Dry cleaner with unusual pricing model coming to Indy

A dry-cleaning franchise that tries to distinguish itself from competitors by charging a flat rate for every garment is planning to open multiple stores in the Indianapolis area.

Husband-and-wife team Larry and Emma Frutkin have agreed to open five Zips Dry Cleaners in the next five years and are nearing a deal for the first lease.

They hope to have a location at 4901 E. 82nd St., last occupied by the Fox & Hound Pub & Grille, open in August, Larry Frutkin said. Other stores are expected to follow in Carmel, Fishers and downtown.

Frutkin, 40, plans to invest $1 million in each store, a few of which could be newly constructed.

“We’re going to disrupt the market,” he said, “and hopefully the market responds.”

Founded in Greenbelt, Maryland, in 1996, Zips touts a same-day, one-price business model. It doesn’t matter if the item is a necktie, a wedding dress or a pair of pants, the flat rate for dry cleaning is $2.29, or about 60 percent less than the industry average, Frutkin said. Comforters run $19.99, also less than the industry average of about $40.

“You’ll get people who are dropping off golf shirts and jeans, because it’s so inexpensive,” Frutkin said.

Zips can charge less, Frutkin said, because every item is dry-cleaned on-site. That’s different than most other dry cleaners, which usually perform the work at a location other than the drop-off site. That also enable Zips to offer same-day pickup. National chain Martinizing Dry Cleaning, which recently opened a Noblesville store, pioneered the on-site dry-cleaning concept.

Frutkin, an Indianapolis native, had been in the residential real estate market, flipping houses in Chicago. But with three young boys, he and his wife wanted a more “structured” career, he said.

Zips has more than 50 stores in six states with another 250 in various stages of development.

Each store in the Indianapolis area will employ about 25 people, the Frutkins said.

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