The final three Tuchman Cleaners locations now stand empty, including the Zionsville location.
The sudden closing has left some Zionsville customers not only looking for a new dry cleaner, but also searching for belongings they expected to pick up.
This spring, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported that the chain, acquired by U.S. Dry Cleaning Service Corp. a decade ago, had closed eight of its 11 locations.
The remaining stores had been in Zionsville, Avon and Plainfield, but those stores closed June 30.
A handwritten note on the former Tuchman location at 1201 W. Oak St., Zionsville, directed customers to the Plainfield location to claim their belongings. But, on Friday, the phone at the Plainfield store was out of service. So was the number for Tuchman's main office.
In fact, on Friday, the Plainfield Tuchman building stood as empty as the Avon and Zionsville stores. A note taped to the window of the Plainfield building did offer a telephone number of a different dry cleaning business. James Belt, business development manager of Fabric Care Cleaners, answered a call to that number. He explained that Fabric Care Cleaners has taken in the dry cleaning from the Zionsville, Avon and Plainfield Tuchman businesses and hopes to get those belongings back to their owners. While those items were initially stored at the Plainfield location, they are presently in Brownsburg.
Although Fabric Care has Tuchman customers' items, Fabric Care isn't associated with that company in any way.
"We are doing this as a professional courtesy," Belt said.
He welcomes people with missing dry cleaning to contact him so he can try to locate the items and arrange for payment, and for cleaning to be picked up or delivered. Fabric Care won't be able to provide compensation for missing items or handle complaints directed at Tuchman, however.
"We are not Tuchman Cleaners and I cannot speak for the organization," Belt said.
People looking for items may call Belt at 317-224-3212.
Belt said he appreciates that Tuchman — which once had 25 locations — did what it could for its customers upon the sudden closing of the final stores.
"I think they've done very well in trying to get items back to the owners," Belt said. "Many others have been worse."
Belt said in the 13 years he's been in the industry, 170 dry cleaning businesses have closed in the state.
In addition to changes in what people wear daily — more wash-and-wear fabrics, and more casual professional clothing in general — Belt said he's sat down with a lot of the owners of the closing businesses and learned there are a variety of contributing factors to the shift in the industry. He said some of the owners were ready to retire and their children weren't interested in taking over, others said they couldn't afford to update or replace equipment, and others cited environmental concerns.
And many of those closings have been even more abrupt than the Zionsville Tuchman Cleaners, leaving customers without access to their dry cleaning for months, if at all.
Belt mentioned the bankruptcy-prompted closing of a dry cleaning chain called Zoots in Boston last year.
"What happened to Zoots in Massachusetts was a lesson for a lot of people," he said.
According to a January 2018 report in the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass., Zoots management called all the workers into a meeting in the middle of the plant, told workers they had filed for bankruptcy and that the plant would be shut down right then — with clothing still on the pressing machine and in washers.
"Tuchman didn't want to do that," he said.
Although Fabric Care Cleaners, which started in 1960 and is still operated by its original owners, is going to open a location in the former Plainfield Tuchman location, the company isn't planning to set up a shop in the vacated Zionsville location.
"We would love to come into Zionsville, but we would have to make some internal changes before that happens," Belt said.
Right now, Belt notes, Fabric Care is busy with several stores, laundry service for 120 hotels, and a home pickup and delivery service.
He did note that Zionsville-area residents still have several other dry cleaners nearby, and he welcomes those interested to contact him about Fabric Care's pickup and drop off service.
Because of the nature of the industry now, Belt cautions customers that as they consider a new dry cleaner, they should understand there are costs associated to running the business, and that cutting corners isn't a sustainable business practice.
"There's something you're giving up when you look for a deal," he said.
The Indiana Better Business Bureau did not have information regarding the reasons behind the closings of the last Tuchman Cleaners' locations, but Central Indiana BBB president/CEO Tim Maniscalo said the business was not BBB accredited and has an F rating with the agency.
Tuchman Cleaners' parent company did not return a call before press time.