The pandemic may have dealt a final blow to dry cleaners.
Mom and pop cleaners across the country are shutting down thanks to a change in how we work.
Let's connect the dots.
Lots of businesses were hit hard by the pandemic, but experts say COVID-19 may have accelerated the decline of dry cleaners.
The industry was already struggling before 2020.
Most workplaces were already shifting to less formal dress codes and people were buying more wash and wear fabrics. Then when coronavirus hit and so many people started working from home, business plummeted.
Now people are starting to return to the office, but not necessarily in the suits and skirts they wore in the before times. People have gotten used to the casual clothes they sported while working from home and are now looking for business clothes that are more comfortable.
And that means no dry cleaning required.
Industry experts now expect 30 percent of all dry cleaners to close in the next 12 to 14 months.
According to the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute, the real problem is not just the loss of stores but of a reliable business for immigrants.
In years past, being a dry cleaner was a promising path to a middle-class life for new arrivals to the U.S.
Now the path is looking a lot bumpier.
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