Update on 8/31/21 — The business is staying open.
Earlier: After operating for 25 years and weathering the worst of the pandemic, Eagle Cleaners in Williamsburg is on the brink of closing.
Manager Mathew Srebrow is pinning his hopes on community support to pull through.
His father opened the store at 6402 Williamsburg Blvd in 1996. Before his father died in 2019, he put the business in a trust — but now, the trustee who took over ownership plans to sell Eagle Cleaners and retire. He said the trustee told him on Saturday that he has until Wednesday, Sept. 1 to buy the business for $250,000, or shut it down so that the equipment can be sold.
“It’s really unfortunate what’s happening,” Srebrow said. “I have a lot of customers in tears, some offering legal advice… The way it’s closing just makes no sense.”
Srebrow started a GoFundMe page yesterday (Wednesday) to raise the money. He said he believes the money can be raised, but emphasized he only has one week to reach the $250,000 goal.
“I refuse to go down without a fight,” he wrote on the page. “Let’s make this goal a reality.”
The dry cleaning industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and loyal patrons have stepped up to help the businesses stay afloat. Last summer, a local veteran started a fundraiser for First Virginia Cleaners and last fall, devoted customers set up a GoFundMe page for Old Dominion Cleaners along Lee Highway.
After pandemic restrictions ended, but before workers began trickling back to offices, Srebrow spoke with ARLnow about how the pandemic and remote work have nearly wiped out 25 years of stable business.
“We had so many people come in [after the article came out], bringing comforters, bedding — no one was using dress clothes, but they were bringing whatever they had, just so we could make it — and we made it.”
Now, Srebrow said he’s hoping the community will help him keep the business open and under his ownership.
“We love all our customers in the community,” he said. “Nobody wants us to go, nobody.”
In this month’s Now Hiring, LEGO, Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe and the U.S. Postal Service all have open positions.
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