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Henthorn’s going out of business

Will continue to offer clothing alterations

After 117 years in Ironton, Henthorn’s Cleaners and Launderers is going out of business.

Pam Bayliss, who runs the store for her father, Frank Cole, said the main reason for the closing was due to the area’s economy.

“It’s very sad. Business is just not what it used to be,” she said, adding that people don’t dress up for work and that over the past few years, the bulk of their business had shifted to doing laundry. “We don’t do near the volume of dry cleaning that we used to do. But it was very hard decision to make.”

Anyone who still needs to pick up his or her dry cleaning can do so until the end of February.

Other factors in the closing include having older, failing equipment and the high costs of dealing with EPA regulations when it comes to the disposal of chemicals used in the dry cleaning process.

“The EPA is killing us,” she said. “It made things so outrageously expensive, not necessarily the EPA, but the companies that haul off the waste. There wasn’t enough business to cover expenses.”

Bayliss said the business had been operating in the red for several months.

“If you are only making enough to pay bills and make payroll, you aren’t realizing anything out of it. There just hasn’t been any profit in it for awhile.”

She said they used to have corporate contracts with companies like Servpro and did cleaning of smoke-damaged goods but those contracts dried up.

“Those corporate contracts were a big part of our business,” Bayliss said.

Henthorn’s opened the dry cleaning business in 1901. Frank Cole started working for the company in the 1954 and he and his wife bought the business from Henthorns in 1970. Bayliss has worked in the store for years and took over for her father three and a half years ago.

She said that she will still keep the shop open to do clothing alterations since prom and wedding season is coming up.

“We will now be open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,” Bayliss said.
“And if it is something I can’t alter, I do have someone who can do it.”