Huntington Woods — Huntington Cleaners is partnering with a Chicago company to bring dry cleaning services into the on-demand space via a mobile app.
The Huntington On Demand service officially launches Thursday, although it has been rolled out in downtown Detroit and some area suburbs over the past month. The Huntington Woods-based company, which is the largest dry cleaning service in the country, has invested in a mobile service called DRYV, which provides the phone-based platform for pick-up and drop-off of laundry whenever a customer wants.
Much like Uber connects people to car rides and Airbnb connects visitors to accommodations, DRYV connects dry cleaners to customers who don’t have the time or inclination to go the cleaners.
“There are all these apps connecting customers to service providers,” said Wayne Wudyka, CEO of the Huntington Company. “I realized we should be in that space.”
With more than 800 franchises with various companies under the Huntington brand in the U.S, Canada, the U.K., Ecuador and Peru, Wudyka said the company already had the expertise in place and simply needed to find a good partner.
That’s where Dan Parsons and Chris Elipas came in. The two Chicago residents created DRYV, which is the mobile app and software that supports the on-demand service. The idea came about after a dry cleaner lost a pair of Elipas’ pants.
“The cleaners didn’t even do the cleaning on site. They sent them to a bigger facility in the suburbs,” said Elipas. “So I thought if they can afford to (do that), why couldn’t they afford to pick up and deliver.”
Within a year and half of launching, they are servicing thousands of customers in Chicago. And that’s when the service caught Wudyka’s attention.
Huntington already owns 1-800-Dry-Clean and Pressed4Time, two other on demand services that work via phone. After the company bought Martinizing Dry Cleaning, a major competitor, last fall, the company doubled in size and was ready to try something new.
Wudyka started with the launch of Bizzie Box, a locker-based drop-off system for dry cleaning in office buildings downtown and in some of the suburbs. Always looking to diversify, Wudyka met with Pasrons and Elipas and invested in their company, agreeing to bring their model to Detroit as the second market.
“Some customers want the retail experience, some want the pickup. Some like it at the office,” he said. “At every point we are adding more and more convenience.”
For Clawson resident and new mom Lindsay Young, the service made sense. On Tuesday, she got her first pickup. Huntington employee Jessica Harris used the app to inform her she had arrived for pickup. Young met her at the door, gave her instructions on how she wanted things cleaned and sent her laundry off. Later, after it has been processed, she can choose a drop-off time on the same app and pay for the service as well.
“It’s convenience, especially because I’m home and I never know when he’ll be sleeping,” Young said of her month-old son. “It’s easier than trying to plan a time to drop it off and pick it up.”
The folks at DRYV are partnering with Huntington Cleaners to offer on-demand pick up and drop off of laundry in Corktown and Midtown in Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Oak Park, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson and Bloomfield Hills. There is a minimum charge of $20 to qualify for the on-demand service. The DRYV app is available for Apple and Android phones. For more information, visit www.dryv.com or www.huntingtoncleaners.com.