GREENBELT, Md. — ZIPS Dry Cleaners, a 24-store chain based in the Baltimore/Washington area, recently collected a record number of garments to help consumers affected by the economic downturn.
In addition to offering free cleaning to the unemployed before job interviews, the company held its Will2Work Clothing Drive in June, collecting more than 5,000 suits and other garments to provide disadvantaged adults with professional attire to wear on the job or to interviews free of charge.
“We ask for gently used work attire and apparel for men and women, collect the clothes, clean them and give them to Goodwill,” says Chris Allsbrooks, ZIPS’ director of training operations. “We’re trying to help people out a little bit — it’s not just clothes we’re collecting, but clothes people can wear to work.”
This is the fifth year ZIPS has held the Will2Work drive. One donor the program helped get a job in a previous year drove more than an hour to donate her clothes back to the program.
The chain participates in a number of clothing-related charitable efforts. ZIPS collects winter clothing for homeless veterans and their families, and collects and cleans 7,500 to 10,000 prom gowns, tuxedos and accessories every spring as part its Cinderella project.
In conjunction with partner State Farm Insurance, the chain rents space at a hotel where young people can “shop” for formals. “You wear stuff like that once or twice and never wear it again,” Allsbrooks says.
A one-price operation that moved into franchising four years ago, ZIPS now has 24 stores and will open at least two more by the end of the year. The franchise operates throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and is now moving into Pennsylvania.
For more information about ZIPS Dry Cleaners, click here.