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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, May 5, 2017 3 years ago

Clean up

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Dry cleaning firm making a sweep.

Robert Lyons' dry cleaning business, centered around the iconic brand Tide, is a on a roll.

Lyons operates Naples-based Consolidated Cleaners, a Tide Dry Cleaners franchisee. Consolidated Cleaners, in a partnership with Agile Pursuits Franchising, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, recently opened its fifth Tide Dry Cleaners, this one in Fort Myers. The franchisee has two more locations under construction, one in Naples and one in Parkland, Broward County. And it has four more locations in development, including another spot in Naples and a market debut in Sarasota.

“We are changing the culture of dry cleaning,” Lyons tells Coffee Talk. “This was an industry ripe for change and growth.”

The old culture of the dry cleaning industry, says Lyons, wasn't customer-centric. But features at the Tide stores include curbside valet services so customers don't have to get out of their cars to drop off or pick up their dry cleaning; an ATM-style system that lets customers pick up their clothes when the store is closed; and extended hours seven days a week. “We like to say 'we work on your schedule, not our schedule,'” Lyons says.

In addition to a customer-centric approach, Lyons says the Tide Dry Cleaners stores have improved the employee environment. That includes better technology, less chemicals and a cleaning center with fans in the front and back to aid ventilation. The company also offers an extensive training program.

While business is good, the core challenge, says Lyons, is brand awareness. Tide is certainly a recognizable name, but, says Lyons, “customer education is a big point,” the company is working on how to get more people in the door to try the service.

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