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Dry cleaning business adapts in order to survive as many people work from home

Dry Cleaning
Blake DeVine/KEYT
With less people visiting their stores, Eco Friendly Cleaners pivoted to an app-based free pickup and delivery service.

GOLETA, Calif. — Working from home has meant fewer trips to the dry cleaners, as many have traded out their professional outfits for more casual attire. 

For Santa Barbara-based 'Eco Friendly Cleaners', this has dramatically affected business. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the local dry cleaning company handled several thousand clothing items each week. That’s now dropped to less than 100 pieces per day, as most clients haven’t returned. 

According to Samantha Journey and Greg Eatwell — the owners of 'Eco Friendly Cleaners' — far fewer people are getting dressed to impress. 

“People are not wearing their nice clothes,” Journey said. “The clothes that they dry clean often.”

“Business meetings are quite often now on Zoom, so you only need to wear a shirt and maybe some underwear,” Eatwell said. As a result, business is down nearly 70% for the family business compared to this time last year. 

The owners recently made the tough decision to close their downtown Canon Perdido St. storefront. This leaves them with two storefront locations — in Goleta and Santa Barbara. 

“By downsizing and reducing the amount of rent you’re paying it actually is making a big difference to reconsider the way you do things,” Eatwell said.

Adapting in order to survive, 'Eco Friendly Cleaners' has pivoted to an app-based free pickup and delivery service.

“In two touches you can request a pickup and it’ll be delivered back within three days,” Eatwell said.

“If we don’t pivot, we’re going to die,” Journey concluded. “We have to make a change and we’re going to be better for it.”

Since launching the app, 'Eco Friendly Cleaners' has experienced an immediate uptick in demand. With this in mind, the owners remain confident that their new business model in the future for dry cleaning.  

For more information about Eco Friendly Cleaners, visit ecofriendlysb.com.

Business Matters / California / Community / Coronavirus / Economy / Health / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara- S County
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX My Fox 11