“We can’t pay the rent. We can’t pay the bills. We cannot. No, it was very, very, very difficult,” said Maria Landazabal. During the height of the pandemic, with so many people working from home and many events canceled, there wasn’t much of a need for dry cleaning and tailoring. They closed for six months. They managed to survive by shifting to more laundry services. Some grant money also helped, but other similar businesses in Queens were not as lucky.
Iris Cleaners and Tailors in East Elmhurst has been in business for more than 40 years
After a tough year, business is starting to improve as more New Yorkers head back to the office
The Queens Chamber of Commerce says many dry cleaners and laundromats in the borough went out of business during pandemic What You Need To Know
Landazabal’s parents started the business more than 40 years ago after emigrating from Colombia. “Lot of ties, suits, dresses everything. It’s really picked up,” said Landazabal.
Yet the Landazabals are not out of the woods yet. “All the back rent that wasn’t paid back then, the landlord was nice enough to let us stay and see what would happen. Yeah, now they want their rent back,” said Carlos Landazabal. Grech said the chamber has seen an uptick in the dry cleaning business since New Yorkers started to return to the office.
“Those poor folks lost a fortune,” said Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Grech. “In many cases, you know, they had rents to pay as well. They had out of pocket costs. Their employees were not able to collect a paycheck, and they themselves as the business owners took a huge hit to their personal bottom line.” The Queens Chamber of Commerce says many dry cleaners and laundromats have gone out of business.
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