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Posted on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

Customers can't retrieve clothing from closed cleaners in Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

Some customers at the Colonnade Cleaners on Eisenhower Parkway have been missing their clothing since dropping it off in early July, when the business closed unexpectedly amid failure to make rent payments.

The storefront of the cleaners, located at 881 W. Eisenhower Parkway in the Colonnade Shopping Center, has been dark for weeks, although the business is still packed with unreturned clothing.


The Colonnade Cleaners in Ann Arbor's Colonnade Shopping Center on Eisenhower Parkway closed unexpectedly in July with customer's unreturned clothing still inside.

Photo from

Tom Goldberg, an owner of the Colonnade Shopping Center, said the cleaners closed sometime in July without notifying him and the business is far behind in making rent payments.

“I don’t have any clue where he is,” Goldberg said. “It’s kind of a mystery to me. He hasn’t paid rent and he’s way in arrears.”

Goldberg couldn’t put a figure on the total amount of money the tenant owes him.

The entity was registered to Susie Pang, but according to state records the business was dissolved in 2009. There's no updated ownership information available.

Now, Goldberg has started an eviction proceeding against the cleaners in a landlord/tenant action.

“This is just what I would call a normal landlord/tenant eviction, but it has a twist because it has stuff that belongs to third parties,” he said.

Colonnade Cleaners customer Linda Edwards-Brown is concerned about when she’ll get her clothing back from the cleaners. She said she dropped off the items for cleaning nearly eight weeks ago.

“I’ve been over there probably a dozen times or more,” she said. “People have their clothes in there and can’t get them out. I spoke with a woman who said she has $500 worth of clothing in there.”

Because the business is still a tenant in the center, Goldberg said the owner has legal control over the premises, which keeps Goldberg from entering the locked building.

“It’s all locked and we can’t go in there,” Goldberg said. “But the court order should take effect in the next two or three weeks, which would allow us in.”

Goldberg, who has gotten several phone calls from concerned Colonnade customers, said that he’d figure out a way to return people’s clothing once the court order takes effect.

“We will figure out a strategy to get people their clothes back, because I obviously have no interest in holding onto someone’s clothes,” he said.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

We've been going to Colonnade Cleaners for years, the owner has always been so nice to us. What I found a bit strange was that before he left on "vacation," he called us several times to remind us to pick up our clothing before he left. I'm now seeing he knew exactly what he was doing and am saddened that he felt this was the only way out.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

This is unbelievable. This guy had 10 of my husband's work shirts - some very expensive and only worn once - and he ruined about 4 of them earlier this summer. He didn't even have them ready in time - we came back twice and the second time they were allegedly clean (didn't smell very clean) but unpressed but my husband needed them for a trip so i ironed them instead. We are nice people and like to give people the benefit of the doubt so we still paid the full price for the cleaning. The owner kept 1 shirt saying he could fix it. Then he was gone for all of July with no explanation. We came back in early August - August 11 I think? And he was actually there! He showed us the shirt, it was still stained and ruined and he said please give me one more chance to fix it because we were saying he needed to replace it. We said what if you close for a month again without explanation. He said "That was just July" - ok...again we are too nice so we said fine and he said come back Wednesday. Wednesday came and went and he wasn't there and hasn't been since. And now I see this article. The shirt has bad stains but I think a reputable cleaner could get it out. We saw the eviction notice posted last week so we really just want the shirt back. It was (of course) the most expensive shirt my husband owes and he'd only worn it 2 times before he gave it to this fraud. Frankly, the shirt isn't what bothers me the most - it's the fact that this guy lied to our faces several times - especially the last time when he knew he was in trouble and kept the shirt anyway and now we can't get it back.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

what a way to treat their customers.

Tom Teague

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

What a shame. I used Colonnade Cleaners frequently for the last five years. The owner was great to deal with and had a prodigious memory - he always asked about family members and other events in my life. My dry cleaning and laundry was always done well and -- with a couple of exceptions -- on time. I'm sorry it came to this and hope for a speedy resolution for everyone who has clothes locked in the building.

Dr. Webster

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

Golly! I've been plucked clean again and it aint even time for the Thanksgiving turkey. I guess I'll just have to strut on down to the mall and buy me some new duds. Who was it that said, "Cleanliness is close to godliness?"


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

Now I know what they mean by "taken to the cleaners".

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

"It's kind of a mystery to me. He hasn't paid rent and he's way in arrears." "according to state records the business was dissolved in 2009." This is where common sense needs to trump legalize. A nonbusiness behind in rent shouldn't be able to hold hostage items owned by third parties. This is the sort of nonsensical stuff that makes many shake their heads in disgust at the legal system.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.

I don't think you understand anything i said Matt. I'm merely suggesting how things ought to work not how they do work. NO I don't expect the owner of the building to circumvent "the system" Its "the system" I'm ranting about. Its kind of like when a guy who spends 20 years in prison is found to be innocent. I think common sense says he should be let go immediately. But too often "the process" requires him to sit in prison for several more days or weeks while "the system" crosses its t's and dots its I's.

