Goodwill Partnership Turns Local Dry Cleaner into One-Stop Shop for Donors

Time is money, and Zips Dry Cleaners in Richmond helps customers save both. The business, which offers same-day dry cleaning at just $2.29 per garment, recently added another convenience at its 10828 West Broad Street location: a donation partnership with Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia.

“When we opened in Richmond, we wanted to get more involved with the community,” said Ziyad Shalaby, who owns and operates Zips’ franchise location in Innsbrook. “I felt like our values aligned with Goodwill. Our goal is to bring quality dry cleaning to the masses at an affordable price. Goodwill does the same with donations — providing high quality items at a good price to support its mission,” said Shalaby.

He teamed up with Russ Rainer, Goodwill’s donor development manager for Central Virginia. “Ziyad told me he wanted his business to be more than just a dry cleaner,” said Rainer. “He wanted to be active in the community and make a difference,” Rainer added. The two decided to set up a donation bin for clothing and shoes inside Zips.

“This enabled Zips to become an official Goodwill donation drop off location. Anyone can walk inside and give their gently-used items,” said Rainer. He said partnerships like this are a win-win for both the nonprofit organization and the private business. “Zips customers who are also Goodwill donors now have another convenient location to drop off items, and we are grateful for their donations. On the flip side, current Goodwill donors who didn’t know about Zips can become new customers because they found a new dry cleaning location,” said Rainer.

Shalaby also praised Goodwill’s expertise when it came to the logistics of transporting and picking up donations. “There’s almost nothing I have to do, as the business owner. Goodwill brought the donation bin to our location and they make weekly visits to pick up the donations,” said Shalaby.

Shalaby said he received positive feedback from his customers after he started his donation partnership. “Some customers who picked up their dry-cleaned clothes decided to donate them on the spot. We’re a one-stop shop for customers who want to bring in donations from home,” he added.

Donating gently-used items to Goodwill keeps 40 million pounds of goods out of local landfills each year. Goodwill re-sells donated items at its retail stores, and the revenue funds workforce development programs for individuals facing challenges to work.

Goodwill and Zips also have parallel commitments to the environment. The company has a well-known hanger recycling program. According to Zips, more than three billion hangers end up in landfills each year. “We want customers to bring their hangers back because there is no reason to throw them away,” said Shalaby.

Also, Zips’ plastic bags are 100% biodegradable. “If you leave your clothes in the bag for too long, the bag will fall apart,” said Shalaby.

Shalaby said his professional decision to work with Goodwill also fulfilled a personal goal. “My sister has special needs, so our family has supported Goodwill for a long time. We believe in its mission of helping individuals with barriers to employment find work,” he said. In 2017, Goodwill served 8,600 new job seekers and continued providing employment support to 575 individuals with disabilities, helping to place them with more than 1,100 employers.

Shalaby said Zips plans to open more dry cleaners in Richmond over the next few years, and he wants to continue a partnership with Goodwill at those locations. “Goodwill is near and dear to our hearts. We support it anyway we can,” he said.