Local News

New Army Uniforms Could Mean Dry Spell For Cleaners

Posted August 18, 2005 12:28 p.m. EDT

— Soldiers wear uniforms that need a lot of care. After many years, the Army is switching to wash-and-wear camouflage. Many believe it is long overdue, but dozens of local dry cleaners are worried business will dry up.

Randall Hinds of Sue's Sewing owns a dry cleaner near Fort Bragg. He counts on soldiers for his business. "Almost 90 percent of our business is nothing but cleaning and sewing military uniforms," she said.

However, things are changing. The Army is replacing the new uniforms with others that do not need dry cleaning, as much sewing or any shining.

"We're no longer spending time polishing boots or breaking starch to get out into formation," said Fort Bragg Commander MG Virgil Packett Jr.

Many agree it makes sense for the Army. Still, dry cleaners wonder what it means for them.

"It affects the employees as well as the business obviously because I'm not going to pay them for hours they can't work. There's no work to do," said Don Stevens of Kim's Alterations.

Fort Bragg has roughly 50,000 soldiers. Almost 2,000 troops have the new uniform. The entire Army plans to have every soldier in the same uniform within the next three years.