Familiar Face Returns to Neighborhood With Newbury Cleaners

Newbury Cleaners, which opened around Thanksgiving, continues the decades-long history of a retail space on Newbury Street serving as home to a drycleaners, where customers will now find a familiar face behind the counter.

​The owner, Rosibel Rodriguez, had previously owned and operated Newbury Shoe Repair, which occupied the same, approximately 900 square-foot, below-grade retail space at 219 Newbury St. with Bush Boston Cleaners. She purchased the shoe-repair business, previously known as Odessa Instant Shoe Repair, in 2013.

Rosibel Rodriguez, owner of Newbury Cleaners.

The storefront has been shared by a drycleaners and a shoe repair business for more than 30 years, ever since Bush Quality Cleaners (which has since been acquired by Bush Boston Cleaners) first took on Odessa as a tenant, she said.

​But long before long buying the shoe repair business, Rodriguez was already a longtime fixture at the Newbury Street location. She began working for Bush Quality Cleaners in 1996 and stayed there until she moved to North Carolina in 2006.

​When she returned to Boston in 2011, Rodriguez went back to work at the drycleaners on Newbury Street. She stayed at the job for around two years until she bought the shoe-repair business two years later. (For the first six months she owned Newbury Shoe Repair, she worked both there and at the drycleaners .)

​Bush Boston Cleaners, along with Newbury Shoe Repair, closed on Oct. 31 as the drycleaners transitioned to offering only home delivery.

​Rodriquez, who had built up a loyal clientele with her shoe-repair business, saw this as an opportunity, but she also knew she wouldn’t be able to pay the rent with the income from her existing business alone.

​As a result, Newbury Cleaners now provides dry-cleaning; shirt laundry; wash, dry, and fold; tailoring; and leather care,  in addition to a full line of shoe-repair services, including heels (protector soles, red bottom), full soles (rubber and leather), and sneaker cleaning and conditioning. (The business doesn’t currently offer any delivery services, however.)

​And like Newbury Shoe Repair before it, Newbury Cleaners also offers belt sizing and handbag repairs, as well as on-site key duplication.

​“In a way, we’ve grown with our customers, said Rodriquez.

​Rodriquez’s nephew, Jhony Urbina, has returned to help out with shoe repairs, and her daughter, Stephani Villalobos, will also be coming in to lend a hand on a part-time business.

​Today, Rodriquez is pleased to not only welcome back her returning customers, but also to meet some new ones.

​“No one is too big or too small,” said Rodriquez. “We’re just here to help.”

​Newbury Cleaners is located at 219 Newbury St. in the Back Bay. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 857-303-6683 for more information.

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