TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD — Jerry Sakran has spent the last 48 years on the same corner of Syracuse… Midland at West Kennedy. He took over his father’s store, Valley Cleaners of Midland Avenue, in 1973.
“I made a living,” Sakran says. “We bought a home, you know. I drive a decent car. I mean, we’ve done OK.”
But the time has come for Jerry to hang it up. The pandemic has been tough, as it has been for everyone. For more than a year, his customers have been working from home. Church services were cancelled, so choir robes didn’t need cleaning.
Trade magazines say revenues for many cleaners are down 50 percent. Jerry says it’s closer to 30 percent for him. But at age 73, it’s just not worth opening up each morning. “Forty-eight years is a long time, and like I said, we must’ve done something right.”
He’s pretty sure he’s done right by the community. They loved the Black history calendars he gave away at the holidays. And neighbors knew they could depend on the Sakrans when they needed help. “Coats for Kids in the wintertime,” he remembers. “Supported Little League, basketball tournaments, and donate clothes to the churches that asked. Come in, we give them all that we could give them.”
As they’ve been cleaning out the store, Jerry has been setting aside a lot of items that have never been picked up. They’re all clean. They’re all hanging on hangars. And they’re all ready to be donated to charity.
The Sakrans haven’t been cleaning clothes for the last couple of months. They’ve been selling off their machinery and preparing to put the store up for sale. Customers have been stopping by to say goodbye. Jerry says most have wished them well, though some have urged them to stay.
Jerry will be open from noon to three ‘til the end of June for final pick-ups. After that, racks of recently-cleaned garments will go to his brother’s store, Valley One-Hour Cleaners, 4748 Onondaga Boulevard at Velasko Road, for pick-up.
Once he locks the doors on the 30th, Jerry and his wife Donna will spend more time with their four kids and nine grandkids, many of whom still live in Central New York. But the Sakrans won’t stray far from their hometown.
“This is our roots,” Jerry says. “This is where we are. This is where we’re gonna stay. I mean, Florida is nice, but we’re not gonna go to Florida.”
After all, it’s got to be hard to getaway clean, after this long in one spot.