Dry cleaning business dried up in Baton Rouge

Some store owners say sales are down 20%

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 5:15pm

BATON ROUGE, La (WGMB)--When the economy gets bad, extra frills like dry cleaning can be the first to go.

Stores in Baton Rouge say while business is starting to pick up again, it's not as fast as they had hoped.

The racks are filling up again at Deluxe Cleaners.

It's good news for owner Cindy Vo, who says, this time last year, she was pretty worried.

"Big difference, last year, very slow," said Vo.

But the rebuilding isn't over.

The dry cleaning industry took a big hit from the economic downturn.

And made getting a fresh pressed shirt not a top priority.

"Because of their hours being cut, they don't have to work as much so they don't have to wear as many shirts," said Vo.

Then there's those who take the work on themselves.

"I just think they're not bringing as much stuff in, you know," said Kean's manager Davey Hooge. "They're either doing it themselves."

Kean's Cleaners is also feeling the heat.

The century old business says, not only are sales down, the clothes are piling up.

Some customers end up abondoning the orders they can't afford.

"About 90 something i guess when i first came, but then they cleared some out, now it's like 65," said Hooge.

It's up to the stores to decide how long the clothes can stay.

"Sometime you call and if I get to talk to them they'll say can we extend it another month," Vo said.

A hand up from owners who hope eventually their customers will come back for good.

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