Alev Dry Cleaners


Arvo and her daughter Sanilha in their shop on the corner of Glyn Road and Chelmer Road.




If you need a positive injection in life, we recommend you go and see Arvo who runs the dry cleaner Alev on Glyn Road. She has the spirit of life!


How long have you been here? 


We’ve been here 20 years, and I got this machine 23rd April1990.  My husband and I came here from Cyprus.  I moved here when I was 13.  We’re Turkish. 


We were dry cleaning before, I used to be a tailor (we make the best dry cleaners) and then I started a dry cleaning business.  A baby came here and there along the way, but I’ve always kept going.  Now my four children help me, serve the customers, all of them help. 


I love my job, I’m happy.  I’ve been very ill, last year I suffered something similar to a stroke and became paralysed.  That was April last year.  I went to a few different hospitals to recover and couldn’t work for 8 months.  It was tough to keep the work going and to get my movement and walking back but somehow I did it. So now I have a chair by the machine, but I still carry on. 


Everyone said to me the doctors and so on, that I would never walk again. 


How Have you got your health better? 


I believe its because I keep going.  If you carry on, you love your family, you love your job, then you get better I believe. 


I think its love that makes you carry on.  If you love your job you come out professional.  If you don’t love your job then nobody is happy.  If you love the job you experience more.  People around you enjoy a better version of you.  My children get a lot from it too.  I like to have a strong mind.  


Kids need more responsibility.  This government don’t give children the right place.  Many are spoiled.  Getting handouts means money goes to the wrong things.  And kids think that the handouts are enough and they’re not, you need to work too.  There are many parents crying about this.  There are many bad things going on and there are not enough jobs for young people.  


You’re not on the main high street, so how do people find you? 


It's all word of mouth, we don’t do any advertising. And we’ve been here a long time! I love Chatsworth Road. 




 "We live just round the corner from the shop and I went to school around here. 

Sometimes the law just serves to keep people in their place.  I think the justice system can fail people so I want to do something with my life to do with advocacy to help them.  I’m not saying people shouldn’t be locked away, but I am saying people should have more understanding for their fellow human beings.  Cos that’s what we are, we are human first.. and then we can categories as boy girl women straight gay etc. but unfortunately there’s not a lot of understanding cos in London everyone’s in a rush. In Cyprus, its not like that its so different life.  People are too stressed.  In Cyprus people are more relaxed and have better understanding for their fellow human beings.  

That’s partly cos there’s sun, sea and sand, and that’s good for the mind, body and soul isn’t it.  But even work attitudes are different. People are happier.  More satisfied to do something they’re not totally 100% wanting to do, but they’ll get on with it. 

So, not so much money, but people are happier.  They’ve got the natural things in life more understood. There perspective is something to learn from I think. 

But here I have a lot of freedom, women in Cyprus are very different."



Clement has just picked up his freshly pressed wedding suit from his favourite dry cleaner. He was getting married the weekend after we photographed him. 


Arvo chatting to her customer Clement.


The name Arvo means fire!