Two Alterations By Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners to add Golden Tuxedo rentals

WICHITA — Alterations by Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners partners Abdul Arif and Craig Miller, who share locations, are expanding two of their businesses to include tuxedo rentals as well.

“The dynamics of having the tux business as part of the dry cleaners and the alterations is a perfect fit,” Arif says.

They’re partnering with Gary Golden who has Topeka-based Golden Tuxedo and Hygienic Golden Touch Cleaners.

“The dry cleaning business has had its ups and downs,” says JD Deines, who is with both Topeka companies.

Pairing with the tuxedo business can help the bottom line, he says.

Deines says he used to think the businesses are related like distant cousins.

“They’re actually more brothers and sisters,” he says. “It’s just worked really well.”

Deines says it’s important to measure a tuxedo correctly.

“That’s where … we found that this makes a lot of sense.”

Also, he says once a tuxedo has been rented, it has to go to a dry cleaners to be cleaned.

“It’s a good combination.”

Deines says the companies decided to share their story with other dry cleaners to expand the concept.

“So our first market that we chose is actually Wichita.”

Arif and Miller will renovate their stores at 1210 S. Rock Road and 10555 W. 21st St. to include a Golden Tuxedo at each shop.

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Alterations By Sarah opens in Lawrence

WICHITA — Samir Arif wasn’t yet born when his parents first started Alterations By Sarah in 1982, but now he and his wife are opening a branch of the Wichita company in Lawrence with plans to one day take over the entire business.

“It was always sort of something we thought about doing, spreading the business into other parts of Kansas,” Samir Arif says.

His parents opened locations in Oklahoma City in the 1990s but then sold them.

His father has six of the shops in Wichita still.

His mother, Sarah Lockwood — the shop’s original Sarah — is now divorced from his father and is out of the business.

“It’s kind of funny because my wife’s name is also Sara, without the ‘h,’” Arif says.

He is former deputy director of communications for the governor, and Sara Arif is the former director of public affairs for the state Department on Aging.

Their shop is at Sixth Street and Wakarusa on the west side of Lawrence. Samir Arif says even just a couple of years ago, that area was considered rural.

“The last couple of years, there’s just been an explosion of new development,” he says. “We’re pretty hopeful.”

He and his wife, who are having what he calls a gradual store opening this week, haven’t decided where they’ll open next.

“At this point, we haven’t really made any plans going forward,” he says. “It’s just a matter of getting this one up and going.”

Arif says he’s happy to be following in the footsteps of his parents, who immigrated from India.

“They’re really very much the story of the American dream,” he says. “I’m just very much looking forward to carrying on the tradition.”

Alterations by Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners expand their retail partnership

WICHITA — Some small businesses struggle to compete against big chains, but Alterations by Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners have found a way around that.

“This is kind of a neat little concept how mom and pops have banded together,” says Alterations co-owner Abdul Arif.

The companies share space near 21st and Maize and Kellogg and Greenwich and are preparing to merge their third and fourth sites.

It’s what Arif calls a strategic partnership to reduce overhead, improve customer service and co-brand to increase their market presence.

“You know, it’s worked out really good,” says Craig Miller, who owns Millers with his parents, Betty and Danny.

“We think it’s a neat little . . . business model,” he says.

The Millers’ first venture with Arif was in 2001 near 21st and Maize.

Arif was looking for west-side space, and he couldn’t find anything less than about $30 a square foot, which he says was too high for him.

The Millers were looking for a new store then, too, and Arif suggested sharing retail space.

Then, in 2008, they moved together near Kellogg and Greenwich.

Now, the Millers at the Cherry Creek shopping center at Harry and Rock is moving across across the street to the Alterations space at 1210 S. Rock Road. Millers will open there March 1.

Next week, Millers will open at the Alterations space at McConnell Air Force Base.

“Anyone that has to . . . open a retail (store) knows the expenses involved with doing that,” Craig Miller says. “Just the sheer square footage cost of rental and utilities.

“We’re able to cut that in half.”

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