Q4 2020

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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Q4 2020

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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Q4 2020

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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Q3 2020

Moment with Mary: Your Support Means Everything

Mary Scalco, DLI CEO

By Mary Scalco, DLI CEO

I’m sure like me you are a wishing someone would pinch you and you would wake up a find that the past few months were a nightmare. If someone would have told us in December that we’d be living through a pandemic and that the global economy would nosedive off a steep cliff, we would have laughed.

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Q3 2020

From the President: Re-define/Re-design

DLI President Dennis Schmnitt

By Dennis Schmitt, DLI President

The past four months have been unbelievable. Covid-19 has made all of us rethink our businesses, every procedure, business hours, routes, and how we advertise – as well as staffing. The most amazing thing that happened through all of this were the conference calls. Drycleaners from all over reached out to help our industry.

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Q3 2020

Disruption’s Impact on the Industry: Where Do We Go From Here?

By: John Paul Roggenkamp

Just as drycleaners were starting to adapt to laundry lockers, mobile apps, social media marketing, and the like – bam! – the entire global economy shuts down because of a virus. Talk about disruption! DLI reached out to four leading minds in the drycleaning industry to ask how they’re adapting to the many changes coming everyone’s way.

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Q3 2020

Buddy to Boss: Helping Newly Promoted Managers Succeed

Does the following story sound familiar? A hard working employee—let’s call her Debora—proves herself a great sales producer and a real “go-getter.” When a supervisory position opens up, Debora seems the logical choice for the spot. Who else could better train the staff into a mean, lean selling machine? Debora accepts the promotion with enthusiasm and everyone looks forward to great things.

Alas, the anticipated revenue boom never materializes. In fact, sales start to soften. It’s no secret why: People hate working for Debora. The result is predictable: Productivity falls. Customers flee. Profits go down.

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