Liberty Cleaners Will Close On May 28 After 112 Years

WILKES-BARRE – Liberty Cleaners, a downtown Wilkes-Barre facility since 1910, will close its doors on May 28, leaving a void in the city’s history and character.

Owner Stacey Papadopoulos, 66, has mixed feelings about closing the store his grandfather opened 112 years ago, but as he rummaged through plastic-wrapped clothes waiting to be picked up by loyal customers, he said, “It’s time.”

Papadopoulos, 66, said he will miss these customers and banter back and forth, but is looking forward to helping his son, who works as a mechanic in Plymouth and intends to spend a lot of time working on his old cars.

He said, “I’m here by myself.” “I also have a woman who comes in to do alterations and repairs. I started helping out in this area when I was 12.”

This is a long period and has so many memories, Papadopoulos said, which will make closing the doors for the last time on Saturday, May 28, even more difficult. The business and building at 93 North Main St. On East Union Street for sale. There have been inquiries, but Papadopoulos said it is closing with or without an agreement.

As he said, “It’s about time.”

Papadopoulos lives in the town of Hanover. He has two adult sons and he and wife Judith will have more time to spend together.

Liberty Cleaners schedule

Papadopoulos’ grandfather, Pete, opened the company in 1910 in the name of Victoria on the first block of East Market Street. Papadopoulos said that since dry cleaning hadn’t been invented yet, The Victoria was a place where you could polish your shoes and clean your hat.

In 1920, the company moved to Public Square and was renamed Liberty Hat Cleaning and also included a barber shop, shoe shine platform, hat cleaning, and ironing.

Papadopoulos said dry cleaning arrived in the 1930s.

“This was the place where you could come into town and get energized,” Papadopoulos said. “We stayed in Public Square until 1977 when we moved to our current location here on North Main Street and Union Street.”

Stacey’s father, George, took over Pete’s duties, and Ted also joined the business.

“Yes, I feel bothered now,” Papadopoulos said. They say “Bob has opened the business and you are closing it.” ”

You can tell Papadopoulos suffers from this reality, but he knows that despite the entire shelves of freshly cleaned clothes waiting to be picked up, it’s really time to move on.

It’s a strange feeling, closing down my family’s business,” Papadopoulos said. “But it had to happen sooner or later.”

For decades, Papadoplos has opened and closed the store. The hours were 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday. Those hours changed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Like I said, I will definitely miss people,” Papadopoulos said. And he added with a smile, “And I will really miss the salary.”

the cars

Papadoplos loves cars and has so many things he can’t wait to pay more attention to. He has a 1973 Z-28 Camaro, 1970 Oldsmobile 442, 1986 Buick Grand National, 1955 Chevrolet, 1999 Corvette.

“When I get on my Camaro and drive my car, I feel like an 18-year-old again,” Papadopoulos said. “I love working on them and am sure I will be spending a lot of time with them.”

celebrity stories

There are pictures of celebrities hanging on the wall at Liberty Cleaners. Papadopoulos said he never met most of them, but did clean their clothes. Among these celebrities, signed photos of Liani and Neil Diamond.

“One day, a guy walked in and said he was here to pick up Joe Cosgrove’s clothes,” Papadopoulos said. “The guy looked familiar and then it shocked me – it was the actor Martin Sheen.”


Many customers arrived to buy clothes. They all had the same question: “Where do we go now? Advises Papadopoulos ADS Dry Cleaners, 173 Main St., Luzerne. The response is usually, “All the way there?”

Papadopoulos assures them that ADS will do a good job.

But that’s not the point the customers were trying to make. They were trying to send a message to Papadopoulos – that they will miss him, they will miss Liberty Cleaners, they will miss a part of their lives that they depended on for so many years.

From the long days of polishing shoes and cleaning a hat and owning a place where you can have it all, to a trusted dry cleaner run by a guy with a likable personality and a passion for muscle cars in his youth, it’s an era about to end.

Mixed feelings, yes – wherever you look.
You can reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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