CINCINNATI — Business at Kroner Dry Cleaners in Cincinnati has changed since the pandemic. Just like many in the industry, they took a hit when people began working from home. President Ray Kroner says it was devastating at first.
“Originally, it was a real punch to the gut because it [business] just stopped flat,” said Kroner.
For the past 81 years, Kroner Dry Cleaners has provided its pick up and delivery services to its West End and downtown customers.
“When the offices closed, that just immediately cut that whole revenue source. We also work with a lot of the art programs in this city. And of course, they had to stop as well."
But Kroner’s business hasn’t been impacted as much as others. According to the National Cleaners Association, dry cleaners sales are down about 92 percent in some places.
“Some people that we saw weekly we now see monthly,” said Kroner. “We are starting to see a little resurgence as people are getting more comfortable with how this new life is. And we feel like we're setting ourselves up to be here when the world comes back.”
And while people continue to work from home, Kroner says they’re cleaning more comforters, drapes and dresses than before.
“People were at home and looking at their house and going, 'Oh, this is what we need to do',” he said. “And they maybe had more time to play. So, where we lost the men's work shirt or the women's suit, we gained some other things.”
Kroner is going back to the business' roots in hopes of attracting new customers. He's partnering with a downtown tailor to get your clothing cleaned and adjusted. Kroner Dry Cleaners was started by Louis Kroner Sr., who was also a tailor.
“It felt like a great connection, and it was just kind of fun that here we are coming," he said. "Like I said, 81 years full circle right back into another relationship with a tailor.”
As he works to smooth out some of the rough edges, Kroner says he’s hopeful that his business will make a comeback.
“I think we'll come through this as an industry as a business as a country,” he said. “If everybody takes it seriously and we work our way through it, I think we'll get back.”