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Who got taken to the cleaners?

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Customers are scrambling to reclaim their freshly pressed clothes from a beloved Windsor Terrace dry cleaning shop after it was shuttered by the city marshal for not paying its rent.

A handwritten note on the door of Swan Dry Cleaners on Prospect Park West informs patrons that clothes can only be picked up Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 pm and 7 pm.

The arrangement is the collateral damage from one year of unpaid rent and subsequent eviction of the shop’s owners by the marshal, said landlord, Louis Thompson.

“They were given six months to give everyone their clothes back, but they chose not to,” he said. “So now I’m here trying to get the clothes back.”

So Tuesdays and Thursdays on the block between 16th Street and Windsor Place are now the best time to catch people picking up their shirts — and grousing over the demise of the much-loved cleaners.

“Once they lost my son’s suit pants and they went out to Macy’s and bought him a new pair,” recalled Windsor Terrace resident Adele Infortunio, a customer for six years. “They are good people.”

Customer John Purin also heaped praise on the business. “I could have gone elsewhere, but they were always friendly and I got my stuff quickly,” he said.

But when Purin went to pick up his shirts over the weekend, instead of the sweet smile of shop owner Lusia Kim, he was met with the icy stare of a steel gate, adorned with a marshal’s notice, indicating the property was seized by the landlord.

“I was pissed off that customers get caught in the middle between a landlord and the business,” he said.

Kim’s daughter, Jane said that Thompson had raised the rent to $5,000 back in 2007, and it has been a struggle to keep up.

“It was harder, it was different,” she said. “It got to be too much.”

She said her mother, who speaks little English, and been crying and even hospitalized since the city marshal intervened. “She is in shock,” her daughter said.

Kim vowed to keep her former customers happy, and said she would deliver clothes if a patron cannot retrieve the items personally.

Thompson said he would continue to open the shop every Tuesday and Thursday for at least the next 30 days. “We’ll do this as long as it takes,” he said.

Former customers can call Jane Kim at (646) 306-6601 for information or to arrange a pick-up.

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Reader Feedback

KG from Brooklyn says:
Perhaps this landlord/tenant could've worked out an agreement through mediation. In this struggling economy, the landlord, in my opinion is asking too much rent, the daughter of the tenant is stating the landlord is asking $5000. not specifying per yr, quarterly, or month. I would believe per month, this is outrageous to charge a hardworking tenant this much rent, especially small business owners. I don't care what neighborhood you're in, this rent is outrageous! 2500. tops, as this business tenant has to pay others to work there, to repair and maintain equipment and is known and cared for by the customers, this is a good business and one that does need a break! Yes, I understand the landlord too has to pay bills, is he paying the utilities for the shop? Maybe this landlord/tenant can negogiate a settlement where the tenant can buy the landlord out? Seems the landlord knows that this is a profitable business and can get the funds from them, not realizing this tenant has bills to pay, equipment and inventory to pay and maintain, perhaps pay the use of electricity, water, heating, etc? Glad to see that the tenant does care for their customers and are willing to do all they can to make sure the items get back to them.
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:48 am
richie rich from parkslope says:
we don't need a another dry cleaner is this neighborhood. if you can't pay the rent then you should move out.
Aug. 2, 2010, 3:04 pm
jd from park slope says:
I agree, it is too much rent, do you realize how many pairs of pants you have to clean just to cover the rent. I would rather have someone who could pay 2500, that I already knew than someone just starting out that may not make it. And whatever happened to help your neighbors , by keeping the small businesses in the neighborhood. Maybe we don't need another dry cleaners but why push nice people out of business, it's a shame, whatever happened to compassion for others. sad...
Aug. 10, 2010, 11:41 pm
bren from windsor terrace says:
What an outrageous amount of rent for
a small business.
These were the hardest working and loveliest people. and I was saddened to hear why their business had closed.
Dec. 13, 2010, 6:38 pm

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