The two dry cleaners in Macomb -- Apollo's and Sweeney's -- will continue to accept clothes through Friday. But after that, neither will take dry cleaning orders and both shops plan to close at the end of May.
Update 5/15/15: A new drying cleaning business will open in Macomb on Monday. Eric Blakeley will operate Macomb Dry Cleaning out of the retail space attached to his current business, Macomb Auto Parts on W. Jackson St.
The two current dry cleaners in Macomb, Apollo's and Sweeney's, have a lot in common. To start with, both businesses are run by second-generation owners and operate as drop off locations, sending garments to Quincy to be cleaned. That’s because dry cleaning on-site is expensive and there are strict EPA guidelines in place regarding the disposal of cleaning chemicals.
Both dry cleaners have also received offers from other business owners wanting to move into their locations. But the timing of their closings appears to just be a coincidence.
Apollo’s Dry Cleaning
Bill Butcher owns Apollo’s. He tried to retire a few years ago. “In 2009, when I first got out of the business, I was noticing a substantial drop off in business itself simply because professionals weren’t wearing dry cleanable clothes anymore. They were going more casual," Butcher said.
He leased the building to two subsequent dry cleaners, but both businesses failed. So he reopened the store in 2013 and Butcher said it was profitable.
Apollo’s coin laundry will remain open, but the portion of the building thtat's been used for dry cleaning will be leased to Collin’s Communication, a Verizon company.
Sweeney’s Dry Cleaning
Mark Sweeney owns Sweeney’s. He said he has also noticed a decline in the dry cleaning business. “We have a decent amount of customers, but like I said things have slowed up so it was time to move on,” Sweeney said.
He is selling the building and the buyer will keep the laundrymat open, but that person has other plans for the dry cleaning space.
“He [the buyer] is going to get it ready and fixed up to rent out," Sweeney said.
Sweeney will be looking for a new job after closing up shop.
Gap in Service
Sweeney said he does not expect it to take long before a new satellite location opens in Macomb. He said one dry cleaning business could do well in Macomb but there’s not enough demand to keep two or more afloat.
“I’m pretty sure someone is going to come in with a drop store," Sweeney said. "So there might be a couple weeks where you won’t have something, but someone will come in and do it.”
Mayor Mike Inman said conversations are already in the works to bring at least one dry cleaning business to town. He said the city along with the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDCO) and the Macomb Chamber of Commerce have contacted four entities regarding the business opportunity. Some are local and others are from elsewhere in the region.
Inman said we've become a society more about blue jeans than suits and have drifted away from having dry clean only garments to ready-to-wear clothing. But he said the business could still be profitable as a drop off site.
Inman said the goal is to avoid a gap in service by attracting a new dry cleaning business to Macomb as soon as possible.