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Zoots alors: Dry-cleaning chain shuts down, tells customers it's trying to figure out how to get their clothes back to them

Josh Gottlieb reports getting e-mail from Zoots that the chain has shut down and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (that's the kind where it just goes away forever, rather than reorganizing). The message continues:

Please be patient as plans are being made to get your garments back to you.

In its Chapter 7 petition, filed yesterday in federal bankruptcy court in Boston, the Brockton-based chain said it has liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million, but assets of less than $50,000. Among its creditors: Comcast, BMW, Eversource, Home Depot and a variety of cities in the Boston area in which it has outstanding taxes.

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PDF icon Zoots bankruptcy filing119.86 KB

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Comments

Was planning to drop off some shirts at Zoot, but now I guess it’s moot.

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Oh shoot.

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I believe most (?) of those individuals listed as creditors in the bankruptcy filing were Zoots employees - I recognize the name of the manager of the Porter Sq. store. That sucks.

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Certainly feel for the employees affected. If you are an employee or know one have them contact us at my lapels.com/jobs. Lapels Dry Cleaning is hiring in most of these areas that are affected.

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dropped off their suits at Zoots.

'Yoot'? What's a 'yoot'?

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I once brought down my winter jacket to have the zipper fixed; for the princely sum of $27 not only did they not fix the zipper, the zipper broke off. I ended up taking the jacket to Crystal Cleaners and they did a super job for half the price.

The people were nice enough; they just didn't give a plonk about doing what they were supposed to do.

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your headline.

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Suit riot...riot. Throw back a bottle of beer.

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Mom &Pop places are still the best places. Not a fan of the Muppet Zoot.

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proprietor has the most charming habit of humming a little song to herself every time she puts my cash in the register, like Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas: "Nickels, nickels, nickels!"

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I switched to Rinse.com as soon they launched here. A friend of mine from San Francisco told me about them. Rinse rocks!

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Must be nice to be able to afford

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to do it a lot, but it's a good idea from a maintenance standpoint. As with your car and your teeth, ignoring basic upkeep of clothing is unwise short-term thinking in my book. Untreated food stains, for instance, invite clothes moths, which can be ruinous, and one successful incursion can spread to the rest of any animal-based fabrics you own, including wool, silk, and leather. If you value your curtains, sweaters, and outerwear, that's something to think about.

Most Americans don't wear a lot of clothes that require dry-cleaning anymore. Nowadays, guys maybe own one suit or blazer for weddings, funerals, job interviews, court appearances. Fast-fashion outlets like H&M, Primark and Uniqlo make it easier to go cheap on that stuff and just replace it periodically: none of it lasts. But if you spent money on something of better quality, I think it's only common sense to take care of it.

Either way, sponge out or otherwise treat food stains as soon as you can, brush and air out suits, sport coats and dress slacks after wearing them, dry-clean them according to wear: once a year is a good idea if you rarely wear them, more frequently under duress, like if you sweated hard in them, or find (as I shamefully, routinely do) that you got gravy or butter or wine on them. Professional hazard of the restaurant critic, I guess.

If you care about this issue and are frugal about it like me, you'll also buy cheap plastic shoe trees at CVS and use them religiously in any decent pair of leather shoes, sneakers and boots you own. I have shoes that I've owned for twenty years that still look great but would have looked like shit after a year -- with a giant, ugly crease across the instep -- if I hadn't been taught to do this. An occasional polish, and wiping off mud and snow salt right after you take them off, also helps. (Thanks, Dad.)

I don't do a lot of dry cleaning, but I do administer a bare-minimum level of care to my tailored clothes (suits, sport coats, dressier pants and overcoats), and always clean second-hand purchases from thrift stores, consignment shops, vintage stores, and online sources like eBay and Grailed, which make up most of my wardrobe. I use my local cleaner to launder dress shirts and sparingly dry-clean tailored clothes that shouldn't go in the washing machine, and for alterations (modest jacket-sleeves and slacks-hem adjustments), which expands the range of used clothing I can buy.

Basic maintenance: you may consider it a luxury, but you probably shouldn't.

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"... buy cheap plastic shoe trees ..."

If you care about your shoes enough to use shoe trees, pony up for some cedar ones - they absorb moisture while the plastic ones won't. We're talking ~ $20.

They'll last, essentially, forever - you can hit them with some sandpaper ever few years to refresh them. I still use a pair that belonged to my dad.

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are indeed nice. I own a few pairs, gifts accumulated over the years, plus one pair that was included with some fancy shoes I once bought. But if I thought cheaping out on shoe trees were a bad maintenance shortcut, I wouldn't take it. I have a few reasons not to favor cedars.

For starters, if plastic shoe trees inhibited sweat evaporation, my twenty-year-old pair of shoes would presumably be musty and smelly -- the average man excretes eight to 16 ounces of sweat per foot every day -- but they're not. It probably helps that I never wear the same pair two days in a row: the recovery time lets them dry thoroughly and regain their uncreased shape.

The inexpensive, single-spring cedar ones (like the $16 pair Nordstrom Rack carries) tend to lose their spring tension after a while; double-spring ones are much better on this score, but usually at least $30 a pair. Brooks Bros. and others sell springless ones that have an adjustable rod with a clamping screw knob, but they're even pricier, usually $40+. There are custom-sized ones that are even more expensive. Getting and keeping the right tension with plastic ones is a snap, and they're only $5-$6/pair.

I also find the cedar ones much harder to get in and out of some shoes, especially pairs with narrower toes, as well as boots, whereas the plastic ones have a levered action that obviates that. And cedar shoe trees are heavy if you like to pack and travel light. I made that mistake once, only travel with plastic now.

I should ask for more cedars as gifts from friends and relatives who never know what to get me. It never occurred to me to sand them periodically: that's a great tip, thanks!

I've convinced a few friends to acquire my custom of diligent shoe-tree use. Plastic lowered their bar to entry, and in my experience doesn't represent a significant performance sacrifice vs. wood. Cedar is certainly more old-school, classier, and imparts a nice scent. But you don't need to spend that money to protect your investment in quality shoes. Once you start, and see how greatly they extend the life of your shoes and how long they look nearly new, the habit tends to stick.

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Comments like this make me wonder how in touch you are with the world. You want to run for an office that serves business people and you are going to $hame them for the extravagance of dry cleaning. Probably best you did not win.

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My husband wore a suit to his doctoral thesis defense.

At the time, Boston University was paying graduate students something like $27,000 a year...and the amount was only that high because his doctoral advisor had several large grants to pay him year-round salary as a researcher: many of the other students were making about $18,000 for teaching classes in addition to their research and coursework. This was within the past 10 years.

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