It was the typical American Dream: A newly-married couple, the happy groom from the US and the young bride from Germany settled in the states in search of a trade and some beautiful, unpopulated land where they could raise a family. Earl and Augusta Mangin fell in love with Bucks County in 1960 and never looked back.
The couple had a plan. They started a dry-cleaning business by purchasing a new truck and going door-to-door in the neighborhood rounding up customers’ dry-cleaning and taking it back to the small shop they rented on Bustleton Pike in the Richboro Post Office Shopping Center. The clothing was cleaned, pressed, and then delivered back to their appreciative customers.
With their magnetic personalities, natural charisma and keen business sense, their system worked like a charm, and in no time they were forced to expand to the present location, which formerly housed an auto body shop.
At this time, Earl Mangin also purchased several properties along Second Street Pike, the current property being one of them. Construction began immediately on the building to create a high-tech facility where all professional services could be done on-site.
Earl Mangin laughed as he related how his new dry-cleaning business faced expansive cornfields on the opposite side of the street.
“There was nothing there,” he said. “It was just cornfield after cornfield; it was really nice to look at.”
It was a pleasure to come to work, he said, not only for the staff he employed but also for his customers who were constantly coming and going.
The years passed swiftly as the business earned and maintained its stellar reputation. Customers didn’t think twice about dropping off their shirts to be laundered, or to have their suits, dresses, gowns, coats, sweaters, rugs and leather goods professionally cleaned. The items were often ready in an hour.
“Our customers are always completely satisfied. We have over 50 years of experience removing all kinds of spots,” Earl Mangin said. “We stand behind our work and our customers know that,” he added. “We offer fast service with an eye on quality at fair prices."
Discount coupons and specials are also offered, pretty much every day of the week. Tuxedo rentals and expert tailoring are also available.
Earl’s Cleaners is the oldest drive-in cleaners in Bucks County, Earl said. He recalled, as many old-time residents do, the changeover (in the early 1970s) that offered customers the ultimate in “Toot and Tote” drive-in convenience. Earl said the caricature sign announcing this new amenity remained posted outside the establishment for years.
Earl’s son, Derek, and daughter, Heidi, run the business with him today since his wife passed away several years ago. A Churchville resident by choice, Earl said he couldn’t imagine doing business anywhere else but right in his very own neighborhood.
Scores of local residents who pack up pounds of clothing and head to the handy drive-through attest to the fact that Earl’s Cleaners remains one of the most successful dry-cleaning businesses in the county.
Earl’s One-Hour Drive-In Cleaners is located at 816 Second Street Pike in Richboro. Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (215) 357-5200 for additional information.