In a staid small town in New England the brightly colored geometric designs of the 1950’s stand out like a vibrant diamond when surrounded by the brick and weathered clapboard shops that are so popular in the region. Such is my memory of the Lewandos cleaners sign, one of my very favorite sights in my hometown of Needham, MA.
As I drove toward downtown Needham it felt like the streets had gotten smaller and the houses had gotten bigger. As I passed the fenced lot where the Needham Cinema used to stand, I was hoping that Lewandos was still around. The town has changed a lot since I grew up there, and since there is another dry cleaners just across the street, I was afraid to find that Lewandos had succumbed to the development trends in town and become a cafe or boutique. How glad I was to find that not only were they still there, but the sign that I remembered so well was still there.
Established in 1829 Lewandos is family owned and operated and rated highly among the folks who have gotten their clothes done there. Conveniently located near the commuter train station, I can imagine it’s a hit with the Boston bound set. If you live in the area, why not drop off a garment or three and let them know how much you dig the sign? You never know when they may be convinced that it is outmoded and should be replaced by a carved wooden sign with gilt letters!
Another thing I always found absolutely charming about Lewandos is their logo. It used to be painted on the side of the building, but is still in evidence on their bags. It shows a cat, who would normally be happy to devour little birdie chicks, instead cleaning them gently and hanging them up carefully by their wings to dry on the line. If that image doesn’t warm your heart I don’t know what will!
When growing up in a place where clapboard, weathered shingles and brick are the most popular building materials, the Lewandos sign always let me know that there were other things out there besides New England Colonial. Hooray for Lewandos holding it’s own, and representing another design point of view in my small Massachusetts home town.