Dry cleaner to be back in business April 1 on Kenberma site next door
A former owner of Family Ties Dry Cleaning, a fixture in the Kenberma business district for nearly 20 years, is speaking out about why the shop permanently shut its doors three weeks ago and about her plans to open a new dry-cleaning shop with her family this week.
Jeane Lucreziano recently spoke to the Times regarding the situation that, according to her, left the business “in limbo” over the past five months.
In 2019, after selling the busy dry-cleaning business that she and her husband Sal started, the owners and staff stayed on, while the new business owner kept up his part of the four-year structured deal – providing capital, paying expenses, and continuing to pay the former owners for the purchase of the business.
Lucreziano said that the first two years went smoothly. According to her, the new owner (Lucreziano chose not to disclose his name) is a native of Egypt, in his early 30s, and was “a very nice person. It was a win-win situation, as we sold the business yet still had a hand in it.” And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The business was forced to close for two months, resulting in lost revenue.
Lucreziano suspects the effects of the shutdown was something the new owner was not prepared to handle. But she said that he did take advantage of applying for and receiving two large government stimulus checks and returned to Egypt last November – with those tens of thousands of dollars “in his own pocket.”
Lucreziano remembers seeing him for the last time as he was leaving for his homeland and wished him safe travels, fully expecting that he would soon return to Hull as he had indicated. That was the last time she had any contact with him.
During the next few months, all efforts to reach the new owner were in vain. Even though they did not own the shop, Lucreziano, along with her family and staff, continued to operate the business as best as they could to service the customer base they had built up over the years. Without access to capital to pay expenses, including rent, the family knew they couldn’t continue to operate the business as the months rolled on.
Making the decision to shut down was difficult but necessary. Lucreziano and daughter Dina then spent dozens of hours contacting customers and arranging for dry cleaning to be retrieved. In many cases clothing was dropped off to customers. “We explained to each and every customer what had happened. I’ve known these people for years, and they have come to expect a high level of quality and care from us. We wanted to leave the right way.”
Concerned that Hull would be without a dry cleaner, Lucreziano, along with daughter Dina and son Mark, joined forces and for the past several weeks have been preparing to open Family Dry Cleaners of Hull in the space adjacent to their former business site. They plan to open on April 1.
Despite still being owed tens of thousands of dollars from the 2019 sale, the family is investing in this new business together to serve their customers. Lucreziano said that, even though they do not expect to be fully compensated for the sale of Family Ties, she feels that the new venture will be successful.
“When we contacted our customers to let them know what was happening, I never expected to have so many positive words of support and encouragement from them,” she said. “My family and I were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. I know that we will be well received when we open again this week, and we are looking forward to seeing our customers and friends walk through the door.”
On behalf of the Lucreziano family, Mark thanked the “wonderful people of Hull” within a Facebook post and explained that the new owner “failed to hold the highest quality and standards our town was used to.
“When we announced that he fled the country and abandoned the business, we were receiving the most thoughtful feedback to reopen back under our control and, due to delayed legal issues, we as a family decided to give it another go. We are opening right next door from the existing location. We are working as hard and as quick to reopen by April 1st. Thank you so much to our residents for your support and motivation. See you soon!”
Editor’s note: We look forward to supporting Family Dry Cleaners of Hull as it is a vital thread woven into the fabric our community. We extend our best wishes to the Lucreziano family for a most successful new business venture.