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Burbank dry cleaner takes customers back with mural

June 04, 2012
(Roger Wilson/Staff…)

The dry-cleaning business at Alameda and Pass avenues has been known as Milt & Edie’s since 1995 although Milt and Edie Chortkoff have been in business there since 1989.

Now, there’s more to catch the eye than mere hot pink trim and window shades.

The gregarious Milt Chortkoff last week chatted and shook hands with customers, city officials and the artists that made his latest project a reality — a mural on a back wall depicting the evolution of laundry and dry cleaning.

At a windy dedication ceremony that included an apple cider toast, Milt Chortkoff talked about his days working for his father, who immigrated from the “old country,” and who was also in the dry cleaning business.

His parents came to the U.S. from Russia in 1920, he said.

“My father’s first job — because he couldn’t speak English — was delivering wet washes in the ’20s with a horse and wagon,” Chortkoff said.

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Milt Chortkoff migrated to California from New York when he was 17.

As for the mural, Chortkoff said he “had this idea forever” and spoke to his long-time friend, Studio City artist Michael Culhane, about it.

“For 30 years, Milt wanted a mural on the side of the building,” Culhane said. “I thought of painting it — I’m an artist and do metal work, but I don’t paint, I don’t even draw.”

Culhane researched the project for Chortkoff, which included information from the Canada Science and Technology Museum website, among others, and sought artists on the Internet to paint the mural.

Husband-and-wife team Neal and Dawn Von Flue said they talked about the design with Culhane for about six months before the work on the wall got underway.

“We hadn’t met Michael in person until we started painting,” Dawn Von Flue said at the dedication. “It turned out that it all seemed to work together really well, like it was meant to be."

-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News

Twitter: @mariahsin

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