Today Was My Best Visit Ever to the Dry Cleaners

A routine visit to the dry cleaners today took on a new meaning. Penny Profit Cleaners is located on 15th Street, an east-west corridor through Tuscaloosa whose landscape was changed forever April 27th by an EF-4 Tornado.

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Dropping off garments to be dry cleaned is about as routine a task as one can have in a particular week or month.

But,  early today shortly after 8 a.m., I wasn’t sure I would be able to run that basic errand.  After taking different streets to the University of Alabama campus, I wondered if I would also have to find a different vendor to clean the two dozen shirts and a business suit that happened to be in my cleaning bag this time.

An EF 4 tornado last Wednesday afternoon leveled neighborhoods and businesses less than a block away from Penny Profit Cleaners, which is located at 508 15th Street.

Imagine my feeling as I drove toward the intersection of 15th Street and Hackberry Lane and looked to my left to find Bama Lanes (the major bowling alley in Tuscaloosa)  and Penny Profit still standing.   My heart leaped as I realized these Tuscaloosa institutions had been spared even though places a stone’s throw away were gone.

The Penny Profit staff there noted that today was their first day operating after the April 27th storm.   So their business has been affected.  But, they were just happy to be alive, something I think all Tuscaloosa residents would say today.

In the remaining days of this week, we will be taking note of what might otherwise seem like small or insignificant things that are part of the “new normal” that comes after a deadly tornado changes your community forever.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

1 thought on “Today Was My Best Visit Ever to the Dry Cleaners”

  1. So great to hear of a business (or two) that survived in that area. I was worried where my dry cleaning business was going to go. Wonderful news in an otherwise not-so-wonderful time.

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