b'NationalDecember 2019 Clothe sline Volume 61 Number 3www.natclo.comL g for the du ingookinpen lum to swThe year was 1975. A young woman any kind of career out of it. After all, that bythewash-and-wearrecessionthat of complying with environmental regula-freshoutofschooltookajobinthe was, as she remembers it, an ugly time knockedoutupwardsofhalfofallthe tions for a few years and now there is pres-drycleaning industry not expecting to make for the industry which was being decimated cleaners in the country. sure for a higher minimum wage, whichThat temporary job turned into a lifes can push up wages in general along withwork and now, 44 years later, Nora Nealis more government mandates for paid timeis the executive director of the National off and sick leave.Cleaners Association and once again sees This labor-intensive business is becom-an industry in trouble. At NCAs Texcare ing really expensive, she said.conventioninOctobersheofferedher Add to that new types of competitionanalysis of the state of the industry and for the drycleaning dollar, such as Rent thesome hope for the future. Runway and similar operations that nowIf I look at those cleaners who were rent all types of garments and handle thearound in 1975 and are still around today, drycleaninginternally.Customersdontmost recognized what was happening in even own the type of garments they used tothe market and did some things differently, take to the cleaner; they just rent them.she said. And then there is fast-fashion. PeopleSo whats happening in todays market buy cheap clothes and just toss them outand what can be done differently? insteadofhavingthemcleaned.OnceStatistics from IBISWorld, a business again, the drycleaner is cut out of the ac-forecastingservice,showthatthereare tion.about 22,000 drycleaners in the U.S. pur- Nealis said cleaners have an interestingsuing $7 billion of drycleaning revenue, ally in the battle against fast fashion. Green-she said. And while piece counts have been peace attacked drycleaners in the 1990s ondeclining the past few years, IBIS predicts environmentalissues,butnowtheyarethey will continue to drop at an even more mounting a campaign to raise conscious-rapid rate over the next five years. nessabouttheenvironmentalproblemsIts not just declining piece counts and caused by fast fashion.NCA Executive Director Nora Nealis discussed the current state and future revenue that threaten drycleaners. The cost So cleaners and Greenpeace now have apossibilities for the drycleaning industry during NCAs Texcare exposition in ofrunningabusinesskeepsincreasing. common cause.Looking for a way out of the business Secaucus, NJ, Oct. 19-20. Cleaners have been dealing with the cost Continued on page 12While some cleaners are adapting their The rational, unemotional approach in-businesses to look to the future, others are volves first talking to your financial advi-thinking it may be time to fold the tent and sor or accountant about how to maximizeretire. This means finding a buyer for the profit from the sale. In the run-up to sell-business they have spent years creating. ing, Speilvogel said a cleaner should lookBut the number-one strategy for clean- for ways to increase the value of the busi-ers looking to sell and get out of the busi- ness, maybe by adding routes or dropsness is, according to Alan Spielvogel, the stores that can boost revenue. And try toworst of all possible strategies. establish a stable management team whichI get calls all the time: Find me some- would be important for a new owner.body. I want to get out, said Spielvogel, Also consider how leases and propertytechnical services director of the National will be handled. If you own the propertyCleaners Association. do you want to sell it along with the busi-He discussed buying and selling strate- ness or do you want to retain ownershipgies at NCAs Texcare Show in Secaucus, and lease it to the buyer? If you are oper-NJ, cautioning that the knee-jerk emotional ating under a lease, will the landlord trans-get out now approach is the least desir- fer the lease to the new owner? able. You can aim to sell the business for itsWe are all victims of declining volume appraisedvalue.Theappraisalwillbeand expenses going through the roof, he based on your profit and loss statement,said. People are thinking about getting tax statements, and the value of equipmentout or finding someone who has a decent and fixtures. Assets and goodwill can bevolume that they can buy and fold into incorporated into the appraised value and atheir business. business that shows a profit will sell faster.There are better alternatives to the quick However, keep in mind that it can beexit approach, he said, but they require difficult to make an accurate appraisal andplanning and thought. that creditors will need to be satisfied uponIt usually takes three years to sell a closing of the sale. The selling price maybusiness properly, he said. Dont do any- be lower than expected.NCAs Alan Spielvogel discussed exit strategies for drycleaners at Texcare. thing emotionally. Continued on page 12Sneak Peek6 Giving second chances 16 A wish list for Santa 18 20/20 vision for 2020 34 Talking to customersRenewing clothes When it comes to James Peuster asks if Properly trained CSRsfor customers is Santa, Don you have a clear vision can talk to customersMarty Moores first Desrosiers is not for 2020 or are you with confidence aboutY job but he also afraid to ask, even just sitting back and cleaning issues whichY helps others renew for things that may waiting to see what will gain customersY their lives. not even exist. will happen.confidence, too.'