Page 23 - Southington Magazine Issue 46 Autumn 2021
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were required to wear white uniforms. He knew through Mr. Coleman’s experiences that there was not enough money in domestic laundry. Within weeks Eberhardt had secured contracts with Peck, Stowe & Wilcox, Southington Hard- ware and several other factories in town to wash their aprons, towels and coats. Soon he was servicing factories throughout central Con- necticut. Eventually he was cleaning more than 1,000 coats, 3,000 aprons and 25,000 towels a week. By the end of the decade he had a fleet of six trucks delivering six days a week to both commercial and domestic customers.
Part of Mr. Eberhardt’s success was his belief in advertising. He sponsored radio programs three times a week on WATR in Waterbury, CT. He advertised in newspapers throughout cen- tral Connecticut and sent circulars through the mail urging housewives to ease the burden of holidays by having their linens done by his laun- dry and recommending men improve their ap- pearance with a well laundered shirt.
During World War II, with the shortage of gasoline and tires for his delivery trucks, his ads encouraged patrons to bring their laundry to the shop and offered a 10 percent discount on all orders. In addition to print and radio adver- tising he sponsored baseball, basketball and bowling teams all displaying the company’s name prominently on the uniform.
It all paid off as by 1938 Eberhardt had 50 employees and six delivery trucks and had out- grown his original location in Coleman Court. He contracted David Mongillo to erect a new brick facility at 75 High Street and moved in within a few months.
Although a native of Torrington, CT, Eber- hardt had moved to Southington following the purchase of the laundry. He became an active citizen in his adopted town. He was a director of the Southington Savings and Loan Association, a founding member of the Elks Lodge in town, chairman of several industrial exhibits promot- ing Southington manufacturers, and chairman of many charitable fund drives. He was the go- to man when fund raising was needed.
Severin Eberhardt knew the importance of maintaining good relationships with employ- ees. His kindness generated loyalty among his staff and many worked for the laundry for years. Clifford Smith worked 50 years before buying his own dry cleaners in Milford, CT. James Ken- nedy, James Manware, Joseph Avitabile and Anne Santago DeLuco had equally long careers with the laundry.
By 1950, Mr. Eberhardt was slowing down. He preferred to spend summers at his cottage
Southington Sanitary Laundry Office
on Tyler Lake in Goshen, CT and his winters in Clearwater, FL. James Kennedy assumed the daily operation of the laundry. In August, 1953, Mr. Eberhardt died just a few months after the death of the laundry’s original owner, Dorr Cole- man. Mrs. Eberhardt assumed the presidency of the business, but eventually sold the concern to her nephew, Edward Dwan and James Kennedy. Soon after relinquishing the laundry she sold her house at 235 North Main Street to James Kennedy and moved to Florida.
Within a few years Mr. Kennedy bought out Edward Dwan’s interest in the business and continued to operate the laundry in the build- ing on High Street. Under his ownership he discontinued the linen service to factories and added many institutions such as Miss Porters, Avon Old Farms and Bradley Memorial Hospi- tal to his clientele. By 1967 the laundry need- ed modernization and had outgrown the High Street location. Mr. Kennedy bought a lot at 270 Center Street and built a new dry cleaning and laundry facility. The building was well received and won the Chamber of Commerce Beautifica- tion Award in 1969.
In 1978, Mr. Kennedy and his wife Barbara decided to retire. He had been in the laundry business for almost 60 years. Both wanted to enjoy life. Their retirement for the most part signaled the end of an era. Laundromats and households with automatic washing machines replaced the need for a domestic laundry ser- vice. Although on busy days some of us might wish for someone else to wash, fold, press and deliver our clothes to us in neatly wrapped brown paper tied with a string.
Many thanks to Sharon Kennedy for the pic- tures and incredible research on Sanitary Laun- dry, to Russ Wisner and Roger Dietz for help in putting this together.

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