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Hampshire Cleaners
An American Dream Come True

By: Jeanie MayerDreymiller-3.jpg

The pages of our history books are filled with the tales of people who came to the United States for a better life, greater opportunity and a chance to achieve the American dream.  Alfred and Nereida Miranda, owners of Hampshire Cleaners, are among those success stories.

The couple left their home in Guerrero, Mexico, a rural community near Acapulco, where they worked as teachers, to start a new life in America in the late 1980’s.  Nereida’s parents and siblings already lived in California and worked in the fields, picking soybeans to make ends meet.

At first, Nereida planned to join her family in California, but one of her cousins encouraged her to move to the Chicago area where she could use her education and earn a better living for herself and her family. The Miranda’s settled in Elgin but would drive out to the country often to visit the town of Hampshire.

“When I first came to Hampshire, it was a little village.  I am not a city girl, so I felt at home in Hampshire,” she said.

Nereida began her business career in the United States by opening a coin laundromat and drop-off dry cleaning service in Elgin.  During that time, Nereida’s cousin, Maria Nava, owned the 4 Seasons dry cleaning shop in Hampshire, which was located along Illinois Route 72 next door to Rosati’s.  Maria later built Hampshire Cleaners in its current location, and in 2004, the Miranda’s bought the business from their cousin and have been operating it ever since.

“My cousin was a good businesswoman.  She taught me a lot.  She made my dream come true,” Nereida said.

Nereida and Alfred have three grown children: a son, and two daughters, whom they raised in their home in Elgin.  The couple has 7 grandchildren, two of whom are teenagers that help out in the store part time.

Hampshire Cleaners offers same day service, professional tailoring, wedding and bride’s maid dress alterations, leather and pillow cleaning, drapery alterations and pressing services.

Nereida said she has enjoyed being a part of the Hampshire business community and is grateful for the support and friendship she has received from the people of Hampshire. Despite ups and downs in the economy, her loyal customers have continued to show their appreciation for her business.

Nereida recalls the story of several customers who came in with coupons for a big sale she was having on the cleaning of comforters.  She said that when she rang up the sale price for the cleaning, her customers insisted on paying full price telling her that her work is worth full price.

“My customers take such good care of me,” she said.

Nereida said the village board of trustees have also made her feel very welcome and valued in the village.

“The people from the village board come in and talk to us about improvements in the town.  It makes us feel important,” she said.

About This Business

Name:  Hampshire Cleaners

Owner: Nereida & Alfred Miranda

Address: 105 W. Oak Knoll Drive

Phone:  224-218-1160

Hours:  Sunday:  Monday through Friday- 7am to 7pm, Saturday- 8am to 5pm, Sunday-Closed

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