CALUMET HEIGHTS — A longtime dry cleaning business closed its doors last week after taking a beating from the economy over the last few years, its founder and owner said.
K Cleaners, 1417 E. 87th St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays until Feb. 22 for customers needing to pick up their clothes. Any unclaimed clothes will be donated to local churches, said founder and owner Kerry Zarobsky.
"We have been here for 30 years, but the economy did us in. For the last few years, customers have declined, especially during the winter," Zarobsky said. "Nobody wants to come outside when it is cold."
The one-story building that once employed as many as 20 people, is up for sale, according to Zarobsky, who said 10 employees lost their jobs.
"I hate to leave but without customers no business can operate," Zarobsky said. "This is a beautiful community with a lot of really nice people and loyal customers, who I will miss."
Shirley Green, 72, is one of those faithful customers, who said she was a customer for 20 years.
"It won't be the same without them," Green said Monday as she picked up her final batch of clothes. "Let's see, I have a dress, two sweaters and a pair of pants. This is it for me. My last order with K Cleaners."
Green said she planned to use TailoRite, 8459 S. Cottage Grove Ave., which is the closest cleaners to K Cleaners.
Officials with the Chatham Business Association said they were sorry to see K Cleaners go.
"It is always disheartening to hear of any business closing. K Cleaners was a Chatham community business staple," said executive director Melinda Kelly. "[But] good business owners are very savvy people. Their business plans usually includes an exit strategy, and although painful, CBA understands when a business decides to close its doors."
Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward includes K Cleaners, did not return calls seeking comment.