Longtime Marblehead dry cleaner closes in COVID’s wake

Mayflower Cleansers on Atlantic Avenue is closing on Friday, Jan. 20, after 87 years in business. Several dry cleaners have closed in town recently, leaving only one remaining.

“I’ll miss Marblehead. The people in Marblehead are nice,” Mayflower owner David Schleri told the Marblehead Current. “It’s a sad moment.”

A sign on the window at Mayflower Cleansers announces its closing. PHOTO / LEIGH BLANDER

Schleri, who lives in Beverly, has owned Mayflower since 2004. He says since COVID, people don’t need dry cleaning as much.

“Times have changed, especially with the pandemic. There’s remote work, Zoom meetings and an increase in casual wear. The bills keep going up and fewer people are coming in.”

Scherli said he tried to get another dry cleaner to take over.

“I reached out to a lot of people. No dry cleaner is booming right now.” He does not plan to reopen anywhere else.

Stephanie Doliber Lynch has worked at Mayflower for 15 years and said she’s “sad to see it go.” So are Mayflowers’ customers, who are coming in to pick up their clothes for the last time. Doliber Lynch said Mayflower is known for its community feel.

“We’re a family place with a homey feeling. And we’re very dog friendly. We always had cookies for the dogs.”

Katherine Koch, director at the Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, said she always brought her clothes to Mayflower. Even Santa got his suit cleaned there after the Christmas Walk every year, she said.

“Especially for Marblehead, which is a community that is proud to shop local, it’s unfortunate that we’re losing this long-loved and established business,” Koch said.

News of Mayflower closing prompted an outpouring on Marblehead social media pages with hundreds of people posting.

“Absolutely devastated,” wrote one woman. “Loved this wonderful business, the amazing staff, the professional output and just the pure comfort of having a place I could effortlessly rely on. A huge loss.”

“So very sad indeed,” wrote another. “To the owners and dedicated workers, a heartfelt ‘Thank you,’ and best of luck. You will be missed.”

Yet another: “Sadly, another Marblehead store is closing. I still miss going to Chet’s Video.”

The one remaining dry cleaner in Marblehead is Carter’s located at Village Plaza.

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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