When we finally get through this pandemic, what will the world look like? I’m not just referring to the business of drycleaning, but everything. Are we already 20 years in the future? Let’s face it, brick and mortar stores are becoming obsolete, many people are opting for online grocery shopping, Grub Hub and similar services are the norm and dictate the way we order food, buy groceries and even the way we purchase automobiles. Have you started a route yet? We can go on and on, but you get the point! The reality is that these changes were already happening, but we have entered a time warp-- 20 years down the road is today. I think we all knew this was coming, but this fast! I don’t think many people could have predicted the speed at which these changes have occurred.
What about the business of drycleaning? Is the primary function of what we do, drycleaning? Maybe, but what about laundry, wash and fold, outdoor cushions, draperies, leathers, wedding dresses, shoe repair and much more. As an industry, we need to grow and let our customers know that we are more than just drycleaners. As far as I am concerned, if the customer can wear it, we should be able to clean it. The Pandemic will not always be a factor, but the way we do business going forward has changed forever. I am not a pessimist and firmly believe there is real opportunity for our members to embrace many these changes and move forward. Many of our business models have gone out the window. We have all had to change. There will be changes in the type of clothing we clean, the delivery of our services, and the responsibility to our customers that they feel safe as they visit your store. The pandemic may be gone, but the effects of it will never really go away.
Yes, there will be far fewer drycleaners in the U.S. and the time is now to rebrand ourselves. Drycleaners are in the business of cleaning anything the consumers wear and really any textile in their home—comforters, pillows, rugs, patio cushion covers. Make sure your customers know what you can do for them. I believe there will be plenty of opportunity going forward. DLI and all its local affiliate associations have the resources to help you navigate some of the unpredictability. If you haven’t utilized our services or taken part in a peer to peer Zoom meeting, you are missing out. Helpful information is available and we want our members to utilize all of the information and resources. In the meantime, stay safe and if we can be of any help to you, please do not hesitate to call 800-638-2627.