One of Middletown’s oldest businesses to close

A Middletown dry cleaning business that opened 108 years ago is closing after its owner suffered a stroke earlier this month.

David Francis, 81, who has owned Gough Lamb for 58 years, is unable to run the business, said Donna Mull, who has worked for Francis for four years.

Gough Lamb’s two locations will close Saturday, so she encouraged customers to pick up their garments quickly. The store is only accepting cash and checks.

The two locations on Marie Drive and Charles Street will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a sign posted on the Marie Drive location.

“Everybody is sad,” Mull said. “It’s a family affair. Everybody works together. It’s like family.”

At one time, there were nine Gough Lamb locations in Middletown, Mull said. There were three locations until the one on Central Avenue closed a few months ago. Now there are locations on Marie Drive and Charles Street, which is the company headquarters.

Mull said she has been trying to contact customers about picking up their dry cleaning, but many of the phone numbers in the store’s computer system no longer work.

In 2011, The Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton presented Gough Lamb a plaque commemorating its “100 years of excellence.”

Francis started working for Gough Lamb in June 1961. Later that year, he was elected president of the company. His father, Les, had owned the company since 1938 with Erle Hanson.

He graduated from Western Hills High School in 1956, from Northwestern University in 1961 and later from the National Institute of Drycleaning.

The business was founded on June 28, 1911 by Lawrence Gough. Twelve years later, it merged with Lamb Brothers Cleaning Co. In 1911, the dry cleaners became one of the Fine Nine, Middletown companies in business for 100 or more years.

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