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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

After 60 years, company still delivers services to customers

Sunday, September 7, 2008

(Photo)
Patty and Jason Brown, owners of Budget Laundry and Cleaners Inc. in East Prairie, pose by one of the business's delivery trucks. The company is celebrating 60 years of service in the area.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
EAST PRAIRIE -- One of the longest-running businesses in East Prairie has to be Budget Laundry and Cleaners Inc. This year, the company celebrates 60 years of service to Mississippi County and the surrounding area.

Present owners Patty and Jason Brown bought the business in 2004. And Patty Brown said the help of dedicated staff -- with a combined 125 years in the laundry business -- is what helps Budget Laundry continue to thrive.

Dora Helen (Henry) Poe has worked there since 1956. She also has family ties with the company -- her mother worked there for 35 years as a seamstress and her sister Audrey Fergeson worked there for 40 years, while Eunice Henry, another sister, has been employed at Budget Laundry for 32 years. Also on staff is Peggy Benson, who has done alterations for 28 years.

Budget Laundry and Cleaners opened on April 19, 1948, under owners James Bruce and Bob Bush. In February 1954, the business was incorporated. Then, Budget Laundry offered laundry and dry cleaning, in addition to shoe repair. At that time, the business operated 13 delivery trucks and served customers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

In 1990, new owners took the helm, when 17-year employee Donna Byassee bought the business with Glenn Howard, another employee. The two operated Budget Laundry for 13 years before selling to Don and Jill Chance in December 2003, who then sold the business to the Browns in 2004.

Some of the earlier delivery drivers for the company, as recalled by Byassee, included Bob Bush, Joe Leible, Claude Berry, Bill Guess, Vince Schmidt, D.C. Willbourn and Noonie Bruce.

Since purchasing the business, the Browns have continually upgraded the equipment and building. The said they strive to make their business a "One Stop Laundry Shop."

"This summer has been our best so far, and as business continues to grow, we plan to continue modernizing and upgrading while remaining cost effective," said Patty Brown.

Poe recalled the old way of dry cleaning, when machinery was located outside the building, because a flammable solvent was used.

"When they bought in that new machinery, I thought 'There is no way I can use this,'" laughed Poe.

The new machinery is automatic, explained Brown, and with just a couple pushes of a button, the dry cleaning begins.

And although shoe repair is no longer offered, other services have endured. In addition to dry cleaning services, the staff can starch, press, iron, and make simple alterations to clothes. Budget Laundry also offers commercial services such as rental of uniforms, rugs, wet mops, dust mops, kitchen towels, aprons and shop towels.

Pick up and delivery services are currently available in Sikeston, New Madrid, Matthews, Cairo, Wickliffe, Wyatt, Charleston and East Prairie. Drop off services are also available for clothing, comforters and quilts.

Monthly specials are also offered.

"We strive to meet the needs of the community with providing the best customer service," said Patty Brown. "We are proud to have served the community for 60 years and will continue that dedication."

Business hours are from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Budget Laundry is located at 213 East Chestnut, and the phone number is 649-3131.