ZIPS Arrives in Newport News, Virginia
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ZIPS Arrives in Newport News, Virginia

Seasoned Operators Tony Akaras and Shahid Hashmi Open Their Fourth Location, Bringing Quick, Convenient, Low-Cost Garment Care to a Market They’ve Served for Years

November 20, 2023 // // VIRGINIA - ZIPS has taken the wraps off its latest location, bringing its unique brand of low-cost, quick-turnaround garment care to Newport News, Va. The new store opened today in the Sherwood Shopping Center at 13795 Warwick Blvd, and is operated by Tidewater Cleaners LLC, a franchise entity owned by partners Tony Akaras and Shahid Hashmi. Full- and part-time positions are currently available.

Akaras and Hashmi opened their first ZIPS plant, where all cleaning and tailoring services occur on-site, in Essex, Md., in 2014. Earlier this year, they purchased a second plant in College Park, Md., from another franchisee, and opened a drop store, where items are received and returned to customers within the same timeframe and at the same cost as at plant locations, in Glen Burnie, Md. They plan to open at least two more ZIPS locations in Virginia and Maryland over the next two years.

Exemplifying the hub-and-spoke expansion strategy that facilitates growth within a market for franchisees and allows them to maximize their investment in building and purchasing equipment for full-service plants, Newport News will serve as the processing site for a drop store that is scheduled to open in Williamsburg, Va., early next year, and the College Park plant will process items for a drop store in the area of Greenbelt and Hyattsville, Md., when that location opens later in 2024 or in early 2025.

“We congratulate Tony and Shahid on their latest opening in Newport News,” says Bob Barry, President/CEO of ZIPS. “Our system thrives on ambitious operators like them, who are committed both to maximizing performance and customer satisfaction at each location and to adding locations to bring our popular offering to more communities. We look forward to seeing the Newport News store flourish and to celebrating with Tony, Shahid and other franchisees as we continue expanding our system with new locations in the future.”

Newport News was a natural choice for their latest expansion with ZIPS, Akaras explains, as he and Hashmi both have ties to the area via previous ownership of Popeyes restaurants there, including one immediately adjacent to the new store.

“We love Newport News and, after an extended development period brought on by the pandemic, we are proud to finally be bringing ZIPS to the area,” says Akaras. “Opening here gives us a great opportunity to provide an affordable, convenient and much-needed service to a community that has welcomed and supported us for many years.”

“We’re especially excited to be opening in the Sherwood Shopping Center, which recently welcomed the local police department – a potential source of both personal and commercial business for us as well as an added layer of safety” adds Hashmi. “The strip mall is also scheduled to undergo major renovations soon, which will bring an influx of other commercial neighbors as well as shoppers to the site.”

This latest addition to the ZIPS family follows fast on the heels of another store debut last month in the Northwood section of Baltimore, adjacent Morgan State University. ZIPS now has 70 locations throughout the United States where both residential and commercial customers can bring their apparel and other items to be dry cleaned, cleaned and pressed, washed and folded and tailored. ZIPS is distinguished and loved for its single low price for any garment and “in-by-9-out-by-five” guarantees for dry cleaning, as well as similarly low prices, convenience and reliability in all of its garment care services. Like most ZIPS locations, the Newport News site will maintain a 24/7 EZ Drop door enabling customers to drop off their items at their convenience and will soon add door-to-door delivery via DoorDash®.

A Grand Opening celebration for the new store is currently being arranged and will be announced in the near future.

About ZIPS Cleaners®

ZIPS Cleaners® provides consumer and commercial garment care centered around low-cost, in-by-9-out-by-5 dry cleaning as well as Wash N Fold laundry, pressed laundry, alterations and cleaning of linens, comforters and other household items. ZIPS was launched in the early 2000s when eight of the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area’s premier dry cleaners banded together as a unified brand offering same-day service at a single low price. With more than 100+ years of dry-cleaning experience and business expertise, these founders created a streamlined process designed for easy replication by industry veterans and newcomers alike. Today, there are 70 ZIPS locations throughout the United States, with more than 100 slated to open in the next several years. Franchise opportunities with ZIPS are available in select markets throughout the United States. For more information, contact Director of Business Development Mike Waintraub at or (609) 468-7195, or visit



Media Contact:

Greg Pitkoff
GRiP Communications LLC
(718) 404-9277

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