If customers of a shuttered Beaufort dry cleaner can wait a few days, they might not have to drive all the way to Hardeeville to retrieve their clothes.
A Beaufort man who owns 17 dry cleaners in the Columbia area and a storage facility on Lady's Island will open a dry-cleaning store at 121 Sea Island Parkway within the week. He says he has arranged to bring clothes belonging to DryClean USA's Beaufort-area customers from Hardeeville, where they are in storage, to his new shop.
"There are a lot of disgruntled customers right now," Tom Garrett said, "and I'm going to try to make them happy."
Garrett Cleaners probably will open by Thursday, when clothes now in storage in Hardeeville also will be available to customers of DryClean USA's two former Beaufort locations.
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All area DryClean USA locations abruptly closed Feb. 18, according to a competitor who agreed to distribute the businesses' clothes to customers.
DryClean USA had six locations in Beaufort County -- two each on Hilton Head Island and in Beaufort and Bluffton -- and two in Savannah, said David Meeder, owner of Superior Cleaners.
Meeder had contacted DryClean USA officials and offered to "rescue" clothes from the company in an effort to win its customers' loyalty, he said.
Meeder has stores in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island that could accommodate DryClean USA's customers. But he does not have a Beaufort location, so clothes from the two stores there went to Superior's plant in Hardeeville.
Garrett said he already had planned to open a store on Lady's Island when he heard about DryClean USA's demise. He then approached Meeder about handling the clothes belonging to Beaufort-area customers.
Meeder had considered opening a store on Lady's Island but said Friday that with Garrett about to enter that market, he won't proceed.
"Tom and I go way back," Meeder said. "... I'm more than happy to let him service that market."
Garrett Cleaners will share a storefront with ABC Mini Storage, which Garrett also owns. The building once was occupied by Atlantic Rentals.
DryClean USA's former Beaufort customers with questions about how to pick up their clothes can call Garrett at 843-522-0460.