Dry-Cleaning Economics

We are waiting to get the unemployment numbers in from September. July and August both showed a rise in numbers, meaning the Texoma economy is on an up-tick. There is another, much simpler way to gauge the Texoma economy than unemployment numbers, that's by looking at business trends from dry cleaners.

The concept is simple; the more business being conducted, the more business attire being worn. Eventually the threads wind up as laundry at a dry cleaners. Also, observing dry cleaners business trends is a way to gauge consumer's willingness to spend on services.

Brian Hooker, owner of six Comet Cleaners cleaners locations in Wichita Falls says over all his business has been steady. "We've been very steady throughout the last few years... The state of Texas has been very steady, and when you look at the dry cleaners in other parts of the country they have kind of been down, but it kind of goes with their local economy.", said Hooker.

According to leaders with the National Cleaners Association, job layoffs hit the industry hard: People just didn't need to wear their suits. Comet Cleaners and Texoma in general bucked the trend. "The people here are still out and about spending money and they are willing to spend money on services they need." Something for which Hooker is thankful. "I'm glad to be in Wichita Falls doing business here. Its very stable, easier to do business here."

Comet Cleaners never saw the downward spike that many other areas reported. Hooker says that in recent months, sales and garment counts are actually showing an upward trend. Something that should prove to indicate Texoma's economy is getting better.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6