The main plant (present day Bull and the Barrel Tavern on High Street) was built in winter of 1926 and operations began on Feb. 8, 1927. Within a short time, the Avery brothers owned and operated 12 different stores throughout the area. The executive office was attached to original plant and is around the corner on (705) Wildwood Blvd.
Avery $ Cleaners was very successful for the next 30 years. In its heyday, the cleaners did tremendous business and, according to a newspaper article from 1948, the 336 W. Fourth St. store saw 1,100 customers in one day.
The business was passed on to Leal’s son, my grandfather, Roland “Doug” Avery, in 1942 and he operated until 1958. He sold the business and moved to San Diego that year.
In 1942, Leal retired to Florida with his second wife, Marcella Ann Schwartz (they divorced in 1958). By 1961, Leal had gone blind and was being cared for by his then-divorced wife, Sophia (Sophie). He passed away in March 1963.
Harland and his family moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s. He passed away in 1970.
Roland “Doug” Avery and his wife, Betty MacMichael Avery, lived in San Diego until her death in April 1985. Doug then moved to Central America for a while before returning to San Diego in 1995. He returned to Williamsport in 2000 and lived here for three years before passing away in September 2003.
Avery $ Cleaners was opened in 1926 by brothers Leal Raymond Avery and Harland Wesley “Bake” Avery. Clockwise from top left are: Avery $ Cleaners in 1943; an advertisement for the business; Mark Avery and his father, Gary Avery; Mark Avery, his father, Gary Avery, and grandfather, Roland Doug Avery; and Leal Avery and his son, Roland Doug Avery.
By Mark Avery