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Is CD One Price Model the Walmart of Dry Cleaning?

North Shore’s existing dry cleaners worry CD One Price will damage their business while others think strong personal service is the equalizer.

Two of Deerfield's dry cleaners, Osterman (far left) and Commons (middle), are neighbors.
Two of Deerfield's dry cleaners, Osterman (far left) and Commons (middle), are neighbors.

Does personal service, price or both make a business a success on the North Shore?

That issue has become front and center for dry cleaners in Deerfield and Highland Park as CD One Price Cleaner plans to bring a new business model to Deerfield this summer.

When dry cleaners from around the area learned CD One Price planned to clean apparel for $2.79 per item and launder clothes for $1.49 each and offer no other service, more than 65 of them came to the Deerfield Village Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 21 to protest.

DC One Price will not handle specialty items like comforters nor even wedding dresses. There will be no tailoring. The existing cleaners fear this will cut into their business to the point some, if not all, will be driven out of business.

“The end result will be a loss of revenue and jobs in the Village,” Jemma Jones of Commons Cleaners said. “This is a small village for eight cleaners,” she added referring to the existing number of establishments.

Several of the trustees, some of who are satisfied customers of the existing cleaners, believe the personal attention and extended services of those businesses will help them keep their customer base and remain part of the commercial community.

“The reason (you are) so successful is because of the service you provide,” Trustee Robert Benton said. “I do believe that because of that your core customers will continue to come to you. This is why you are here and why you will stay here.”

Susie Riu, whose mother operates Deerfield Cleaners, told her family’s American success story. Her mother emigrated from South Korea, went to work for what was then Shim’s Cleaners in Deerfield, and eventually bought the business changing the name. She fears for the future.

“Everywhere I go (in Deerfield) people know me because of my mother,” Riu said. “When she started off there were two dry cleaners and now there are eight. Because of the economy (and CD One Price) there will be some empty spaces.”

Trustee Alan Farkas made it clear he is satisfied with the service he gets from the dry cleaner he patronizes and has no plans to change. “I will stay with the people who provide the service I need,” he said.

Some of the existing cleaners wanted to assure the Board they were as environmentally friendly as CD One Price claims it will be. “We are green,” Osterman Cleaners Angela Kim said. “We exceed all state regulations. We study and test for the greenest way to clean.”

There was also disagreement on what research has shown happens in a community when a low price cleaner moves in. “In other towns where CD (One Price) comes in other places close,” Steve Saks, an attorney for some of the existing cleaners, said.

Saks likened CD One Price to Walmart in its effect on existing smaller cleaners when it arrives in a community.

Mayor Harriet Rosenthal does not see it that way. “We have done research,” she said. “When a one price cleaner has come in the moms and pops have not gone out of business.”

Thomas Breyfogle January 28, 2014 at 07:57 PM
Looks like a picture of il Forno
Stuart Senescu January 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM
This will be the perfect test of Econ 101 and Marketing 101. A low tech business with no barriers to enter, very little differentiation between products/services. A steady demand in a mature market. Econ 101 says the lowest price will get more business and force the equilibrium point down. Marketing 101 says competitors need to differentiate so customers see perceived differences. Let the marketplace decide.
Meshephelous January 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Yes, so why give the newcomer an artificial advantage by ALTERING existing zoning laws to allow it to dwarf all existing competitors? Sounds a little far away from the free market approach you expound.
FaceOnMars January 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM
I never go to the dry cleaner ... yet am fascinated by how a major portion of this industry is driven by a social demand to have one's garments be "wrinkle free". Stains are one thing, but think about how much money changes hands in this country because of the existence of wrinkles in articles of clothing? IMO, it's having wrinkle free clothing is akin to being a much more transient form of gold ... there's nothing really valuable about it, other than how its perceived by others to have value.
McCloud January 29, 2014 at 02:47 PM
Another liberal using the free market point to disguise his desire for restricted markets. Obamacare anyone?
Stuart Senescu January 29, 2014 at 03:34 PM
SECTION 1. MEMBERSHIP The State militia consists of all able-bodied persons residing in the State except those exempted by law. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 2. SUBORDINATION OF MILITARY POWER The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. SO IF THE GOVERNOR SAYS 'LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS' MILITIA MEMBERS MUST OBEY. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 3. ORGANIZATION, EQUIPMENT AND DISCIPLINE The General Assembly shall provide by law for the organization, equipment and discipline of the militia in conformity with the laws governing the armed forces of the United States. SO A MILITIA MEMBER CANNOT 'SELF-EQUIP' AND YOU CAN NOT BE AN INDEPENDENT MILITIA MEMBER, THE GA WILL SET UP AN ORGANIZATION...THE NATIONAL GUARD....NOT SOME GUY WITH A GUN IN HIS BELT. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 4. COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF AND OFFICERS (a) The Governor is commander-in-chief of the organized militia, except when they are in the service of the United States. He may call them out to enforce the laws, suppress insurrection or repel invasion. IF THE GOVERNOR DOESN'T CALL DAN, YOU AREN'T IN THE MILITIA. (b) The Governor shall commission militia officers who shall hold their commissions for such time as may be provided by law. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 5. PRIVILEGE FROM ARREST Except in cases of treason, felony or breach of peace, persons going to, returning from or on militia duty are privileged from arrest. DAN WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE CALLED BY THE GOVERNOR AND REPORTED ANYWHERE FOR MILITIA DUTY? (Source: Illinois Constitution.)
Tom January 29, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Stuart, I loved your first comment. I have thought the same thing. But, your second comment… Huh? This is completely irrelevant and inappropriate.
RB January 29, 2014 at 07:07 PM
Drive around and look....It is a picture of Il Forno, a barber and TWO Dry Cleaners that have businesses with one door between them as a result of the earlier redevelopment sanctioned by the Village Condo Board.

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