ALBANY (CBS 5) — An international trade dispute over wire hangers is being felt by Bay Area dry cleaners, and customers could end up paying for it.

Steve Sadler and his wife Janis have owned Norge Cleaners in Albany for 32 years. “Most all the hangers that we buy today are made in Vietnam or China,” Steve Sadler said.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, hangers from the two nations have flooded the market, forcing nearly all domestic manufacturers out of business. The feds have slapped a 187 percent tariff on imported hangers, which has more than doubled the cost to dry cleaners.

Co-owner Janis Sadler said customers have noticed the price increase. “Customers never like it but as cost go up for supplies you have to do it,” she said.

Steve and Janis said hangers are hardly worth harping about and that real cost increases are coming from utilities, chemicals and wages. But every cent counts for the neighborhood business, which goes through nearly 10,000 hangers a month.

The owners encourage people with wire hangers from dry cleaners to bring them back for recycling, so that fewer hangers need to be purchased.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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