SPOKANE--Your dry cleaning bill could soon go up by a few pennies because the cost of wire hangers is going up.
Beacon Dry Cleaners and Laundry has eight stores in Spokane. Between them all, they run through, on average, between 500 and 800 articles of clothing a day. The customer receives each one with a hanger.
Each hanger right now costs roughly six cents. Beacon owner Hi Bum Kim says he was told the price for hangers would go up, so he bought enough to last through the end of the year.
Last week the U.S. imposed trade penalties on wire hangers from Vietnam. One California based hanger supplier says it will have to nearly double its price.
Some businesses say they are thinking about passing the cost on to customers, but not Kim. A couple years ago Kim purchased two dry-cleaning machines that use very little solvents, so he says he picks up some savings there. Some customers also return their hangers which he's able to reuse.
Kim has been in business for almost three decades and says he’s had to learn how to juggle the cost of labor and supplies.