Matt Cooper

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 3:09 a.m.

So, common sense tells you that Mr. Goldberg should just break open the doors of this business without a court order, and risk civil liability along with criminal charges just to get these people's clothes back to them? As if it's his responsibility? H'e s doing exactly what a responsible landlord should do, and I'm glad his sense of common sense is quite a bit different than yours. You seem to want to lay the responsibility for the return of the clothing items squarely on everybody but who it should be on: The former business owner who walked out not only on his lease and his business, but on his customers as well. None of these "legal system" claims by you would be made he the former business owner lived up to HIS responsibilities in the same professional manner with which Mr. Goldberg is living up to his. Secondly, the laws are the way they are for a reason, and there is a reason landlords can't simply unlock a door and walk in without permission from either a lessee or a judge.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

It absolutely is a legal system issue. "Goldberg, who has gotten several phone calls from concerned Colonnade customers, said that he'd figure out a way to return people's clothing once the court order takes effect." People can't get their stuff back till a court order is issued. A court order is a legal issue. My whole point stands. Your actually making my point for me. "For the property owner/lessor to do anything else would potentially land him in either civil or criminal court." These folks can't get their stuff back because its held hostage by "legalize". I'm saying it would be nice for common sense to prevail. Unlock the door and give the folks their clothes back.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

This isn't a "legal system" issue. This is an issue because a business owner walked away from his obligations to 1. pay rent to the lessor, and 2. return property owned by his customers to said customers. The only thing the owner of the building can do is exactly what he is doing: obtaining an eviction notice along with an order to enter the property in question. For the property owner/lessor to do anything else would potentially land him in either civil or criminal court.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

I used this cleaner for the last year. He was always very nice and even memorized my phone number within the first three visits. But two months ago I went in to drop stuff off and he told me it would be "two weeks" because he was going on vacation. I told him I needed them sooner, so I took them someplace else. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here, and assume something happened to him on vacation, but it seems that he just skipped out on his obligations.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Same thing happened with me. He was always very friendly, had a great memory about customers, etc... Now I wonder if the "two weeks" was a warning? Glad I didn't leave anything there, but I feel bad for the others who did.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

The story says state records show "the business was dissolved in 2009", so Ms. Pang was apparently only playing a dry cleaner while in real life she was something else entirely. Anyway, my best guess is no attorney has any of his or her clothing inside that store because otherwise either the stuff would have been released by now or the person with the key to the door would have been locked up.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

The clothes as well as the landlord's back payments on the rent are probably out of the country by now.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Thanks Lizzy! I know that there are probably a lot of other folks like me, who simply want their clothes back. So, if the owner is reading this, or if you know the owner, please can you put a note on the door or call me and let me know when I can pickup my clothes? /LEB


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

The owner of the cleaners has legal control over the premises. Goldberg is an owner of the Collonade Shopping Center. I imagine as a tennant, the cleaners owner has some similar kind of rights as an apartment renter/lessee as to when a landlord may or may not enter the property.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

The situations under which a landlord can enter without the tenant's permission are very limited. For routine maintenance, repairs, etc. they must obtain permission from the tenant before entering or they will risk being in violation of lanlord/tenant laws.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

apartment tenants have the right to tell the landlord when they can enter? in mckinley apartments they often will put a note on your door saying they are going to come in sometime that week to do work whether you are home or not


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I propose a new Ann Arbor city ordinance whereby if a dry cleaning business is going to close, it has to first return the clothes to its customers. It shall be called "The Bailment Protection Ordinance."


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

"Because the business is still a tenant in the center, Goldberg said the owner has legal control over the premises, which keeps Goldberg from entering the locked building." Is it just me or does this sentence not make any sense? If the owner has legal control and Goldberg is the owner, shouldn't he be able to enter the building? Also, part of me feels like he should charge the customers for the cleaning of their clothes to get back some of his past rent but then again, I also think he should just let them have them since they had to go through so much trouble to get them back, and chance are since they sat there so long, have them cleaned again.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Beside what Matt Cooper said, there's nothing to indicate that the clothes in question have even been cleaned. They may have been sittin' n' stinkin' for the past two months. I'm guessing that the business owner is long gone. The shopping center owner is correct in getting the proper legal permission to enter the unit. He's already said that he will return the clothing after he goes through the court process. I suspect that's the smallest of his problems with this site. The other questions I'd be asking are "Who owns the equipment inside?", "Do the dry cleaning chemicals pose any particular hazard?" and "Is there any special cleanup/remediation that needs to be done?" It's just too bad that the shopping center owner has to clean up someone else's mess.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

Goldberg was referring to the owner of the dry cleaning business, not to himself, the owner of the shopping center. It's a landlord tennant dispute whereby the landlord/building owner cannot enter the space rented by the owner of the business without a court order allowing him to do so. Such an order would have to be accompanied by an eviction notice. Secondly, to suggest that he charge the owners of the clothes is ludicrous. It is the owner of the business that owes him money, not the businesses former customers.