A fire that destroyed the Center Point Road location of Duchess Cleaners has proven to be too much for the longtime Cedar Rapids dry cleaner to overcome. They've announced they will close their remaining location, on Boyson Road NE, at the end of October.

I've been a Duchess Cleaners customer for more than 20 years so the news of a fire on the morning of August 20 hit me hard. Then, we all saw just how devastating the fire was:

Bob James
Bob James

Duchess Cleaners posted on their Facebook page this week that

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of frustration and disappointment. Duchess Cleaners is closing for business and ceasing all operations. Our last day for orders to be picked up will be October 31st.
It has been our pleasure to serve our customers for the last 50 plus years.

Really, all you need to know about the people at Duchess Cleaners is what they posted the day after arson destroyed their building at 3905 Center Point Road N.E. They were thinking of their friends and neighbors:

22-year-old Grant Ajango of Cedar Rapids is facing charges of 2nd Degree Arson and 3rd Degree Burglary in the August 20 break-in and arson fire. Authorities believe Ajango broke into the store with a hammer, that was left inside, and stole keys to a van sitting outside. An iPad found inside the vehicle had Ajango's fingerprints. Video from other businesses in the area and witnesses show Ajango was in the vicinity when the fire broke out.

Ajango is also facing a variety of charges in two previous cases. He's facing six different charges from an August 11, 2018 incident where he's accused of taking a car from a Cedar Rapids parkade and trying to start it on fire. Ajango is also scheduled to stand trial next week in Johnson County after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an Iowa City restaurant in September of 2016.

Grant M Ajango
via Johnson County Sheriff's Office

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