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Pressed to stay open, Hampton Roads dry cleaning chain steams along with federal program

Posted at 12:56 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:38:51-04

NORFOLK, Va- With the majority of the population working from home, dry cleaners aren't exactly as relevant as they were pre-Coronavirus.

"When this all started we were feeling the crunch in sales and knowing we couldn't keep going, " said Linda Henderson Executive Vice President of Albano Cleaners.

In mid-March, the 85 year old dry cleaning chain was pressed to stay open.

" We were well below 2/3 of our sales," said Henderson. "Most of our clientele is people that work in offices or church worshipers or educators and all of that shut down."

So that meant 8 of the 18 locations temporarily closed, and 50 of the 111 employees were told they weren't needed at the time.

"The company has been here a long time we didn't want to let things go," said Henderson.

To iron things out, Albano's took part in the federal Payroll Protection Loan Program. A provision of the CARE act that offers forgivable low interest loans to small businesses facing uncertainty.

"It's helping us with salary part of it payroll part of it, and what are stores able to do is helping with overhead cost," she explained.

The cleaners has now worked out the wrinkles, which means the entire team is back to work, to steam, press and starch whatever comes through the doors these days .

"We have bringing in their comforters, their drapery, curtains and rugs," said Henderson.

Henderson says to give customers an added peace of mind everything they wash is treated with a product called Vanguard that is antimicrobial and antibacterial resistant.

"With all the germs and sneezing these days it kills everything during the process," says Henderson.

Giving customers protection and employees a paycheck during this unprecedented pandemic.

For more about Albano's Cleaners click here.