New Canaan Cleaners Owner on Moving to East Maple: ‘It Was Time for a Change’

New Canaan Cleaners on Monday moved from its longtime home on Pine Street over to a newly updated space at 12 East Maple St.—a change that it’s owner said was prompted by emerging difficulties with customer parking on Pine, rising rent and the likelihood that the building will be demolished within two years.

New Canaan Cleaners has moved to 12 East Maple St. Credit: Michael Dinan

New Canaan Cleaners has moved to 12 East Maple St. Credit: Michael Dinan

David Mandel, a partner in New Canaan Cleaners with his father Irwin since early 1990, said that after extensive remediation on the site, a new structure is planned with retail on the ground floor and apartments above.

“So I had to find an intermediate place or a permanent place and we found a permanent place, and my concern was my customers because the parking was getting to be an issue with the deli right there and coffee right there and us,” Mandel said. “It was beginning to get a little crazy, the rent got very expensive and I thought it was time for a change.”

The structure at 71 Pine St. has housed a dry cleaning outfit since 1958, according to Mandel. A cleanup of the property is necessary because past business operators at the site likely had used chemicals that require remediation.

New Canaan Cleaners for the past 18 months has practiced “organic dry cleaning” out of its own 5,000-square-foot factory in Stamford, Mandel said.

New Canaan Cleaners this week moved from its longtime home at 71 Pine St. (pictured here) to 12 East Maple St. Credit: Michael Dinan

New Canaan Cleaners this week moved from its longtime home at 71 Pine St. (pictured here) to 12 East Maple St. Credit: Michael Dinan

Though the chemicals used in “organic dry cleaning” don’t come from the soil, it is differentiated from traditional dry cleaning because it doesn’t use perchloroethylene, or “perc”—a chemical that the EPA says poses environmental risks.

“Everything we use is biodegradable,” Mandel said.

He added: “That’s part of the big move, is going organic.”

Prices and services remain exactly the same at the 1,000-square-foot space on East Maple Street (new cabinets, counters, floor, paint job), which also includes a lot out back and plenty of on-street parking. Two tailors and four counter workers man the shop, Mandel said.

Mandel said he’s enjoying the new location already and receiving very positive feedback from a wide base of loyal customers.

He’s also enjoying a relationship with his new neighbors, the always-smiling staff at Sokushindo reflexology. (Irwin Mandel, David’s dad, has received foot massage therapy and “loves it,” the younger Mandel said.)

“They’re very nice, couldn’t be nicer,” Mandel said. “I hope my being there brings them even more business. I have a wide customer base.”

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