NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Time is running out for a family-run dry cleaning business struggling to survive after 25 years in business.
Gerridette Schiavone and her husband, Jerry Rosenbaugh, own The Naked Hanger, a dry-cleaning business in a strip mall in Northglenn.
The couple isn’t sure how much longer they can keep their doors open. Schiavone says sales dropped 98% at the beginning of the pandemic, and while sales have slowly grown to 60%, they owe $40,000 in back rent.
“I’m heading into my 60s, my husband is in his 60s and we don’t have a retirement fund,” Schiavone said. “Everything we had, we poured into this place. I don’t want to be homeless at this point in time of my life.”
Schiavone says the demand for their services dropped with more people working from home and big events canceled. To help pay off overdue rent, Schiavone is selling donated books on Amazon. The couple also took on extra duties and cut back from a staff of ten down to two employees.
“We work probably 18 hours a day,” Schiavone said.
On Tuesday, a local high school dropped off a big basket of theater show clothes for dry cleaning. Schiavone says since they’ve been in business, they haven’t charged schools for theater clothes, choir gowns or sports uniforms, so the savings can be used to invest in new equipment for students.
Her business model is helping give back to the community — it’s why she says they don’t charge to dry clean clothes for funerals or for community members heading to a job interview, despite their struggle.
“If it’s the last thing I do, I will continue to give back to my community,” Schiavone said.
With the help of a loyal customer, the couple launched a GoFundMe. The business owners hope the community can help drive up business and raise more than $40,000 to pay off their rent through the summer to keep their doors open.