CLEVELAND - Sticker shock at the gas pump, grocery store, and now the dry cleaner? A tariff on those metal hangers has some in the industry saying prices will increase. But a northeast Ohio cleaner says other things are to blame for sticker shock.
Amanda Paulus is heading back to the dry cleaner. It's an old ritual made new again.
"We had stopped doing it for a period of time just because of the cost. It can easily be $50-70 a week," Paulus said.
Dry cleaning has become a luxury for some. With fewer people using the service, and dry cleaning solvents doubling in some cases, the price for the service is creeping up. The cost to dry clean is up 15 to 20 percent in the past six to eight years.
"The reality of life is that cleaners that do not address their prices are probably not going to survive," said H. Steven Poulos, president of Blair's Cleaners.
It's survived 35 years, but it's smaller than it once was.
"I had a Cleveland chain. Those five stores closed. I had a Columbus chain and those eight stores closed," said the Canton businessman.
So many stores closed, there are four times fewer members in the Ohio Cleaners Association than 10 years ago.
Those still standing are thankful when customers who said goodbye find themselves walking back in.
"We've been able to allot our money in different activities so we can still include fun activities and do dry cleaning as well," Paulus explained.
It's an added expense, but Paulus thinks a necessary one. She said her clothes didn't last as long when she cleaned them at home.
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