Dry Cleaners Feeling Vast Impacts of COVID-19

Dee Independent Cleaners on East Superior Street in Duluth has been getting tough stains out of clothes for nearly 40 years, but the hurdle of COVID-19 is like nothing they've seen before.

DULUTH, Minn. – The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic can be crippling for many business sectors including local dry cleaners.

Dee Independent Cleaners on East Superior Street in Duluth has been getting tough stains out of clothes for nearly 40 years, but the hurdle of COVID-19 is like nothing they’ve seen before.

Owner Shari Swenson says the need for dry cleaning dramatically changed after the pandemic hit because so many people were forced to work from home.

“Everybody works in comfy little yoga pants and t-shirts it has been an adjustment and we hope, you know, we’ll keep our heads above water,” says Swenson.

There was, however, a spike in business early on involving bedding and drapes once people realized they’d be at home for a while.

Swenson says historically, world events like Desert Storm and 9/11 slowed business for a short time because this is new territory.

“We haven’t put 39 years into this business to let COVID-19 be the end of us. So we’ll just keep plugging along and we have very loyal customers so we just keep our fingers crossed and take one day at a time,” said Swenson.

Right now, the dry cleaning side of the business is operating two days a week, where people can drop off any time, and the laundromat side open six days a week and closed on Sundays.

All the employees are back to work, but with limited hours.

Dee Independent Cleaners’ other location, Manor Cleaners, which is located at Mount royal in Duluth is also open but operating at two days a week.

 

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