ZIPS Dry Cleaners Rises Up from the Ashes following a February 2020 fire to resume offering garment care and related services to Alexandria
Business was really heating up back in February of last year for Jeff Levine, operator of the ZIPS Dry Cleaners store on North Kings Highway in Alexandria. Then they got too hot. A cigarette thrown down a trash shoot at a neighboring construction site caused a fire in the Penn Daw Shopping Center that claimed nearly 20 structures overall. Among the destroyed buildings were a complex of some 500 apartments, about 30,000 square feet of retail space, and more than a dozen townhouses that were under construction.
“The fire took place during business hours on a Saturday morning, February 8, 2020. It started at the construction site next to our store. It was a miracle no one was hurt,” Levine recalls.
ZIPS lost its roof and roof equipment and sustained major water damage from the efforts to extinguish the fire and protect the property. Fortunately, most items that had been on-site at the time were able to be recleaned and returned to their owners. Those unable to be salvaged were replaced. The bigger loss came over the ensuing 20 months, when ZIPS missed out on business not only from the prospective occupants of those neighboring residential and retail properties but also from the broader surrounding community.
“It was devastating,” Levine says. “It got to the point where I thought we would never reopen because it seemed like the reconstruction would never be finished. But I hung in there. We replaced all our electrical systems, put in some new plumbing, introduced all new venting. Most of our machines had to be replaced. It was quite an ordeal, especially when COVID hit and made it difficult to move forward. We had several severe delays. Now, we’re back, and we’re so excited to welcome our neighbors back into our store.”
The store’s long-awaited return finally occurred on October 22, when ZIPS of Alexandria once again opened its doors and began providing its full array of services – in-by-9-out-by-5 dry cleaning for one low price, pressed laundry, household item cleaning, alterations, commercial services and, coming soon, Wash N Fold. In honor of the first responders who played a crucial role in extinguishing the flames and preventing even more severe damage, Levine is offering a permanent discounted price of $2.49 – about 10% off the regular price – for dry cleaning first responder garments. The store also features an EZ Drop Box where customers whose credit card information is on file can securely deposit their garments contact-free at any time, day or night. In addition, the store participates in the ZIPS Rewards program, through which customers can earn points good for free service.
“We have fully restored our business,” says Levine. “We are grateful for the patience and support of our community and honored to resume serving our residential and business customers throughout Alexandria.”
Business was blazing on the store’s reopening day, Levine adds. “We were really busy,” he says. And that’s the kind of heat he says he is happy to have.
ZIPS of Alexandria is located at 6216 North Kings Highway. Now through November 19, 2021, the store is celebrating its reopening with two special offers: Customers can get free garment cleaning for two items if they bring in the coupon available online, where they also can create an account and learn more about ZIPS’ services. In addition, anyone bringing in any items other than leather or suede can have them cleaned for only $1.50 per garment (regularly $2.79). Information on the latest offers and activity involving ZIPS of Alexandria can also be found on the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ZIPSAlexandriaVA.