Three Valsi brothers (Ido, Joe and Milo) took
over Ford Cleaners on State Street on July 4,1946. Milo
had just returned from 30 months oversees with the Coast Guard.
He became a self-taught tailor to enhance the cleaning business
by using a sewing machine to fix torn seams and make other repairs.
At first they kept the Ford name to retain business but finally
changed it to Valsi. As business thrived, they opened a second
store in Howland in 1959 with the clothes being shuttled to Niles
As time went on, Ido retired and Joe was bought out leaving Milo
to run the cleaners. His son Bob eventually joined his
father. By that time the cleaners had moved from its previous
two State Street locations ( it had moved across the street in
1954) to the corner of North Main and Maple Street due to urban
renewal in the mid 70's. This is where it operated until its closing.
Milo once told the local newspaper that State Street "used
to be the busiest little road in Niles. There was probably more
business in one block than any other part of the city. It was
quite a little area back in the good old days of the 40's, 50's
and 60's." There was so much business that there was not
enough parking to accommodate the customers.
Valsi was the first to use the new perchlorethylene cleaner.
This enabled one-day and then one-hour service. Hems, rips and
zippers were mended in addition to the clothes being cleaned.
Often clothes were returned in better shape than when they were
Valsi Cleaners was a very active participant in the community.
It sponsored many local sports teams and leagues for years on
end. Joseph and Milo Valsi were honored for their commitment to
education and contributions to the community by being named 1995
Men of the Year by the National Italian American Sports Hall of
Fame Mahoning Chapter.