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Pandemic leaves KC dry cleaning business with loss of sales, shortages

Pride cleaners
Posted at 5:40 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 08:02:56-05

GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Dry cleaning businesses across Kansas City are struggling to keep their doors open.

For Pride Cleaners, sales have been down for nearly two years, and now they’re dealing with an increased cost in supplies while balancing a shortage of hangers and employees.

“We saw numbers nearly 80% down at the beginning of the pandemic. They since came back, but nowhere near before,” said Joe Brancato, assistant general manager of Pride Cleaners.

Pride Cleaners is one of several dry cleaning businesses that continue to feel the wrath of the pandemic, and they’re not off the hook.

Due to supply chain issues, they’re dealing with a shortage of hangers and an increase in hanger prices.

Pride Cleaners saw hanger prices surge by 30%, and in response, are now asking customers to bring back hangers in an effort to curb costs.

“We’ve received quite a bit from all the customers,” Brancato said. “I don’t know an exact amount, but it’s in the thousands range of hangers coming back.”

Customers are encouraged to bring back their hangers at any Pride Cleaners storefronts. The company then takes the hangers to their production plant in Grandview and sanitizes and reuses them.

Employee shortages are also spinning out of their control.

Pride Cleaners closed one of their two production plants in March of 2020 and were forced to lay off employees because of the pandemic.

Now, customers are being affected. Services at Pride Cleaners saw a 10% mark up.

“We’ve got a bunch of people and a high turnover. We can’t really get people in the door right now to apply,” Brancato said. “It’s caused a lot of the small mom and pop shops to close their doors. The ones with more locations, stores and more flexibility have been able to navigate through this industry."