Tuesday, August 01, 2017

"Lost our parking, store closing," says Reeder's Cleaner of Spring Street location in New Albany.

At least I assume Reeder's has closed its Spring Street location; so said the signs, but I haven't walked up that way lately to double check.

Speaking personally, while I haven't used dry cleaning services for many years, I was always struck by the sign above the door.

When the former James the Cleaner became Reeder's perhaps a decade ago, "James the" was whited out, but the name "Reeder's" never was inserted into the top half of the sign, which read "(Blank) Cleaner."

This omission suggested to me that Reeder's wasn't ever counting on walk-up sales, or more accurately, drive-by sales of the sort that would inspire someone to impulse-clean a suit or sweater.

Few drivers on a multi-lane, high-speed, one-way street would see the sign, anyway. In short, Reeder's surely inherited a customer list and continued to serve its needs, and long-term patrons (read: older ones) would be accustomed to parking where they always had, by the curb, arguably unwilling to walk a few extra steps to a surface lot.

It all makes sense, though as the article below points out, the dry cleaning business as a whole nationally already has shifted into an aggressive, adaptive survival mode of the sort calculated to create new customers, not merely serve traditional ones.

In an ideal world of free-market capitalism (not necessarily the one we inhabit), this adaptability is a critical component, but of course individual results can vary. Know that I hate to see any business close, but I'm a bit skeptical that this closing has only to do with parking.

Dry cleaners, seeking new ways to survive, take inspiration from restaurants and retail, by Becky Yerak (Chicago Tribune)

Have you ever wondered what happens to your clothes when you drop them off at the dry cleaners? Since 1998, the number of dry cleaners in Illinois has fallen nearly every year, requiring the industry to respond to pressures. 

 ... Hundreds of dry cleaners in Illinois have closed in the past two decades, but (Rafiq) Karimi's Westchester-based CD One Price Cleaners is among those trying to adapt in an industry that, despite a rebounding economy, is shrinking like wool in hot water.

To iron out their problems, dry cleaning businesses, from small operators to the 36-store CD One Price Cleaners, are trying several new strategies ...

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