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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.

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Convenience to the Rescue

By John Paul Roggenkamp

 

The explosive rise of the gig economy (which largely hinges upon providing convenient solutions to common challenges), the acceleration of the work from home trend, as well as loosening social standards for formal and business attire are all impacting brands, markets, and – yes – drycleaning. With a deadly virus still active in communities across the country, drycleaners will likely need to adopt a range of convenience-oriented and contactless solutions (such as route-based as well as curb-side garment pick-up and delivery). Wash-dry-fold (WDF) has become a particularly viable option for many drycleaners keen on expanding markets and boosting sales. DLI asked four leading figures in the drycleaning industry for their views on the benefits and drawbacks of the shift to convenience. Some of their insightful responses are presented below.

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Working Together to Overcome the COVID-19

Everything changed as Spring was starting. The novel coronavirus epidemic bloomed into a full-blown global pandemic and the economy stalled. Drycleaning sales across the U.S. and world dropped as much as 85% virtually overnight. The industry has since been in a long, slow recovery. This downturn is lasting longer than most drycleaning business owners first imagined.

 

From the start of the pandemic in mid-March, DLI began an ongoing effort to offer a host of COVID-19 updates and links to all professional cleaners DLI could reach, members or not. DLI quickly decided that COVID-related information was too important to the public health to restrict to members only and should be openly shared with the entire industry.

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