Customers of a Gainesville dry cleaners say they’ve been hung out to dry by the business owner after he disappeared with their clothes still locked in the building.
The doors of Good Cents Cleaners on Shallowford Road closed in late March, when a note was posted to its front door saying the business had suffered a water main break and would be closed until April 3.
More than a week later, the business is still closed and angry customers — all of whom paid up front — have been left trying to either retrieve their items or find replacements.
Ronda Larned was parked outside the closed business on Tuesday trying to figure out how to get her son’s tuxedo back. Her son is a Chestatee High School student and choral singer with performances this month in town and next month at Six Flags.
“He’s definitely got to have it by May 5,” Larned said. “I’d have to go buy another tux, so I really need to get his tux out of there. I’m just aggravated.”
Mahendra Amin is the owner of the Shallowford Road property and the former owner of Good Cents Cleaners. He told the Times on Tuesday that he and his wife sold the business to Chad Abell in October 2016 after running it for 16 years.
“The man who was running it has abandoned it,” Amin said. “This is now a court matter. We hope to solve this within two, three days’ time and then open the cleaners give delivery of all of the clothes lying there.”
Amin posted a note on the door of the business letting customers know that he’s pursuing the issue with the authorities and planned to open the business for three days to return clothing once he had access to the property.
Other customers had gone to the business — sometimes more than six times — trying to retrieve their items and left frustrated notes on the glass doors of the shop.
“We’ve tried to track down the owners … and we can’t get any answers, really,” said Carrie Byers, whose grandfather, 85-year-old Scott Culpepper, dropped off multiple suits ahead of a church revival trip. Because the business closed so abruptly, Culpepper left town without getting his clothes.
Angela Hayward paid approximately $26 to clean $80 curtains, she said on Tuesday.
“We pay up front, which means I’m out the money that it took to clean my curtains and then I’m out my curtains too,” Hayward said. “It’s not that much, but it’s just the thought of it.”
Abell is also listed online as the owner of two entities in Woodstock: Abell Cleaners LLC and Dry Cleaning At Your Door.
Messages left at the contact number of those businesses were not returned on Tuesday. Calls to the darkened business were routed to a magicJack phone line that was not operating.
The March note from the business said it was closed “due to a water main break,” but there are no water main breaks in the Shallowford Road area, according to the city of Gainesville’s Department of Water Resources.