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Recession Filling Pockets of World's Dry Cleaners

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The UK's Northern Echo brings us a story today about how dry cleaners are flourishing across the pond, what with "more people keeping clothes longer in the recession."

The Echo writes:

"Darlington-based Cleancare Fabrics, run by husband and wife team Debbie and Gavin Johnson, has added three people to its team, bringing its workforce up to nine.

"The firm has invested in a new machine, making its service quicker, and has expanded its services, extending its collection and delivery service for laundry and ironing into the evenings.

"Mrs Johnson, who has been running the business for three years, said: 'Our first year was okay, but in the second year we were really hit by the recession. However, we have made a strong recovery and I think we are seeing more people re-using their clothes by having them professionally cleaned, rather than buying new ones.'"

We touched on the dry cleaning business some time back, as seen through the lens of none other than George Jefferson, arguably the best-known dry cleaner to ever grace the airwaves.

It seems that some stateside cleaners were really feeling the pinch of the economic climate.

One remarked, “I continually say that it cannot get any worse, and each month it does.”

Adding to the woes of drycleaners? The price of wire hangers.

In 2008, the Commerce Department instituted tariffs on wire hangers made in China, and the price of a box of 500 shirt hangers jumped from $17.95 to $41.60. That’s a difference that can quickly add up, costing New York drycleaners an extra $500 per month.

"It costs $0.10 per hanger and just two weeks ago it was $0.04," a drycleaning shop manager told the New York Post in 2008. "Everybody is desperate right now. If I knew before, I would have bought 100 boxes."

One drycleaner told a trade magazine, “I am disappointed our government did nothing to protect US-based hanger manufacturers soon enough. I will have to raise my prices.”

Another said simply, “This sucks.”

What a difference two years makes.
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