Corona Stories from The Netherlands: “If Hospitality Sector Opens, Everything Will Be OK!”

Like many companies affected by recent Corona pandemic wave in Europe, Stomerij Zeyrek from The Netherlands is also suffering from the COVID19 related measures. However, they do not give up and try to make the best of it with the family.

In a material published by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, the story of this family business is presented, with a focus on the Corona challenges faced by the entire Retail Textile Cleaning sector.

“We still exist,” says Betul Zeyrek smiling. “The restaurants and hotels are still closed, but we are still here.” The past year has been tough for the Zeyrek family. The family took over the dry cleaner 17 years ago and expanded the business to 2 stores, dozens of pick-up points and 14 employees. Due to the closure of the catering industry a year ago, a huge part of their annual turnover was lost. “And with all the people who now work from home, we no longer get suits and shirts. Some customers used to bring them weekly. And of course there are no more parties and weddings, so no wedding dresses and other occasion clothing.”.

Day and night

The fact that the company is still standing is due to the family, says Zeyrek. “That is our strength. Because everyone is willing to put everything into the company day and night. ” For example, the family started looking for extra patronage. “We approached our remaining customers for additional assignments. And we have expanded our working area. My parents are currently driving a route 4 evenings a week to Ede, Amersfoort, Nieuwegein and Wijk bij Duurstede to collect steam goods from tailors. This allows us to compensate a bit for what we have lost to other customers.”


From private to company car

In addition, extra depot points have been set up where the dry cleaner collects washing and steaming goods. “Until Hengelo and Enschede. We collect everything ourselves, so that we do not have to use an extra driver. In October my parents exchanged their private car for a company car. That was sour, but it was a major cut.

And where we previously hired someone quickly when it was a bit busier, we now do more with the same people. We would be happy to recruit a representative for larger customers. But he must also have a company car, telephone and laptop and that is not possible now. That is why my father now makes many company visits. ”

Only full machines

In order to save costs, the family decided, in consultation with the staff, to shorten working hours. From 5 days a week, the machines are only running for 3 days. “We save the steam to run only with a full machine.” For a little more financial space, the Zeyrek family turned to the bank for a loan, but they were not helped there. “The bank did not consider our business viable, while we had our highest turnover in the months before the corona crisis. They advised us to sell the machines. But that’s just like with a car: they are very expensive new, but second-hand they don’t pay much anymore. ”


The Zeyreks have not considered borrowing money in other ways. “The bank said that we should only borrow from our family, but that is not negotiable for us.” Throwing in the ax is also not an option so far. “We will do everything we can to avoid having to stop. As long as we can pay the staff, we will continue. ”