Pride of the Pine Belt: Rome Emmons

© Rome Emmons
© Rome Emmons

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For years each morning at Southern Cleaners, people found a familiar scene. Rome Emmons tending shop and responding to customers needs just like he's been doing for decades in Hattiesburg.

However, Friday September 30th was different from the usual routine in one way, it was Southern Cleaners last full day of being open to the public.

On Saturday, October 1st at noon, the doors of the longtime Hattiesburg establishment are closing.

Emmons explained, "You know sometimes I'm fine with it and other times it kind of gets to me."

In 1969 Emmons purchased Southern Cleaners after working at another Hub City business, Phoenix Laundry.

As you take a look around Southern Cleaners the same customer filing system is still being used as it was back in the sixties and the vintage rotating clothes hangers are also in great shape after forty two years. But one thing has changed over time and that is the customers.

"In the last ten years you know everybody has gone casual and when that happens we come out on the short end of that," said Emmons.

And while businessmen and women dry clean less frequently these days, Southern Cleaners has remained a busy place.

"Well you know I've done this all of my life, my father owned a laundry in Meridian and I started working there when I was about twelve and ever since then that's all I've done is work in a laundry and dry cleaners and it's been fun. It's been a great experience," said Emmons.

That sentiment also rings true for the many customers who have made Southern Cleaners a part of their lives.

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