Village Green Cleaners Turns 40! »
For $16 you can have your feather pillow cleaned inside and out. Same-day dry cleaning is offered at no extra charge, provided items come in early in the day.
These are just some of the standard services at Village Green Cleaners in New Milford and Ship Shape Cleaners in Brookfield.
How does one clean a feather pillow? Paul Bagley, who owns both shops and has been in the business 53 years, explains:
“We open the pillowcase up, dump the feathers into a machine, clean them with an ultraviolet light, then blow them into a brand new pillowcase ticking and sew it up. It makes it like a brand new pillow.”
Another hallmark of Bagley’s dry cleaning businesses is that its uses an environmentally friendly solvent known as GreenEarth cleaner.
“It doesn’t bleed colors. That’s a key thing and it’s the only solvent that is completely non-toxic,” he said. “It is a very gentle cleaner, as opposed to a dry cleaning solvent made of perchloroethylene.”
Bagley graduated in 1960 from Danbury High School and worked for his father, who ran Bagley’s Cleaners on South Street in Danbury. “I worked for 13 years for my father, then I left and started on my own.”
He bought his first store at 47 Main St. in New Milford in 1973. In 1976 he bought Ship Shape in the Caldor shopping center (now home to Kohl’s and BJs). After losing his lease about 10 years ago, he moved it to 270 Federal Road.
Karen Snyder is among Bagley’s Brookfield customers.
“I feel like we’re all friends,” she said. “They’re my favorite cleaners and I’ve been going (to Ship Shape) for 20 years since moving to Brookfield. My husband works in the city and I bring all his suits and clothes for work. He always looks pressed. And my two daughters are little fashionistas and they like to look nice. I bring their dresses, their nice clothes, ones from J. Crew and other (stores) that are made of fabrics I can’t clean myself.”
Both shops offer free uniform cleaning services to those in the Armed Forces, clergy and local fire departments, said Christine Gaudio, who manages the Brookfield store.
“I’ve worked here for 36 years. They’re wonderful people,” she said of Bagley and his wife, Roberta Bagley, also an employee.
Gaudio praised her employer for her work schedule flexibility. “I was able to be involved with my children plus work as they were growing up.” Her three children are grown and she has four grandchildren.
Ship Shape Cleaners and Village Green Cleaners are open Mondays to Wednesdays, 6:45 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays, 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brookfield: 203-775-3355; New Milford: 860-354-8780.