Interview & article by Amy Henderson
Uptown Cleaners shop owners Gina and Andrew Shin opened their store on Jan. 1, 2011. They had been living in Annapolis but wanted a better experience, and family and friends recommended Cleveland Park as an ideal neighborhood.
The Shins met in Korea, where Gina began her career as a seamstress. They immigrated to California in 1981, but the weather lacked the four seasons they’d grown up with in Korea. In 1995, they decided to move East to Annapolis. Andrew worked for a time in a supermarket, and then became manager of a dry cleaners–a store where Gina could continue her seamstress mastery by working on alterations. They bought that store in 1999.
Persuaded that Cleveland Park offered even greater opportunities–and “nice people”–they bought Uptown Cleaners and moved here in 2011. Both agree they made the right decision–notably because they really enjoy their customers.
Andrew says the most extraordinary thing that’s happened at their store came in September 2015, when Pope Francis made an official visit to Washington. The papal staff selected Uptown Cleaners–out of nearly 400 choices in DC!–to dry clean the pontiff’s white cassock “and also some suits.” A letter from the Pope’s staff, and photographs of Gina and Andrew holding the papal cassock, are proudly displayed on the shop walls.
Visit Uptown Cleaners at 3333 Connecticut Ave NW, open Monday to Saturday from 8AM to 6PM.