One of the challenges of owning a dry cleaning business is dealing with dozens and dozens of abandoned items each year. It’s not unusual for a certain amount of ties, button-up shirts, expensive suits, and even wedding dresses to hang on the racks for months without being picked up. Sometimes it happens because the owner has moved. Other times (s)he simply forgot about the garment. Or, sadly, our customer has passed away. Whatever the reason, abandoned items tend to accumulate in this business if they’re not addressed.
So where do all of those clothes and household items, such as comforters, go? They’re almost always donated, but only after the item has been left for at least 30 days and after several attempts have been made to contact the owner. Over several weeks, we make phone calls, send emails, and mail postcards asking that the item(s) be picked up and providing notification that the property will be disposed of if no response is received. After we have exhausted all methods of contacting an owner, our employees have the option of purchasing the item at cost of the dry cleaning bill. This might take care of a few items each year, but not many. Everything else is donated to a variety of organizations, including Goodwill and Ladies of Charity off Baxter Ave. Sometimes a small production company stops by and requests clothing donations, which will be turned into costumes for an upcoming performance. Sometimes a local restaurant will ask for white button-up shirts for their new wait staff. Abandoned property is NEVER thrown out. We do our best to find homes for anything that isn’t picked up.
The loss in sales for this abandoned property averages to be about $1,000 per year for Crown Cleaners. That figure doesn’t factor in the space used to store these items, nor the time Crown staff spends trying to notify the owner. While it isn’t a large amount of money, imagine what an extra $1,000 a year would do for your family, business, or organization.