Siouxland Stories: Levine Cleaners closing their doors after 70 years in business

Siouxland Stories

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — The community of South Sioux City has seen their sign painted on brick for 70 years and at the end of this month, Levine Cleaners will close their doors for one last time.

On July 30, Al and Carol Levine will officially close their dry cleaning business, started by Al’s father in 1951 and run by this couple since 1968.

“There’s a lot of memories in here. A lot of them I can’t take with me. I kind of grew up in this place, I went to school down the ally from here, and this is my playground,” said Al.

Which is why this storefront has always meant so much more to Al than just a place to work.

“We met a lot of people and we enjoyed those people. We conversed with those people, and I followed in my dad’s footsteps,” Al said.

After working side-by-side for five decades as a couple, Al and Carol were asked what that was like.

“We are with each other 24/7 except for when I’ve been in the hospital and she went up to clean up after her mother passed away,” said Al.

“It works, we’ve had our trials and errors, like any marriage had but we made it succeed. And she doesn’t want to change husbands anymore because they’re too difficult to change,” said Al.

Carol said she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A typical day for the couple was filled with a steady flow of customers and a routine.

“I get here in the morning. I have a couple cups of tea and a chocolate chip cookie. Then I go back and start the machine up, clean a load or two of clothes. And then when I get them in the machine, I eat my breakfast. Then it’s a matter of doing some pressing or sewing or whatever has to be done,” Al said.

“I’m here doing coats on this press. Using the suzy there, and the utility here,” Al explained.

“Here’s a couple of uniforms from the late 50’s or early 60’s,” Al said, showing off uniforms courtesy of a baseball team his late father sponsored.

“This is our social outlet. We’re going to really miss our customers. I want to thank all the customers who gave us the business too, I really appreciate that,” said Al.

So what’s next?

“I’ve got some talents that other people don’t have, like I can put in zippers in coats, I can shorten pants, I can put zippers in pants, and maybe I’ll do something like that, who knows,” Al said.

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