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Columbia Pike Dry Cleaner Closing Leaves Customers Hanging

Last month, when Jeannie Osborn dropped off her new dress at her usual Arlington dry cleaner, she never thought it could be the last time she would see the garment

Osborn now lives in D.C. but still drives to Arlington to do her dry cleaning at the same spot for years: Family Dry Cleaners on 5021 Columbia Pike. The business offers nearly unbeatable prices — normally charging $2.29 per piece of clothing — which Osborn said made up for inconvenience of having to pay upfront in cash.

But five days after she took her new $128 Banana Republic dress to the dry cleaner on June 25, the business closed.

Now there’s a sign taped to the door reading “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” and asking customers to pick up any garments by June 30, “otherwise you will not be able to pick up your clothes FOREVER.”

Osborn was on vacation when the business went under, and only learned her dress was locked in the building when she tried to pick it up last week.

“I’ve been going there for six years,” she told ARLnow Monday. “And the fact that they are just closed is shocking.”

The business is located in the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, between a CVS and a Little Caesars. ARLnow could not reach the strip mall’s property management company, Bethesda-based Rakusin & Becker Management.

After reaching out for comment to the company and the county, Arlington Resident Ombudsman and Director of Constituent Services Ben Aiken said he had good news to share.

Family Dry Cleaners will temporarily re-open on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. so customers can retrieve their belongings, per Rakusin & Becker.

“Anyone with clothing that needs to be picked up should try to go,” said Aiken, who noted afterward the owners may be unavailable to re-open the shuttered shop.

Family Dry Cleaners’ phone number was out of service when called on Monday and a Facebook page for a business with the same name had no posts nor ways to contact the owner.

Aiken previously said he heard from two customers whose clothes are apparently locked in the cleaners, and told ARLnow today (Tuesday) that he “shares their frustration.”

“It’s an unfortunate circumstances,” he said, adding that whenever dry cleaning customers are left out to dry it can be “tricky” to access legal remedies.

When a dry cleaner business closed in Silver Spring two years ago, the Montgomery County Consumer Protection Agency had to step in to return clothing.

Last August, customers in Austin, Texas, taped signs to the locked doors of a dry cleaning business, pleading with the owners to call them and return their clothes after the business unexpectedly shut down.

Last September, a Denver cleaner posted a sign for its customers that read, “if you have clothes, sorry we are closed.” Those customers were out of luck until another cleaning company purchased the inventory and returned the clothes to customers for free, per a press release.

Jeannie Osborn took pictures of the storefront and its sign last week that show a full rack of clothing behind the counter. She says she could see her dress through the glass.

“It’s just hanging there in the front,” Osborn said. “They hadn’t even put it on the conveyor belt yet.”

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