CONCORD, N.C. — I recently received a phone call from my friend, Norman Oehlke. Norm probably served IFI (now DLI, the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute) in most every technical position and wrote this very column until 2008. When he speaks, I listen. Closely.
He still keeps a close eye on the cleaning industry and the changing solvents. We talked about the changes we had seen and the struggles facing owner/operators in today’s marketplace. We exchanged a few ideas and agreed that many cleaners have fallen victim to the concept of processing over pampering.
A symptom of this is that large companies have perceived there is profit in home dry cleaning kits due to consumer dissatisfaction with the quality of garment care available. Sadly, these dry cleaning kits have intimidated a number of cleaners, owner/operators who consider the end product of their service to be little better than the level of quality delivered by a rag, a bag and a home dryer.