Bay Area Dry Cleaners Devastated by COVID-19 Pandemic


by Kris Reyes

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- It’s an understatement to say that some businesses have struggled during the pandemic.  The dry-cleaning business has been devastated. ABC new reporter, Kris Reyes, learned what you can do to support them.

The clothes on the racks are keeping Town & Country Cleaners open but barely.  Just ask him how much business he's lost.

Dennis Hong of Town & Country Dry Cleaners said: “Right now, about 80%. In the first three months, it was about 90... 95%”.

Kris Reyes, ABC7 News: “Before Dennis Hong agreed to our interview, I called more than a dozen other dry cleaners. Nearly half, no-one answered or the line just went dead.  Here are two San Jose examples, the store front is there but the inside, it's empty. So, this is my neighborhood drycleaners and like many people I talked to, they emerged from the lockdown, tried to go to their drycleaners and found signs like this one.  The sign reads: "Thank you for your loyalty.  We are sad to announce the closure of our store here after all these years”

“I went looking for a drycleaners the other day, and I kid you not, no exaggeration, I went to four different drycleaners before the fifth one was open.  And when I say closed, they were gone” said Christian D. Malesic, President/CEO of the Silicon Valley Central Chamber.

The National Cleaners Association represents about 1800 businesses across the country.  By their estimate, one in six dry cleaners is now out of business.

Dawn Avery, National Cleaners Association: “We missed holiday parties.  We missed table cloths and linens for the parties and all those things”.

Add to that, hotel linens, prom and wedding dresses, and you can probably guess, people don’t seem to be dressing up from the waist down.

Dawn Avery - “They’ve increased their shirts because people are dressing from the waist up because of Zoom meetings.  You know, so like, they still get shirts but they get no pants”.

Dennis Hong - “It’s just not the suits and shirts, but just the community itself, we rely on the Stanford community as well as local neighborings”.

Dawn Avery – “We have been the forgotten one.  If everyone would just bring two pieces a week in, we would be fine, we’ll survive”.

In Palo Alto, Kris Reyes for ABC 7 News.