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From the President

Jess Culpepper, DLI President

My name is Jess Culpepper and I am a drycleaner. There I said it. It sometimes feels as if we are addicted to our work and in need of intervention. In my case it is more of an allegiance and appreciation for this industry that has provided four generations of my family with an opportunity to live the American dream. For this next year it will be my privilege and honor to serve as DLI President. Culpepper Cleaners was started by my grandfather, Henry Allan Culpepper, in 1911. My dad, Richard Culpepper followed in 1949, I in 1978 and my son Ethan in 2011, representing our fourth generation.

As I write this, all of us involved in this line of work have been experiencing the Covid-19 business blues for over five months. Our industry, drycleaners and allied trades alike, have been hit hard economically from the effects of the social distancing rules and regulations put in place. While many people stay at home and work, drycleaners have been going to work and making the many necessary and often difficult decisions to keep their businesses open and find their way back to more solid footing.

In that time, DLI has been leading the way for drycleaners by responding to the crisis and offering members valuable information and content to help you deal with the changing and confusing business environment we were thrust into. If you have not visited the Members Only part of the DLI website you owe it to yourself to take a moment and do so. Mary Scalco and the entire DOI staff have been amazing in getting this information out to the membership. There are many helpful webinar recordings, information on government programs and policies, a link to the DLI Facebook group, as well as the other services DLI has always offered. This information reserve will continue to grow as DLI has more webinars and the government issues new guidance and rules.

Where will we be at the end of 2020 or the summer of 2021? I am not smart enough to answer that but what I do know is if you wait too long to adjust your sales you will be left behind and at a great disadvantage. Staying informed with DLI is a clear-cut way to make sure you are positioning your business to weather this slow down and be ready when business begins to return to a more normal and routine state of affairs. In the meantime, it is critical to communicate with your existing customers and keep them informed about your business. Have you changed your hours, added free pick up and delivery, are you offering discounts for frontline responders or possibly an expanded menu of services? Email, text, or call, pick one or better yet do them all. We do not have the luxury of waiting for customers to walk through our doors; we must be proactive and do all that we can to bring in business to our stores.

This too will pass in time and become a learning experience for each of us. In someway all of humanity will be touched by this, some more harshly and severe than others. I hope each of you have fared as well as can be expected. We take our work seriously but it is essential to remember that the health of your loved ones and yourself are most important.

In closing, I would like to remind you that this is your association and its purpose is to offer services, educational opportunities, and products that will assist you in making your business more successful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please feel free to contact myself or anyone at DLI on the board or staff. And remember, it’s not work if you are having fun.

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