By Thiemo Wisbar
Our memories of our time with the Americans are thoroughly positive. Without the American forces in Büdingen, our company would very probably not exist. Even if today, unfortunately, there are no more Americans in Büdingen, says Hans-Wilhelm Gröger, owner of the dry cleaning and laundry Gröger from Büdingen.
The foundation of the laundry Gröger is closely connected with the American forces in Büdingen. Hans-Wilhelm Gröger's father, Willi Gröger, worked at the U.S. barracks in Büdingen in the 1950s. One day, an American jokingly asked him if he could wash his clothes, since he had overheard that Willi Gröger had purchased a washing machine together with his wife. Gröger agreed. A washing machine load soon became more and more as other Americans in the barracks witnessed this.
So in 1954, Willi Gröger began operating a laundry in the basement of his house in Friedrich-Fendt-Strasse Büdingen. Soon the first large orders started coming in. American soldiers from the barracks in Büdingen, Gelnhausen, Friedberg and Hanau entrusted Willi Gröger with their sleeping bags and uniforms for cleaning. The Americans were always very cordial and grateful for everything. They liked to bring candy and other goodies. At Thanksgiving, they liked to bring "turkey." The only problem was that they were so big that they would not fit in a normal oven. When the Americans returned from maneuvers, up to 900 sleeping bags were washed each week. Partly, they worked around the clock at that time. But one did it gladly, because the Americans were "like friends".
Since not everything was washable, especially the Americans' dress uniforms, a dry cleaning machine was soon purchased. Word of this spread quickly and more than 150 collection points were gradually established around Büdingen, as far as the Vogelsberg and Main-Kinzig districts.
In 1969/70, the laundry and dry cleaning business was established in Thiergartenstraße. Here it was a matter of course for the Americans to help move the heavy machinery. With crane truck and truck they were on the spot and supported energetically.
In 1981 "Reinland Textilpflege" was founded as a branch of Gröger in the old dairy. After the sale of the old dairy to the JOH department store, a new domicile for the branch was sought and found. On December 27, 1989 the new opening of the branch "Reinland Textilpflege" took place in the Düdelsheimerstraße 10 in Büdingen. In 2007, when the last Americans left Büdingen, a ceremonial handover of a certificate and commemorative plaque took place here, thanking the Americans for years of good cooperation.