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Peter Pan Cleaners to close

December 29, 1998

Peter Pan Cleaners ClosingBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




After almost 40 years of cleaning and pressing, Jerry and Betty Jo Hann are closing their downtown Hagerstown shop at the end of the year.

In 1959, Jerry Hann borrowed $600 from his brother to buy Peter Pan Cleaners at 31 E. Baltimore St. Since then, he and wife Betty have worked 50- and 60-hour weeks at the shop, closing for two weeks in August each year to go on vacation.

The couple said being owners of a small business meant something special for them and their customers.

"They weren't just my customers, many of them were my friends," Jerry Hann said.

He said he believes the customers receive a higher quality of service from a small business owner.

"When they come in they're not talking to some ding-a-ling behind the counter, they're talking to the owner," Jerry Hann said.

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Jerry Hann, 71, said these factors, the personal relationships with customers and quality of service, kept him in business for so many years.

"With a Mom and Pop shop you'll never get rich. but you'll never go out of business," he said.

The Hann's have mixed feelings about closing the shop and moving on.

Within six years of buying the business, the Hann's bought the building the store is in and the house next door. They raised two children in that house.

"We've had a lot of good times and good memories here," Betty Hann said.

"When you have a job like this it's like you're married to it," Jerry Hann said.

Their plans are to sell the property and move to a smaller house near Hagerstown where they can retire.

"I'm going to smell the roses and watch the grass grow," Jerry Hann said.

"There's a lot of things to do and look at around here that I never had time to. And now I do."

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