Wilgus cleaners loses 67-year old location to fire

A business that has been in Selbyville for nearly 70 years was completely destroyed along with its contents in an early-morning fire on Saturday. According to a release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, an employee from a nearby business reported the fire at about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Upon arrival, Selbyville Fire Department officials found heavy fire and smoke coming from J. Wilgus Cleaners and Wilgus Linen Supply Company’s building at 65 Hoosier Street, according to the fire marshal.

No injuries were reported. The State Fire Marshal’s Office had not yet determined the cause of the fire as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday. The fire caused about $4 million in damage, according to the fire marshal.

“It was totally destroyed,” said Jeff Wilgus, the company’s owner, who arrived on the scene at about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. “My biggest concern is for my employees,” he added, saying, though, that all of them are eligible for unemployment. “The business is still going.”

Wilgus said that he has merged with Capitol Linen to meet his commercial customers’ needs and that he hasn’t missed any business on the commercial side, which serves mostly restaurants and motels.

Wilgus also has locations in Rehoboth, Millville and Millsboro, but the Selbyville location was his main production plant and the location of his office.

Wilgus’ grandfather first opened the now-destroyed Selbyville store in 1939. His father took over the business in 1962, before handing it over to his son, Jeff. He does not yet know if he will build and open another store in Selbyville.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Even if we decide to rebuild today, it’s going to be a year before we’re back. But I haven’t made that decision.”