‘It wiped me out’: After 38 years, Chilean immigrant owner of dry cleaning business in trouble

It only took weeks to unravel what an immigrant from Chile spent his livelihood creating in Wall Township, after nearly four decades in business. The coronavirus pandemic put an immediate halt to the dry cleaning and tuxedo rental business.

News 12 Staff

Oct 27, 2020, 4:01 PM

Updated 1,361 days ago

Share:

It only took weeks to unravel what an immigrant from Chile spent his livelihood creating in Wall Township, after nearly four decades in business. The coronavirus pandemic put an immediate halt to the dry cleaning and tuxedo rental business.
Pat the Tailor helped make three generations look good, but that may all end because of COVID-19. 
“We lost also the schools, closed for prom season and wedding season and the dry cleaners because people don’t come for cleaning things, they stay home,” says Pat Villarroel.
A reality has set in for the owner and his wife, Omaira -- despite being deemed an essential business, the lights remain darkened inside the showroom, a small effort to save whatever money he can on electricity.
“I leave the lights off to save money,” says Pat. “All of this is completely out. As you can see, nobody comes, the empty spaces outside.”
They've exhausted their loans, PPP monies, and if a new loan doesn't get approved soon, Pat says after 38 years, his tailor business will be over.
“It wiped me out. Yes,” says Pat. “Although we have a few grants and the PPP and the whole loan from ACA, it's not enough because people don't come to pick up clothes from here. In March, the end of February and March, they don't come and pick up, so it's very hard.”
Pat says the dry-cleaning side continues to suffer because why would anyone need a pressed suit and shirt for a Zoom call from home. Pat says he has the funding to stay open through the end of the year, but without a loan and without any changes with COVID-19, there's simply no way he can survive another prom less spring.
The small, yet successful, shop for 38 years in the Colfax Plaza could very well become another victim of the pandemic.


More from News 12
1:27
Prosecutor: Infant girl dies after being left inside parked car in East Hanover

Prosecutor: Infant girl dies after being left inside parked car in East Hanover

0:23
CDC: NJ resident dies from listeria food poisoning linked to deli meat

CDC: NJ resident dies from listeria food poisoning linked to deli meat

2:11
Cool temps overnight; mix of sun and clouds this weekend with chance for rain

Cool temps overnight; mix of sun and clouds this weekend with chance for rain

2:31
Global technology outage causing flight disruptions at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport

Global technology outage causing flight disruptions at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport

2:25
A massive tech outage is causing worldwide disruptions. Here's what we know

A massive tech outage is causing worldwide disruptions. Here's what we know

NJ Transit to resume regular weekend schedule following disruptions due to extreme heat

NJ Transit to resume regular weekend schedule following disruptions due to extreme heat

2:01
Doctors urge parents to get their children in for doctor visit ahead of new school year

Doctors urge parents to get their children in for doctor visit ahead of new school year

0:48
Jersey Proud: Stockton students spend summer measuring New Jersey shoreline

Jersey Proud: Stockton students spend summer measuring New Jersey shoreline

0:53
Beachwood West Beach closed for rest of summer due to high bacteria levels

Beachwood West Beach closed for rest of summer due to high bacteria levels

2:02
What happens if Biden drops out of the race? Here are some scenarios

What happens if Biden drops out of the race? Here are some scenarios

0:26
Costco sells ‘emergency food supply’ bucket with a 25-year shelf life

Costco sells ‘emergency food supply’ bucket with a 25-year shelf life

5:00
Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

0:31
Man dies after he rescues two young boys who were struggling to stay afloat in New Jersey river

Man dies after he rescues two young boys who were struggling to stay afloat in New Jersey river

2:14
Property taxes increase in some New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

Property taxes increase in some New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

0:26
Russia convicts reporter from NJ of espionage after a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Russia convicts reporter from NJ of espionage after a trial widely seen as politically motivated

0:26
Loose lid blamed in latest Dunkin’ lawsuit from Elizabeth woman

Loose lid blamed in latest Dunkin’ lawsuit from Elizabeth woman

2:20
Paws & Pals: Prince now available for adoption with Best Friend

Paws & Pals: Prince now available for adoption with Best Friend

0:36
Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

13:51
'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

1:39
New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents

New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents