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In New Business Model, Dry Cleaners Share Regular Profits With Charities

Two local dry cleaners have what they're calling a “new way of doing business.” When customers come in to drop off their laundry, they're given the option of choosing a laundry bag sporting the name of one of three local charities. KSMU's Rebekah Clark has more.


The three laundry bags are labeled: Lost & Found Grief Center, Isabel’s House or the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. Whichever charity customers choose will receive ten percent of the bill automatically.

The “Care for Your Community, Care for Your Clothes Campaign” started a year ago in response to the national economic downturn.  All four owners of both cleaning companies--Todd Edwards, his wife Stephanie, Lenice Dent and Caleb Matlock--decided to put together what Todd calls an “out of the box” fundraising partnership that would help local charities who took a big hit financially during the recession.  Here's Todd Edwards.

“We thought it would be a good way for our customers to give back to the charity of their choice and within the realms, they do not have to spend any extra money coming into our facilities, we’ll just donate on their behalf ten percent of their total bill. It’s a win-win; we’re generating cash flow for them without them having to worry about it.”  

Within the last year, the cleaning businesses have generated around $5000 that will be split and donated between the three charities.  The cleaning companies plan to renew the partnership for a second year.

Gretchen Gambon is the assistant director of Lost and Found, an organization that provides therapeutic grief support to children who have lost a parent or sibling.

“We serve two hundred children and families twice a month in those support groups. So we have a lot of people walking through our doors and clearly have high needs. We want to be there in order to support those children. You know, a lot of times I think people think our job is sad, and we certainly hear sad things, but it’s a blessing and a privilege for us to help those children and their families through that grief journey.”

Gambon says Lost and Found greatly appreciates its partnership with the cleaners, and also with other charities in the community.

“With the three charities, it’s a natural collaboration. Certainly there are times where our services overlap, if you will. We could potentially be serving that’s been at BCFO or Isabel’s House or vice versa. That is one thing outside of an innovative way, a fundraising way that doesn’t cause us a lot of work on our end as charities because we’re all very busy providing services and fundraising.”

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.


And on Friday, representatives from both dry cleaning businesses formally presented those three charities with the donations raised over the past year.