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Jilly's Dry Cleaners in Deal reopens after fire

A dry cleaners destroyed by a fire which started from a single tea towel has reopened after six months.

Jamie and Jilly Stenhouse, owners of Jilly's Dry Cleaners in Deal, initially thought their business of 15 years was unsalvageable after the May 8 blaze.

Jilly and Jamie Stenhouse are delighted to be back up and running after a fire in May (21699447)
Jilly and Jamie Stenhouse are delighted to be back up and running after a fire in May (21699447)

Flames tore through the building overnight, destroying machinery and damaging around 150 garments.

But thanks to the community's support and a temporary business set up in their home and garden using items they were able to salvage, the couple say they managed to keep their 'heads above water'.

Now, since their landlord has conducted a full refurbishment which involved taking the building back to its brickwork, they have returned to their Broad Street premises.

Mrs Stenhouse said: "We said we'd rise from the ashes and here we are.

"It's good to be back, with the doggie biscuits also back on the counter."

Two tumble dryers were destroyed by the fire at Jilly's (10267513)
Two tumble dryers were destroyed by the fire at Jilly's (10267513)

The business has become well known over the years for its animal treats, with some pets refusing to walk past the doors without popping in.

Mr Stenhouse added: "The response has been unbelievable.

"We've had nothing but kind wishes and good luck and we'd like to thank people for their support and patience."

The couple have welcomed back their former members of staff whose hours will increase as the business gets back on track.

The only change, they say, is that they are no longer accepting tea towels from restaurants after a chemical reaction caused the fire.

The incident spoiled what was supposed to be an exciting new phase for Jilly's in its new home.

Jilly's Dry Cleaners in Deal has reopened(21699390)
Jilly's Dry Cleaners in Deal has reopened(21699390)

The couple started the business in Park Street in 2005 basing their venture on Mrs Stenhouse's experience working at a dry cleaning chain.

In October 2018 they moved to the new rented premises in Broad Street so Aldi could build a new supermarket at the former Co-operative.

Mrs Stenhouse said: "It's not been the greatest year. Roll on 2020."

They acknowledge that some customers still have outstanding claims and say these will be dealt with as soon as possible.

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