Dry cleaners struggle to stay afloat two years into pandemic

Louise Gonzales of Mauer's Sanitary Cleaners in Lansing works behind a Unipress Lightning shirt pressing system, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at Maurer's Sanitary Cleaners in Lansing. The finishing machine press is one of the final steps in the dress-shirt dry-cleaning process, using steam and automation to press and starch shirt collars and sleeves. Gonzales has worked at Maurer's for about 35 years.

LANSING — Two years immediately after the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conveyors and clothing racks at Danford Cleaners are still largely vacant.

Owner June Lee has been waiting around for work to pick up ever since Michigan initially shut down in March 2020. In the dry cleansing business, livelihoods rely on in-man or woman workplaces and official situations. If folks are not dressing up, Lee doesn’t have garments to thoroughly clean.

The expected rebound even now hasn’t occurred, Lee claimed.

“The only detail I can do is preserve some income and develop considerably less bills,” Lee stated at his 809 West Holmes Road storefront. “That’s definitely all I can do to preserve my company.”

June Lee of Danford Cleaners in Lansing talks about the two-year lull in his dry-cleaning business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, outside his shop in Lansing. He's been in business for 18 years, and says the past two years have been challenging. Business has recently begun to pick up, but still isn't like it was pre-pandemic, he says.

The past two yrs have been a string of financial hardships for Greater Lansing’s dry cleansing companies, a lot of of which are little, household-run operations.

One indirect effect of the pandemic has been the acceleration of distant get the job done environments, which means much less persons are donning and cleaning business apparel.

Several workplaces have operated on-line for the better element of two a long time, and as new coronavirus variants arise, a grand return to business environments — at the very least at their past ranges — appears to be less and fewer very likely.