MERIDEN — A dry cleaning franchise based on Broad Street is the first Tide Cleaners to open in the state with more planned for the region.
Doing business as NashClean CT LLC, David Reitz and Miguel Lopez purchased the former As You Like it Cleaners at 467 Broad St. in June for $700,000 and another location in the Plantsville section of Southington to bring Tide Cleaners to the area.
Reitz and Lopez were looking for franchise opportunities when the Proctor & Gamble-based Tide Cleaners caught their attention.
“I was in manufacturing and I used to work for Proctor & Gamble,” Reitz said. “My partner wanted to work on a franchise and it’s the number one dry cleaning brand in the U.S.”
Reitz and Lopez had looked at Mr. Clean Car Wash, but it fizzled and Tide Cleaners had more than 200 locations in operation.
“This is the first in Connecticut,” Reitz said. “And we do all our dry cleaning here in Meriden.”
The 6,000-square-foot operation holds large equipment for cleaning, drying and pressing everything from uniforms to suede jackets. Proctor & Gamble invested in some new equipment and trained the 15 existing employees and manager Ashin Sajjad in the operational side of the business.
“I’m not in dry cleaning,” Reitz said. “It’s a changing industry with a lot of consolidation. We’re offering the highest level of service for our customers. Our motto is ‘life, not laundry.””
In addition to the Plantsville store, the partnership is looking at properties west of Meriden and in Fair Haven and West Hartford. There are drop boxes for 24/7 services, clothing lockers and a phone app to tell customers when their laundry is finished. Reitz, who handles the marketing, has reached out to universities and companies in need of laundry services for students and employees. Franchise model
In 2008, Agile Pursuits Franchising Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of P&G, launched Tide Cleaners, a concept offering brick-and-mortar dry cleaning locations as well as delivery, 24/7 pick-up/drop-off lockers, and even campus dry cleaning and laundry services. Tide Cleaners is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the company website.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a survey and found that the average American household spends over eight hours a week doing laundry and Tide wants to shave off some of that time. The company works on a hub and spoke model that provides drop off services in satellite stores to be serviced at the hub in Meriden.
According to the company website, new franchisees must first open a Plant Store to help establish a brand presence in the community. Owners can then begin delivery services and develop a variety of Plant and Drop store locations.
Franchise fees vary, according to Tidecleaners.com. The investment in a Plant Store ranges from $703,500 to $1,477,400. Drop stores can range from $145,150 to $565,500 and a Neighborhood Drop Store ranges from $90,950 to $274,100.Employees, sustainability
Reitz was happy to keep the existing employees, many of whom are immigrants and Latinos, and have worked in the store for many years. He is also getting to know the local community of professionals and non-professionals who need laundry services.
He is also pleased to work with the Green Bank on building sustainability features such as new LED lighting, new electric vehicle stations, solar installations and more. The sustainability will help Tide Cleaners maintain its operations from a competitive standpoint, Reitz said.
The local business community is pleased to see the business open on Broad Street and on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in Plantsville.
“It’s more than a new business. It’s a national brand coming into our community, with local owners operating the franchise,” said Rosanne Ford, president of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce. “They want to get attached to the community, and they’re doing that. They’re offering discounts for local business and expanding. They kept the employees, many of them have been there for many years.”