It’s Classic Cleaners again
Out of the business for the past eight years but with more than 20 years of experience in dry cleaning, Janice C. Gray relaunched Classic Cleaners on Northside Drive East near Walgreens in March.
“It’s been really interesting. I’ve had some of my old customers come back,” she said. “This one gentleman came around one morning and I stepped out the door and he asked, ‘Are you back here?’ I said ‘I am,’ and he said, ‘I am so glad to see you. I know my clothes are going to be taken care of now.'”
Gray first got into dry cleaning, also under the name Classic Cleaners, in 1991 with a shop in the Gentilly Square shopping center, then home to Winn-Dixie. When Gray learned that the site on Northside Drive was for sale, she purchased it and had the building purpose-built for dry cleaning. After some setbacks with getting the building ready, she moved Classic Cleaners into it in 1995.
She grew her dry cleaning customer base under that name and in this same location for 14 years before selling the business, but not the building, in 2009. The first buyers, from Savannah, kept the Classic Cleaners name but were more interested in having a door-to-door cleaning business and moved out of Gray’s building after one year, she said.
They took the equipment with them. As Gray explains, when a dry cleaning business is sold, what is valued in the sale is mostly the equipment and the “book of business” or customer base.
Other business owners then leased Gray’s building, invested in new equipment and operated there under the name The Greener Cleaners for seven years. But that company moved out at the end of 2016, leaving in place the equipment, which Gray bought from the bank that had financed it.