I had the opportunity recently to meet with Gus Antzoulis, owner of Maspeth Dry Cleaners. When I set up my meeting with Gus I asked him when I could reach him at his store and his response was "usually from 7:30AM to 7:30PM." I knew immediately that I was going to be talking to one of the busiest guys in town.
Gus Antzoulis came to this country from Greece when he was about 8 years old. He is now 42. Like most immigrants his father made the decision that if Gus and his siblings were to have a decent chance in life they needed to come to America. They never looked back.
Gus recalls working for $10 a day when he was a young boy. Early on, he went into the dry cleaning business. He owned a store in an upscale neighborhood of Manhattan but when the pressures of doing business in Manhattan became too intense he made the decision to move to Queens. He opened the Grand Avenue Maspeth store in 1988 and, because of the parking problems on Grand Avenue, eventually opened another store across the street from Our Lady of Hope Church on Eliot Avenue and 72nd Street in Maspeth. The success of those two stores led to the opening of the Eliot Avenue and 80th Street location in Middle Village.
Typical of so many immigrants before him, Gus was determined to be a success in America. He works so very hard and in fact shared a little humorous family story with me. When his wife was in labor with one of their children he asked her if she could wait until the pains got very close before they went to the hospital. Always the team player, she agreed, and this gave Gus the opportunity to iron the shirts that needed to be ready for his customers the next day! I think you get the picture.
Gus Antzoulis' father was a man who felt that one should always give back to the community. He passed that legacy on to his son.
While Gus is totally modest and unassuming I gleaned out of him the fact that, in addition to other charities, he gives very generously to the sports program at Our Lady of Hope School and also supports the Midville Dodgers. He believes strongly that if you keep the kids busy with sports they won't have time to get in trouble. Gus also supports the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and Maspeth Town Hall. He was particularly complimentary of the Pre-K program in Maspeth Town Hall. Let me add that when the JPCA solicited for its Christmas raffle Gus Antzoulis was right there with his generous contribution.
I have to tell you also that, even though Gus is totally modest and talks about himself very reluctantly, one of the things that sort of slipped out in the conversation is his support of the 9/11 survivors. Also, very sadly, he tells you that he knew some of the firefighter victims. He has the greatest respect and admiration for both uniformed forces, the FDNY and the NYPD, and he is quick in coming to their aid with his professional services.
Gus is married and has a daughter and son. His 15-year-old daughter graduated from OLH and now attends St. Francis Prep and his little guy, a 12-year-old son, attends OLH. Both children are good students and very active in sports.
Gus shared the thought that when he and his wife were looking for a house his first impulse was to move to the suburbs so he could have a "big yard" for his kids. He resisted that temptation however and at the urging of his partner, who was selling his house on 70 Street, he bought the house. You know he has never regretted that decision because his face lights up when he talks about Maspeth and the sense of community the neighborhood offers.
I could go on talking about Gus Antzoulis endlessly because he is a friendly, likable, generous man with a big personality. He is a neighborhood treasure and his little business empire, Maspeth Dry Cleaning is a professional business deserving of your patronage. They do excellent work and strive hard to please their customers.
Gus Antzoulis of Maspeth Dry Cleaning – a neighborhood winner.