Tide expands into Southwest Florida

A group of Naples entrepreneurs recently acquired the franchise rights to build Tide branded dry cleaning stores in Collier, Hardee, Lee and Palm Beach counties, reports the Business Observer in Florida.

The first Tide dry cleaning shop will open in north Naples and will feature some exiting new technology, including an ATM-like machine that can deliver your clothes to you curbside when the store is closed. Franchisees can expect to pay as much as $1.3 million to open just one store, says the article. The land alone for the Naples store cost $1.1 million, property records show. Robert Lyons, Jon Kassolis and an undisclosed silent partner say their research shows customers are not loyal to their dry cleaners and many are likely to switch. ‘A lot of people aren’t happy with customer service and quality,’ Kassolis says. Small operators dominate the business today. ‘It’s ripe for consolidation,’ says Kassolis, a former tax attorney from Baltimore. From this derives the name they gave their company: Consolidated Cleaners. Rival dry cleaners are watching and wondering how franchisees will break even after building stores in high-traffic locations and outfitting each of them with expensive cleaning machines. ‘This is a low-margin business,’ says Joe Waite, who owns Platinum Total Fabricare in Naples. According to him, the industry average ranges from 10% to 17% profit margin. Waite’s company moves clothes to a central cleaning facility in an industrial area of Naples. For larger dry cleaning operations it’s more efficient this way, as opposed to leasing expensive space and buying machines for each location. Read more