Uptown Charlotte dry cleaning business owner says pandemic took him from 100 customers per day to five

Uptown Charlotte dry cleaning business owner says pandemic took him from 100 customers per day to five

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Businesses across the city of Charlotte have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

While some businesses have been forced to close due to government safety mandates, others have suffered simply due to a lack of customers.

Such is the case for AJ’s Cleaners in uptown Charlotte.

The dry cleaning business is located on N. College Street.

It’s surrounded by large buildings and several restaurants.

Marek Giurk, the owner of AJ’s Cleaners, said he has been operating out of the N. College location for four years with success.

“We couldn’t keep up with the work,” said Giurk in an interview with WBTV Thursday.

Unfortunately, Giurk’s business started to suffer when the pandemic started impacting the country. He was allowed to continue operating, but his customers started to disappear.

“We used to have a hundred people walking back and forth through the door, but right now we have maybe five people a day,” Giurk said.

With people across the city working remotely, Giurk’s customers are no longer in need of dry cleaning. He said most of his clientele works and lives in uptown.

“All offices around here, they’re empty. No people,” said Giurk.

A spokesperson for Bank of America said 85 percent of the bank’s workforce is working remotely during the pandemic. They said the bank employs 16,000 people across the city of Charlotte.

A spokesperson for Duke Energy said the company has 6,000 employees who work in uptown Charlotte. They said 5,500 of those employees are currently working from home.

Giurk said he is thankful to still have some loyal customers bringing items to be cleaned. He said he is also still getting some routine pick-up and delivery orders.

“A lot of businesses I know closed down. We were pretty strong before and we’re still going forward, but I don’t know how (much) longer we can take this,” said Giurk.

He said that prior to the pandemic, he had purchased a 10,000 square foot building where the dry cleaning business could be relocated. Because of the coronavirus situation, those relocation plans are currently on hold and the new building is being rented out.

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