Siouxland family keeps dry cleaners open in Le Mars

Local News

When a Le Mars family recently stepped in to make sure the town's dry cleaning business stayed open, it was a relief to many.

LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – It can be a struggle for smaller communities to hang onto hometown businesses, so when a Le Mars family recently stepped in to make sure the town’s dry cleaning business stayed open, it was a relief to many.

The Brown family owns the Brown Century Theater and the Inn on Central in Downtown Le Mars.

When the owner of Ideal Cleaners was ready to retire but couldn’t find someone to buy her store, the Brown family stepped in.

“We would have to search for another and I don’t know how far you would have to drive Sheldon or Sioux City, I really don’t know. We might have to start doing more laundry at home,” said Renken.

Bil Renken has been dropping off his laundry at Ideal Cleaners for years.

“We usually stop once a week. My wife likes to be dressed to the hilt,” said Renken.

Last summer, the owner of the 23-year-old business began looking for a buyer. When no one stepped up, it was starting to look like the town of Le Mars would be without a dry cleaner. She offered to sell the building to Michaela Brown and her family.

“I think she was thrilled. She knows all of those customers after 23 years by name, and now we are kinda learning them as well, so when you see people regularly, you know, you learn people in the community, you get to see and visit with family,” said Brown.

Brown said her family never expected to get into the dry cleaning business.

“A lot of people come in and say thank you for keeping it open. We couldn’t bring our stuff anywhere else or we would have to drive a long ways to get dry cleaning. Like I said, it’s the only dry cleaners in Le Mars and you would have to drive at least a half-hour either way to get dry cleaning,” said Brown

The Brown family says they will be overseeing Ideal Cleaners, but have already hired some staff to handle day-to-day operations.

“We were very happy because we knew they would do a first class job,” said Renken.

The Brown family has already repainted the cleaners and added a wash house area with soaps and lotions for customers to buy.

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