Charleston’s Arrow Dry Cleaners set to close its doors after 84 years of business


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A nearly century-old dry cleaning business is set to close its doors at the end of the year. The owners of Arrow Dry Cleaners on Rutledge Street in Downtown Charleston say they are being forced to close due to a lack of necessary supplies needed to clean clothes.

Arrow Dry Cleaners was established in Downtown Charleston back in 1938. Vivian and Larry Garvin have owned it since 1975 operating the family business.

“It’s been a labor of love and you know that’s the backbone of it right there,” says Larry Garvin.

For the Garvin’s, it’s been a labor of love with each piece of clothing cleaned at the business over the past nearly century.

“Where we clean it and then we air dry it and then we hand press it,” says Vivian Garvin.

“And still we do a lot of old fashion right back there in the back,” says Larry Garvin. “That works!”

But the Garvin’s say things haven’t been the same since the pandemic.

“It’s going to be hard, I’ve never been without a job,” says Vivian Garvin.

The Garvin’s plan to close Arrow Dry Cleaners at the end of the year after 84 years of business at the same location.

“Supplies,” says the Garvin’s. “Supplies is number one. And the labor workforce. Labor force. Age.”

A family affair for the Garvin’s who say their children didn’t want to take over the business but feel like it’s their time to go.

“I don’t know, I’ve got to get over this,” says Vivian Garvin. “It’s like losing a child.”

A lifetime of ups and downs for the Garvin’s providing memories abundant for the loving couple.

“One day Katherine bell walked in here from Army Wives, I didn’t recognize her,” says Larry Garvin.

A business built on the customers and employees serving all walks of life.

“It’ll be sad not seeing the customers,” says Larry Garvin. “Yeah, we’ll plunder around town.”

Marking the end of an era for Arrow Dry Cleaners and the Garvin’s.

After 84 years, thousands of customers, and even more memories. The Garvin’s say they’ll collect their last green ticket at the end of the year and then spend some time traveling but they say you can expect to still see them around the City of Charleston.

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