The Dry Clean Industry Hanging On By a Thread!
Gregg Morosini started this petition to Senators Rubio and Scott
I am writing to you as one of your constituents and as a small businessman in South Florida. I have been a dry cleaner here for 40 years. I currently own 6 stores and have a pick-up and delivery service. I employ between 20-40 people at any given time. I am writing to you out of desperation. Not just for myself but for all dry cleaners in Florida that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 shut downs beginning around March 15th. Most people including the government thought this all would be over in about 2 months. That is why the PPP program was designed to give businesses enough money for their employees and to maintain their businesses for about 2 months. Yet here we are 6 months later and our industry is dying through no fault of our own. We were given EIDL loans which none of us wanted but were forced to take given that sales were down 80% for 2.5 months and we knew that this was no longer going to be over quickly. The PPP money is gone and to even have a chance of surviving this pandemic we had to take the loans. If this was a Hurricane or a Fire that destroyed our businesses we would be covered by insurance and be made whole. However the Covid-19 pandemic is not covered by insurance. The local governments forced a nationwide shutdown and even though dry cleaners and laundries were deemed essential businesses we may as well have been closed. Sales being down 80% from March 15th through May, 60% in June, 50% in July, August, and ½ of September. My business has lost $630,000 in revenue during this time and $311,000 in actual cash and past due rents. The landlords want their full rents now plus repayment of back rents. This is not possible at 50% of sales. At this rate most dry cleaners including myself have between 8 and 12 months left before bankruptcy. Many offices are not re-opening. Many restaurants are not open or running at 50% capacity. Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade Counties are just going into Phase 2 this week. People are not dressing up to go to work. Others have lost their jobs. Flying, restaurants, theatres, cruises, weddings, and other events where people get dressed up have been cancelled or cut back. Bottom line = No clothing to bring to the dry cleaners. Dry cleaners are smart and hardworking people. We have lived through many hard times including downturns in 2001 and the 2008 economic crash. That is just part of being in business. This pandemic is different. Many of us have our whole lives tied up in our businesses with nothing else to fall back on. We relied on the government that said we just had to flatten the curve while the economy and our liberties were taken away. That we would be given the help we need and be back in business as usual very quickly. We are not like politicians and the medical bureaucrats who keep receiving their paychecks and full benefits while decreeing that they need to shut down the economy. It doesn’t affect them at all. However, it is our businesses and our employees that pay their government salaries. If the bureaucrats were subject to losing their paychecks I have a feeling that these problems would be resolved rather quickly. While I applaud the original intent of the PPP program, now is the time that we need strong politicians to come together quickly and save an entire industry. Not only for the owners but also for the loyal employees that depend on us to earn a living. There needs to be more PPP money that doesn’t have to be repaid. I am drawing a ½ salary from EIDL loans. That is not a salary it is a loan. Many of my employees are working 15 – 30 hours per week. They can’t survive on that few hours. We should not be forced into taking more loans that we never wanted and didn’t need in order to be allowed to stay in business because of nothing we did wrong. Our businesses and all of our employees are depending on your immediate action. Many of my fellow dry cleaners across the state are signing on to this letter to show you the gravity of this situation and that it has affected them all in a similar manner.