SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – As supply chain woes continue across the nation, small businesses are facing challenges they’ve never dealt with before. Dry cleaners across Tampa Bay are seeking the help of customers as they face a shortage of wire hangers.
At Courtesy Cleaners in Downtown Sarasota, owner Bobby Patel has been facing these shortages for the last few months.
“Every other week, I order about 25 to 30 boxes. Right now, we are getting about 10 boxes, if I’m lucky,” said Patel.
Without hangers, it’s hard to do business. Patel, like many others in the area, is counting on longstanding customers to help ease the burden as the busy season starts to pick up.
“Now what we do is we are asking customers verbally to bring their hangers back and I think it is helping us a lot. They are them bringing back and thank God, because that has been saving us and that is helping us a lot like.
Patel has seen the number of hangers recycled increase from 5% to about 20%. He says it may not seem like a lot, but that 20% helps get him through about two days of business a week.
“Every single cleaners in town and everybody, no matter where they are, they have been suffering really bad. Hopefully, this problem resolves in the next couple of months, that is what we are hoping and that’s with the distributors are saying that it should be OK, but we don’t know,” explained Patel.
Many of the dry cleaning customers 8 On Your Side spoke with were unaware of the shortages.
“I couldn’t even imagine a world without hangers. Maybe they should start unloading the ships in California,” customer and business owner Chris Whittaker said.
“I am just surprised. There are so many shortages I guess I shouldn’t be,” said customer Ken Elder.
Jimmy Hayes was also made aware of the shortage this week when visiting Patel’s downtown location.
“I think if people know that they really need to hangers, they will bring them back. Most people just don’t think about it. Who would’ve thought that hangers are in short supply so it is a good solution,” said Hayes.