Omaha's 1st Tide store will add twist to dry cleaning

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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:00 am

With a double-lane drive-through, a 24-hour dropoff box and a kiosk for pickup, it’s not your grandmother’s dry cleaner.

Combine those features with a brand that’s been a household name for decades and you’ve got Tide Dry Cleaners, which will open its first Omaha location in early June at the intersection of 147th Street and West Maple Road.

The Omaha location will be the 16th store nationwide, said Tide Dry Cleaners’ corporate spokeswoman, Cheri Winchester.

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The stores are a concept from consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and its FutureWorks innovation arm, which looks for ways to expand famous brands. It also came up with Mr. Clean Car Washes that include Wi-Fi, televisions and spray guns for children to aim at passing vehicles.

The first Omaha Tide location will include the drive-through lanes where customers can pick up and drop off their dry cleaning during business hours.

The business also will feature a kiosk that can be used for pickup outside of business hours — picture a machine that looks like a RedBox connected to the storefront. Customers register their credit or debit card with the store so that when they swipe it through the kiosk, it delivers their clothes via a conveyor system. Each spot on the conveyor system is identified and linked to a customer name, which is then linked to the customer’s debit or credit card.

“We really think that that’s something that’s going to really be attractive to our customers,” said Kimberley McCutcheon, owner of the Omaha-area franchise that includes Lincoln and western Iowa.

One of Omaha-based Nu Trend Dry Cleaners’ six stores is directly across West Maple Road from the new Tide store. Nu Trend owner Michael McKernan said he believes the company’s mostly flat-rate pricing will be competitive. He said the company would respond with more aggressive direct mail advertising and added signage at all store locations.

“We’ve withstood a lot of different competition over the past 27 years,” McKernan said. The bigger Max I. Walker Omaha chain said it would have no comment.

When the pilot Tide Dry Cleaners opened about five years ago in Kansas City, Kan., McCutcheon and her husband, Rob, took note. Rob, who has experience with marketing, and Kimberley, a stay-at-home mom, had always wanted to own a business.

When Tide opened its dry cleaning businesses for franchising, it sealed the deal for the McCutcheons. “This seemed like a great decision for our family and something we could bring to Omaha and help the community as well,” Kimberley McCutcheon said.

All Tide Dry Cleaners use a silicone-based cleaning system, marketing it as environmentally better than many dry cleaners that use perchloroethylene, or “perc” to clean clothes.

Other services Tide will offer: for a fee, customers can use Tide’s “back-to-black,” “restore to white” and “restore to color” services, which bounds fabric tighter and then infuses it with color, and free basic mending, such as sewing a button back on or fixing an open hem.

The store also will launder items that customers would prefer “pressed to perfection,” McCutcheon said, such as dress shirts, polo shirts, shorts or slacks.

Unless requested otherwise, all garments dry-cleaned and laundered will be infused with Tide Fresh scent — a scent familiar to generations.

The store is in the process of hiring, and McCutcheon said she expects to eventually hire 10 to 15 full-time employees.

McCutcheon said the Tide name will draw curious customers in — but it’s up to her and the staff to keep them coming back.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1414, paige.yowell@owh.com

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