Club 125 at Roosevelt Center
Two Greenbelters George Boyce and Eva Fallon are turning the abandoned dry-cleaning store in Roosevelt Center into a community clubhouse—Club 125. On Christmas Eve, I visited the club and took photos of them cleaning up the place.
The former dry-cleaning store is attached to the Greenbelt Theater and adjacent to the Greenbelt Co-op. Its address is 125 Centerway, thus the name of the new club. The original owners of Greenbelt Cleaners and Tailors sold the business after more than 40 years. The new owners could not make a profit and decided to walk away. The store has been empty since April 2012, and George Boyce and his wife Eva Fallon took over the lease on December 1, 2012.
“Club125 is a community clubhouse with educational programs for both kids and adults, social events, and makerspace activities. We have after-school tutoring in writing and science, and workshops on a wide variety of topics. We’re open at all hours for Build, Craft, Hack, Play, Make activities, and social gatherings featuring music, wine tastings, trivia, and other games. Opening soon, but visit us NOW at http://club125.org/”
Eva Fallon and Sam, a Labradoodle
Since December 1, after they took over the place in “as is” condition, Boyce and Fallon have been sorting stuff left in the store into trash, recyclables, useful materials, and items for eBay. Here is a piston from a steam press, and Boyce says it is worth $200.
These four solenoids are also taken out of a steam press, and Boyce mentions they are likely about $75 each.
Eva Fallon found Christmas decorations in the store and offered them for free to the Greenbelt Freecycle email group. Here a lady comes to pick them up.
The former owners of the dry-cleaning store also left behind these Korean language VCR tapes. Fallon has not been able to find any takers.
A lot of garments were left behind in the store as well.
Fallon shows me a tag.
It goes back to 1998.
Boyce has successfully dismantled one of two Forenta steam presses in the store.
Next he cuts pipes attached to a puffer. Boyce wants to create a separate machine room in this area with desktop cnc (computer numerical control) machines and bench tools. But first he has to remove dry-cleaning equipment bolted to the floor.
Eva Fallon cleans the front part of the room. She wants to create an area for retail sales and making crafts.
A Lewis Model 150-2 sewing machine
Tags for Jeff and Grover
The old store was a dry cleaning as well as tailoring business.
A man who works at Solar Nails in Roosevelt Center sees this guitar in the store window and asks for it. Eva Fallon gladly hands it over to him.
The guitar still works.
Boyce starts to dismantle another Forenta steam press.
The biggest machine in the store is a 1235F/S VIC dry-cleaning system. It will be a challenge to sell this machine because it is not certified by the EPA.
Boyce tells me that he wants to find a buyer for the moving rack.
This steam boiler in the basement was recently shut down.
The existing bathroom is too small and needs to be rebuilt to be ADA-compliant. Boyce tells me that he has retained a contractor to do the bathroom and electrical work, and he estimates that the initial rehab will cost $20,000.
They discover an unopened box.
It is a poster for the 2002 film Nicholas Nickleby.
And a trailer for Nicholas Nickleby. Apparently the package was addressed to the theater next door but for some reason ended up in the dry-cleaning store.
Boyce cuts a pipe going to the steam press.
George Boyce and Eva Fallon take a break.
George Boyce tells me that he studied engineering at Cornell and lived and worked in Ithaca, New York for 18 years. He was tired of the snow and decided to take a job at AOL. He worked there from 1995 to 2000 and led a team of systems engineers. He then went into real estate development but that venture did not work out. He returned to systems engineering and is now a contractor at NASA/Goddard. Eva Fallon served in the Peace Corps and was in Gabon, Africa from 1984 to 1990. Later she worked at the GAO and met Boyce there. She recently took an early retirement from federal service and is now looking for the next career opportunity. The couple are tutors for robotics clubs at Greenbelt Elementary School and Magnolia Elementary School and have helped out at Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s robotics club for several years. They have many ideas for this community clubhouse including robotics, craft projects (fiber arts, knitting, etc), solar panels, a green wall, a writing club, classes on cyber security, web design, kitchen chemistry, and video production… They hope to start some activities in March after the completion of the initial rehab. Currently they are using their savings but they hope to secure funding for Club 125 from five sources: membership fees, retail sales, grants, sponsorships, and donations. They tell me that they are not worried about costs now and will re-evaluate this venture in 6 or 12 months. Those interested in Club 125 can find more information at its website or Facebook page.