Recovering property from a closed business.

My local dry cleaner hasn’t been open for over a month now. I went one morning to drop off some shirts and found them closed during normal business hours. I went somewhere else, but I’ve kept a close eye to see if my regular guy will reopen. So far, no dice. However, I can see plenty of clothes ready to be picked up hanging in the window (thankfully they’re not mine).

What happens to those people whose stuff is trapped in there? Do they have any recourse or route to recover their clothes? I know small businesses aren’t usually rolling in cash, and a month without revenue might be enough to sink the poor guy forever. If they never actually reopen, did a whole bunch of my neighbors just lose hundreds of dollars in clothing?

It’s a longshot but you could check for a bankruptcy filing, and if the business has filed bankruptcy you could contact the administator and see if s/he can help. I don’t know which district Shaumberg is in, Northern, Central or Southern.

My dad lost a portable stereo that way–it was in a repair shop that vanished. OTOH, I gained some nice pornography when my local video store closed in the same fashion.

Practically, they can try calling whatever numbers are available for the business (maybe the business number is a still-working cell); checking bankruptcy court records (if there is a bankruptcy, contact the trustee); and calling the landlord (who may have current contact information for the owner). If the owner is dead, imprisoned, or just missing, none of that will accomplish much.

Other than that you’d have to file suit for replevin (gimme my stuff back). Here in Michigan they call it claim and delivery ( The business owner will surely default, which will result in a judgment for possession. Then you could get the sheriff to enter the business and get your stuff back. Even if you handle the case yourself, though, it’ll set you back a few hundred bucks (filing fee, service fees, maybe publication fees, sheriff’s fees, maybe a bond). So you’d better have some expensive clothes in there for it to be worthwhile.