One of Havelock's oldest businesses struggling

dry cleaning

Pete Naik, owner of Mel-Burn Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service, stands in the building's front door. The business is nearly 70 years old and is the oldest or one of the oldest businesses in Havelock.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Monday, July 21, 2014 at 01:14 PM.

Business is not what it once was at Mel-Burn Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service.

“One time I used to have 13 employees working here,” said Pete Naik, who bought the business in 1984.

Now there is only one who works just one day a week helping press clothes.

Dry cleaning used to be done every day of the week, but now, the boiler and compressor are started only on Wednesdays.

In the early days, Naik counted $300,000 worth of orders annually. Now, that figure is down to $30,000.

He and his wife Nayana don’t receive salaries.

According to Naik, the business was started in 1945 by a consortium of businessmen seeking to cash in on a big contract to handle all of the dry cleaning for the thousands of Marines and sailors at the then newly opened Marine Corps base. The dry cleaners is believed to be the oldest or one of the oldest continuous businesses in Havelock.

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