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Rye Family Dry Cleaner Spans Three Generations, 58 Years

Eric Moy irons shirts on a beautiful weekday in downtown Rye. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Eric Moy (left) and his parents Lili and Sam. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Lili Moy point to a photo of their son, Eric, when he was four months old, which hangs on the wall of their family business, Fong's Dry Cleaner. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Eric Moy steps in to press shirts. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Eric Moy has a son and daughter. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

RYE, N.Y. – Eric Moy has grown up with three generations of customers at his family’s 58-year-old dry cleaning business in Rye.

Moy is the third generation in his family to work at Fong’s Cleaners, which was named for his aunt’s husband. His grandfather established the business in 1956 and then his father, Sam, took it over in 1968 and runs it to this day.

Moy described his father as a “workaholic,” and said even when he retires Sam will be running things in one way or another. 

“It’s a lucrative business,” Moy said, adding that it moved from Purdy Street to 36 Elm St. in 1968. “We’ve been here forever.”

The father of two spent 10 years in banking, including at the now defunct Bank of New York, before his father called him to join the family business, which has grown from a two-person operation with just his mother and father to 11 employees.

“Sure we all leave. But, we eventually come back. Same with our customers,” he said. “Customers’ parents and their parents came here… It’s phenomenal to see. And over time, you just grow with everyone. Especially growing up in Rye you know everyone.”

Sam Moy left Hong Kong with his family in 1964 to escape the Communist regime. 

Like his father, Moy graduated from Rye High School, and then studied at SUNY Albany. After coaching tennis and girls lacrosse at his old high school, Moy went into banking. When his father called asking him to join the family business, he agreed.

“I just knew what my responsibility was, my role I guess in life,” he said. “Having the Chinese heritage, any heritage, you always come back and help your family.”

Sam pointed proudly to a photo of Moy hanging on the wall that was taken in 1970 when he was just four months old.  Now, he has been working there 15 years and said he is in it for the long haul.

“It’s a silver lining to fall back on and really I have no complaints,” he said.

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