure” split evenly with 28.2% each. “People want to look their best at holiday gatherings,” one respondent points out.
Asked, “If you had one item you could ask Santa to bring your business this season, what would it be?” most drycleaners opted for broad improvement in sales, cashflow, customer traffic and the economy overall. Others requested specific pieces of equipment such as a new boiler, van, Versaform tensioning Suzy and a 120-inch hothead press.
Other items on operators’ wishlists included, peace, hope, “sympathetic and responsible landlords,” Chapter 7 paperwork and “someone to buy this place.” One creative-thinking operator asked for a “Debt-Eraser”—which, if it existed, would certainly be a hot item.
In spite of the economy, many respondents were optimistic about the future. “[I’m] looking forward to putting an end to 2010,” one operator says. “I do have positive thoughts that 2011 will be a better year. At least Santa still wears a suit!”
While American Drycleaner's Wire survey presents a snapshot of the audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed weekly—are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website, and is developed so it can be completed in less than 10 minutes. The entire American Drycleaner audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
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