Customers Impacted by Zoots Closure Can Pick Up Items

Customers who were impacted by the sudden closure a Massachusetts-based dry cleaning company were able to pick up their clothing on Friday.

Last week, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge approved a motion that would allow Brockton-based Zoots to reopen stores temporarily so they could return garments to customers.

The dry cleaning chain, founded in 1998, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Jan. 19. They closed all 17 of its locations the following day, leaving customers to wonder what would happen to the clothing they had dropped off.

All Zoots locations were open from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday so that customers could pick up their items.

Constantinos Marinos of Cambridge waited three hours and 15 minutes for his dry cleaning at that city's location.

Many customers were lined up outside in the cold. The mood was more like what you would see on Black Friday. There was sharing of food and drink, and friendships formed.

"Someone gave me three glasses of brandy. I had a couple of Irish coffees, I bought hand warmers for everyone in line," said Marinos. "It was worth it, I made a couple of good friends."

"It's been frustrating, but the camaraderie in the line is great. And a shoutout to Angus behind the counter because he's a longtime employee and he's here to face the music," said Morgan Fergus of Somerville.

Store officials said if customers can't make it, the clothing will be available next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the main office in Brockton.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Maura Healey's office said officials had been communicating with the Zoots' attorney and bankruptcy trustee after receiving complaints.

In addition to customers being impacted, employees had to deal with the instant shutdown and had their paychecks deposited one day, then reversed five days later, erasing two weeks of pay.

According to court documents, Zoots fell into $430,000 debt with Mutual One Bank.

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