Rising from the ashes
Harris Cleaners is back with new look, looking for tenants
By Willie Kiernan
After about 10 months, the washers and dryers are back, and they're bigger and better than ever. Fred and Margaret Harris said Harris Cleaners will be back in business at 138 Albany St. on Monday Feb. 26.
"The main thing was getting the washers and dryers operational again," said Fred Harris. "It's been tough on the community, which you wouldn't know unless you did your laundry here."
After an electrical shock caused a fire last April, the dry cleaning end kept doing business from the Town and Country Plaza without skipping a beat. However the community was left without a place to do laundry. Just about all of the machines were lost in the fire.
"The fire was on a Tuesday night and we re-opened in the plaza on the Friday," Fred Harris said.
Harris Cleaners has been operating in the plaza ever since, and will continue to be there up until this Saturday. At 1 p.m. they will close those doors and begin the move back to Albany Street.
"Everyday people say how good the building looks," Margaret Harris said. "They've been incredibly supportive and loyal and excited. It's as if they've already bought into this concept."
"It looks a lot different," Fred Harris said. "The laundry room is totally rebuilt, and for all intents and purposes, is brand new."
After the fire, nothing much was salvageable. The Harrises added larger washers and super-large dryers to accommodate comforters and quilts. They also intend to put in wireless Internet.
"Margaret had the ability to say this is a good time to make a change," Fred Harris said. "Ray Scruton, from Zausmer-Frisch Architects, did a great job."
By contracting out the dry cleaning to another location, as they've been doing for the last 10 months, Harris Cleaners can now operate in half the space. The western half of the building, about 4,000 square feet, will be rented out to one or two tenants.