Las Vegas Sun

August 23, 2017

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Philip Shapiro, Co-Founder of Al Phillips Cleaners, Dies Following Brain Surgery


OAKLAND, Calif - Philip Shapiro, who, along with his brother Melvin, founded one of the most successful dry cleaning businesses in Nevada, died Wednesday in an Oakland, Calif., hospital of complications following brain surgery to help control Parkinson's disease.

He was 72 years old.

Originally from New York, Philip Shapiro found a home and made dry cleaning history when he and his brother moved to Las Vegas in 1964.

They bought a dry cleaning plant in Commercial Center on Sahara Avenue. The original owner was a man named Al Phillips and the brothers decided to keep the name because of the clientele it already had and because they couldn't afford to change the sign. Today "Al Phillips the Cleaner" is nationally known as one of the innovators in the dry cleaning business.

Philip Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Oct. 3, 1926. He went to high school there and later took special courses before going into the dry cleaning business.

In 1964, the Shapiro brothers moved to Las Vegas and opened a dry cleaning shop. Mel had a show business background and felt the stars playing Vegas would appreciate quick, quality service. They made the move and as they say, the rest was history. Philip kept active in the business even though the Parkinson's disease cut down on his daily routine.

Over the years, Philip Shapiro had received numerous awards recognizing the innovations he had brought to the dry cleaning industry. His idea of "drive thru" service was the first in the industry and set a trend for the entire nation.

Philip Shapiro leaves his wife Patricia, three grown children, Robert Shapiro, Lorrie Krasny and Susan Christensen. There are seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Philip was active in the Parkinson's Foundation, having served as president of the local chapter. He was a member of the Las Vegas Country Club and was involved in a variety of charitable organizations.

Funeral arrangements are still incomplete but services are expected to be held Sunday, Aug. 15, 1999. The family said details would be announced.