College Cleaners Opens in Former West Lebanon Post Office

— One of the Upper Valley’s oldest family-owned dry cleaners is settling into its new location in the old West Lebanon post office building.

College Cleaners opened in the free-standing post office building at 43 Main St. in early October after losing its lease on space in the Co-op Food Store in Centerra Park, where the business had operated for the last 10 years, said manager Regina Rocke, whose family started the business 75 years ago in Hanover.

“October was slow for us. We were really busy in Centerra, and we lost some people who were used to us being in the Co-op. But we’ve had a lot of followers, and I think things will pick up once people figure out where we are,” she said.

The Co-op plans to use the space for staff training and perhaps a teaching facility with a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes, operations manager Tony White said.

The postal service moved out of the 1,281-square-foot Main Street building in August 2011 and relocated to a new facility on Benning Street behind Shaw’s supermarket in West Lebanon.

College Cleaners has its main store in Hanover and a drop off and pick-up facility in the Laundry Room in Woodstock. The company cleaning plant is in White River Junction.

“The new location is good, but it would be better if we were just expanding, rather than just relocating,” Rocke said. “We have same-day service there, and I think it’s going to work out fine for us. It just takes time.” The old post office was a noteworthy vacancy because the building had been a center of activity in the village of West Lebanon. The old library, a few doors down at 57 Main St., is another, and it, too, is on its way to being reoccupied, the new owner of the building said last week.

“We’ve closed on the building, and we expect to be fully done with construction and moved in by the end of May,” said David Clem, the owner and managing partner of Lyme Properties.

The first floor of the building will be renovated for the Lyme Properties office and the second floor will be an apartment, he said.

The library closed after the opening of the new Kilton Public Library and was put on the market by the city in November 2010. Clem, who recently renovated the former Congregational Church on Route 5 in Wilder as a community center, has said he has an interest in protecting and renovating historic buildings.

When the new office opens, Lyme Properties, which has offices on South Main Street in Hanover, will be closer to its River Park development on Route 10. That project will begin construction in June, Clem said.

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