Longtime Albany business closes, can't compete with technology - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Longtime Albany business closes, can't compete with technology

December 16, 2005

Albany- Technology usually makes things cheaper and more efficient. In this case, technology has driven one Albany dry cleaner right out of business. After 53 years, the Sunlite Cleaners and Fur Storage on Pine Avenue has closed its doors.

Owner Sam Brown acquired the long time dry cleaning business nearly 25 years ago. Brown said up until four years ago business was going well, but with a population shift to northwest Albany and improving technology he just wasn't able to keep up.

It's 100 years old and one of the first dryers the Sunlite Cleaners ever bought. It's still turning, but the doors on this business have closed, thanks to newer technology.

"Technology can do it a lot better than you could if you know how to work the technology, you know what I mean, and so it got ahead of me and that's all there is to it," said Brown.

There was never anything fancy at Sunlite, no mechanical racks, clerks had to walk through the back in search of dry cleaning. Receipts were written by hand, but Sunlite offered a friendly smile and personal attention.

"You have to take personal attention with the stains or whatever and some of them don't come out but you try," said Brown.

When homes and business started shifting to northwest Albany it was the final straw.

"It's gone away from downtown, as far as dry cleaning is, and it just didn't work," said Brown.

Sam considered moving the business but said considering it would take ten years to reestablish the business, it just wasn't possible. So, now he's trying to find the owners who have furs in storage and a yard sale Saturday will seal the fate of items never picked up.

"When you got something you don't want you take it to the dry cleaner and leave it with him, if you want it you go back and get it, if you don't well then forget about it," said Brown.

Sam says, lots of people have forgotten about clothes dropped off years ago. That's why he's holding a yard sale all day Saturday. If you're looking for vintage clothing this is the place, because some items were left over 20 years ago. Sam hopes to have the entire building cleaned out by the end of the year.

Dry cleaners use mineral spirits to clean the clothes, a rise in price from a $1.99 a gallon in January to $2.45 in July also weighted into Sam's decision to close.

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