DRYV Offers Detroiters On-Demand Dry-Cleaning and Delivery

Believe it or not, my least favorite thing about Detroit is not the crime, systemic poverty, or proliferation of twee, wildly overpriced hipster boutiques. What drives me crazy about the Motor City is actually the utter lack of delivery services and on-demand service provider options. Savvy startups are beginning to notice that hole in the market, too, and have been moving in to try and capitalize on pent-up demand.

The latest is a Chicago-based dry-cleaning venture called DRYV. Co-founder Dan Parsons said he was interested in bringing the company to Detroit because there’s a “thriving energy” here that’s palpable.

“Chicago has a very large city center, and we were looking to test DRYV in a mid-market city,” he explained. “Detroit is a very emerging city and downtown with an up-and-coming tech community. Those were the right ingredients for a test market.”

DRYV offers an app that customers can use to schedule a pick-up of their dry cleaning. The company partners with metro Detroit’s Huntington Cleaners to send a driver to pick up the clothes within 24 hours. (Parsons said if drivers are already out on the road when you put in your request for pickup, they’ll arrive within an hour or two.) DRYV’s cleaners consult with customers at the pick-up to find out if there are any special instructions or stains that need attention.

Once the clothes are picked up, DRYV’s cleaners provide status updates along the way and send itemized receipts by e-mail. When the order is complete, customers are informed by text, and they can then go online and schedule delivery of their clean clothes. Parsons said the service is available seven days a week, and turn-around time for the entire process is 36 hours or less.

DRYV was established last year by Parsons and his co-founder, Chris Elipas. Parsons has long worked as an app developer, and Elipas was in wealth management before an unfortunate dry-cleaning incident gave him entrepreneurial ideas.

“His cleaner lost a pair of his pants, so he asked if he could come in and look for them,” Parsons said. “The cleaner told him that they didn’t handle the cleaning on-site. That made Chris interested in the industry in general, because it seemed like there was a lot of room for improvement.”

There’s a big difference in the level of service offered by high-end dry cleaners compared to corner drop-off spots, Parsons said, and what they sought to do with DRYV was “empower the best cleaners in the area and give them an easy way to interact with consumers.”

DRYV currently delivers to the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Detroit and some of the suburbs north and east of the city, but Parsons hopes the company can expand its local service area soon.

“A lot of it comes down to density,” he said. “Once we hit a certain density in the downtown area, it will make sense to expand outward. Chicago is so different, so we’re playing it by ear in Detroit.”

If things work out for DRYV in Detroit, Parsons has bigger aspirations: The company would like to expand to more than a dozen markets across the country over the next year or two. Though the venture has so far been mostly bootstrapped, Parsons expects DRYV will seek an investment round in the near future.

DRYV started taking orders in Detroit in June, and to celebrate, the company is throwing a big coming-out party on July 23 at Bamboo Detroit; click here to RSVP for free tickets.

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