PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A friendly reminder to business owners everywhere: keep your customers apprised of your vacation plans. A tip call led FOX 29's Bruce Gordon to the corner of Lancaster avenue and Aspen and Royal Dry Cleaners. Or what used to be Royal Dry Cleaners? The security gate was down and padlocks seemed to be holding the place together.
When Gordon called the cleaners, the phone just rang and rang--no answer or recorded message. In short, the business looked closed maybe even out of business. Bad news given Royal's solid reputation in the neighborhood and the racks of freshly-cleaned clothing locked inside the store.
"Normally if it's open, the gate would be open and everything would be fully up and everything,” says Shawntay Harrigan, who runs the beauty salon next door. “But right now, no. It has been like that for at least a couple of weeks now."
Mike McClary is a longtime customer of Royal’s, who explained to Gordon, “I brought in two pairs of new pants to be hemmed on the 3rd of last month." He gets around in a wheelchair arthritic knees and hips limit his mobility. McClary needs those hemmed pants, but the only sign visible at the dry cleaners is a weather-beaten, 5-year-old Certificate of Appreciation from the Philadelphia Police Department.
As for the owner-- a Mr. Lee?
“I figure something might have happened to him or something like that there, so I don't know," he told Gordon, “I need my pants!"
Then Gordon looked a little closer, past the security grate and the smeared window, through the glare and…
There was the sign-- barely visible-- announcing the owner was on vacation, for 20 days-- till Saturday, September 9th!
McClary couldn't see the sign from his wheelchair, and several other customers never thought to peer INSIDE the store for information.
“I'm glad he's all right," said McClary of the store owner.
And best of all?
"I get my pants back!"
FOX 29 was unable to reach Mr. Lee.
His contact information, through the city of Philadelphia’s business website led straight back to the business address. The business that was closed up tight.
In the future, this and all businesses should learn a lesson from this little story, and post clear signage letting customers know their plans.