Amarillo dry cleaning businesses hurt due to pandemic

“Initially when it started it slowed business down as much as 70 percent. It slowed us down considerably.”

VIDEO: Amarillo dry cleaning businesses hurt due to pandemic

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Fewer people are dry cleaning their clothes due to events being canceled and employees working from home.

Dry cleaning businesses have seen a dramatic decrease and difference in their normal routine.

“Initially when it started it slowed business down as much as 70 percent. It slowed us down considerably. Slowly business has been coming back. It’s certainly not where it was, but it’s certainly better than we were you know in March for sure. But we’re still moving back towards where we were, before all this started,” said Cory Wilson, owner and operator of Village Cleaners.

“Initially it dropped a little bit, you know just like everybody else. You know, with the initial shock of everything,” said Nick Williams, general manager of Tide Dry Cleaners.

Staffing was impacted as well as losing customers across the board.

“But we’re able to you know, keep our staff going. We had, had a few people come and go. And we haven’t replaced some of those positions as quickly as we would of normally, due to the lack of business. But that’s kind of how we’ve been dealing with that so far. Where, we’ve got a couple spots we’re trying to fill,” said Wilson.

“Keep us pretty much fully staffed. We had to make some, like the amount of hours type of thing dropped a little bit at first,” said Williams.

“Looking at the way the unemployment and everything’s gone. And in some aspects, you know i’m kind of in a competition with the federal government for labor force in some cases. Because the way the unemployment was set up, for some people that’s more than they make in a week. That was actually a raise for some people,” said Wilson.

With the rodeo being canceled this year and events like weddings and church being postponed because of COVID-19, their customer sales have been greatly impacted.

Their businesses are slowly increasing as the school year begins again.

“I think as people going back to school, people are starting to go back to work, things are just starting to pick back up from where everybody essentially just kind of locked down and stopped everything,” said Wilson.

As students head back to school and people start getting their lives back to normal, the dry cleaning businesses are slowly seeing more in sales, but not nearly as many as before.

“It was slow. Last, since school started, that definitely made a big difference for us. Everybody’s finally getting back into their normal routine, I hope. You know, what normal is these days. So, but it’s been, it was slow and then it kind of started to spike for us,” said Williams.

These businesses have received help from the Paycheck Protection Program which provides small businesses a forgivable loan to help operate their business.

As students head back to school and more businesses start opening up, dry cleaners are slowly coming back but still not seeing the normal business they had before the pandemic started.

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