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Islington family firm fears being cleaned out by US rival

PUBLISHED: 16:17 03 March 2012

Owner Engin Eshref outside Spots Dry Cleaners established in 1962

Owner Engin Eshref outside Spots Dry Cleaners established in 1962

Archant

The owner of a dry cleaner’s celebrating its 50th birthday says the business is under threat – after a big chain opened opposite.

Family-run Spots Dry Cleaners opened in Upper Street, Islington, in 1962 and has been serving the community ever since.

But now owner Engin Eshref is worried its days could be numbered after the American Dry Cleaning Company – which has 26 branches across London – moved in over the road last week.

He said: “We only found out what it was going to be two days before it opened. Companies like this are damaging local businesses.

“I am worried they will come in and undercut us because, as a large chain, they can afford to.

“At times like these, people are looking to save money, so I’m worried they will be tempted to look for cheaper options.

“It will be a big threat to our business.”

Despite his worries, Mr Eshref hopes his family’s history in the community can help Spots survive.

He said: “Everything is done on site with the personal touch. People demand good care and good service. They’re fussy, and so am I.”

Cllr Susan Buchanan, who represents St Mary’s ward, encouraged residents to support small businesses.

She said: “Islington’s small businesses are being pushed more and more out into the cold and we seem powerless to prevent it.

“We now have yet another example of extra pressure put on one of Islington’s friendly, local companies that has been serving our community for many years, by a large chain now opening its second shop on Upper Street.

“I would encourage residents to support these small local companies as much as they can.”

The American Dry Cleaning Company was founded in 1990 with its first store opening in the American Embassy.

Manager Louis Monteiro said: “We hope to bring competition and new business to the area – and something new to customers.

“It’s not a good time for everyone right now, but let’s hope both firms can thrive.”

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