Carolina Cleaners closing after 76 years

Dub Miller, the owner of Carolina Cleaners in downtown Winnsboro, will retire June 30 and close the business. After taking the week of July 4 off, he’ll be open for several weeks to allow customers to pick up any cleaning that remains at the store. | Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO – For most Winnsboro residents, it would be hard to remember a day when Carolina Cleaners didn’t exist. The Miller family has operated the dry cleaners, serving the residents of Winnsboro and Fairfield County, for over 70 years.

On June 30, Carolina Cleaners will no longer be taking in items for cleaning and pressing. Owner Dub Miller is retiring from his family-owned business after personally serving the public for the past 34 years. Miller couldn’t verify an exact opening date for the business but knew that his father, Haynes, opened the cleaners in its same location some time in the mid to late 40’s, prior to his older sister Susan’s birth in 1948. In those early years the building was rented until a later date when the Miller family purchased the building. Miller said his father died in 1963, leaving his mother Lib, who had worked there part time as a seamstress, to take over and continue to run the business. In later years, when his mother began experiencing some health issues, Miller moved back home to Winnsboro to take care of her and help run the business. Miller’s sister Susan was living in Florida at the time, but when their mother passed away a couple of years later, Sue came home for their mother’s funeral and made the decision then and there to move back home. She left Florida to return to her Winnsboro roots to help her brother run the business, and together the brother-sister team successfully continued the family owned cleaners for many more years.

“It’s been five-and-a-half years since Sue’s passing,” Miller said, “and even longer since my younger sister Janet passed away.”

Janet’s daughter, Dub’s only living close relative, lives in Utah.

Miller likes to recall his interesting finds in pockets of garments cleaned over the years, such as the $800 cash he discovered in a pocket. Of course, as always, it was rightfully returned to the garment’s owner.

Carolina Cleaners has been entrusted for over seven decades to dry clean sentimental, vintage and heirloom items…wedding dresses, flags and Easter Bunny and Santa Claus costumes in addition to the usual suits, shirts, sweaters, dresses and other garments.

Miller’s bittersweet retirement and exit from the cleaning business will leave a void for many of us who have grown up in the Winnsboro community and come to rely on this long-time family run business for their dependability and exceptional service. Although he had no one specific reason for closing the doors now, Miller did say he was ready to have time to do things he had been putting off.

“I will miss all of it. I enjoyed serving the public where I made lots of friends. I will miss my employees. The ‘human factor’ is what I will miss most.”

While no more items will be dry cleaned or pressed after June 30, Miller will continue to keep the doors open for a few more weeks to give customers time to pick up items.