Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Business

Local couple helps Tide bring new dry cleaning features to Valrico

VALRICO

Husband and wife duo Berry and Sharon Wright of Lithia are back in business together for the second time.

The entrepreneurial partners created and delivered helium balloon bouquets back in the early 1980s while attending Louisiana Tech University. They often dressed as clowns and once fulfilled an order of 3,000 for Grambling State University — by hand.

This time, they have automated their new business and offer a 24-hour pick up kiosk. The couple has opened Tide Dry Cleaners at 1928 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. The location, in the Crest Pointe Towne Center anchored by Walmart, features a two-lane drive-through valet and a two-conveyor system inside the 3,000 square foot building.

One conveyor services what looks like a drive-up ATM machine. The difference is your pin number gets you freshly laundered garments instead of greenbacks.

"We got a lot of customers that are already doing it," Berry Wright said. "It really is a new way to look at dry cleaning and we want it to be nice and bright in a nice environment."

To use the kiosk, customers put a credit card on file and access orders with a PIN or a smartphone. Tide Dry Cleaners will send an email when your order is ready, along with a scan code.

Berry Wright said one of his first guests had 52 garments in the machine, though it delivers only a handful at a time. It’s available for popular pieces such as shirts and pants, but don’t expect to pick up a prom dress or comforter using the ATM.

Since this is a national franchise stemming from Procter & Gamble’s Cincinnati headquarters, customers will have their clothes cleaned using Tide and Downy products. Tide Dry Cleaners also touts its GreenEarth cleaning technology that claims to be gentler on clothes, skin and the environment by avoiding petroleum-based solvents traditionally found in dry cleaners.

The Wrights have committed to opening nine locations in the Tampa Bay area, with their second site slated to open by the end of 2018 on South Dale Mabry Highway near the Sprouts Farmer’s Market. They were attracted to a Tide Dry Cleaners franchise from business partner Joe Blancato, who introduced them to the Naples franchisee.

"I like to work," said Berry, who sold International Food Group in Plant City to Sysco in 2004. "We’ve been looking ever since. I’ve always wanted to deal with the public. I’ve done business to business. I love it. It’s kind of my hobby."

The Wrights promise garments in by 9 a.m. will receive same-day treatment and be ready for pickup at 5 p.m., but rugs, leather and wedding dresses are sent to specialists. Alterations can be completed in a week and buttons are replaced for free.

Tide Dry Cleaners holds its grand opening all day Saturday (May 19). New customers receive welcome bags with samples, coupons and a list of services including "back to black" where $2 more promises color restoration of items such as a cotton polo black or a faded white dress shirt.

The couple likely won’t don any clown makeup for the event, but they have been known to dry clean a mascot costume. Visit facebook.com/TDCValrico/ for details.

Contact Eric Vician at [email protected]

Comments
Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area residents are wrapped up in what federal prosecutors are calling a billion-dollar telemedicine rip off.Starting in 2015, the defendants and their pharmacy companies set up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

The Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower ticket prices and voyages that sail later for dinner-time and evening-out trips to Tampa and St. Petersburg.One-way fares will be $8 for adults — $2 less than during the ferry’s first season two years ago...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Buying a house? Rising mortgage rates are pushing monthly payments for the typical U.S. home 15.4 percent higher than they would have been if you had purchased a year ago, Zillow says. Since January, the average mortgage rate has climbed from about ...
Published: 10/16/18
Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

The program, which raises awareness of post-graduate jobs for students, may expand across the Bay area.
Published: 10/16/18
Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

TAMPA — Southern Airways Express said Tuesday it will launch air service between Tampa and West Palm Beach on Nov. 8, just three days after another carrier discontinues the route.Southern Airways, the third largest commuter carrier in the nation, is ...
Published: 10/16/18
Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

WASHINGTON — Low-income people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than the poor in other states, according to a government report released Monday amid election debates from Georgia to Utah over ...
Published: 10/16/18
Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

NEW YORK — Uber may put forth an initial public offering early next year that values the ride-hailing business at as much as $120 billion, according to a media report. The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that Uber Technologies Inc. received valuatio...
Published: 10/16/18
Hurricane Michael: Significant crop damage expected in Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael: Significant crop damage expected in Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael impacted about 1 million acres of field crops and 3.6 million acres of upland forest in Florida, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.The most serious damage affects about 200,000 acres ...
Published: 10/16/18
Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

GIBSONTON – A new north-south road is coming to relieve traffic along U.S. 301, but making way for it promises some short-term traffic headaches for a South Shore region already stymied by congestion.The new road would run more than four miles...
Published: 10/16/18
Clearwater tweaks downtown incentive program

Clearwater tweaks downtown incentive program

CLEARWATER — On the heels of intensive meetings with downtown property owners and potential business tenants, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency has tweaked its incentive programs designed to attract businesses that would operate...
Published: 10/16/18