Mullins honored as Grand Marshal of Landrum Christmas Parade

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Each year Landrum honors an individual who has made a contribution to the city by naming him/her Grand Marshal of the Christmas Parade. Leading this years parade on Thursday will be Alf Mullins, owner of Mullins Cleaners.

Mullins Cleaners was originally owned by Earl and Mary Jane Christopher (Cristo Cleaners).&bsp; The Christophers also had a farm. Alf worked for Christopher for 30 to 35 years, on his farm and in the cleaners for $22.50 a week and a place to live. That was pretty good money at that time, Mullins said with a smile. The year was 1945. The two of us worked pretty hard, he added.

One of 12 children, Mullins was born in a log cabin on Mud Creek Road off of Hwy 9. The location is near Boiling Springs where Oakland School stands now.

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This 79 or 80 (depending on if you ask him or his wife) year old gentleman has been in Landrum for 60 years. He and wife Johnnie Bell have seven children, Marilyn, Vivian, Jeanette, Beverly, Steve, Charles and Arnold Lee.

Arnold Lee runs the cleaners now, with help from Vivian in the afternoon. Alf comes every afternoon when he gets off work in Polk County. I come in to just make sure everything is running right. Make sure nobody is sleeping, he laughed.

Mullins ties to Polk County go back a long way. He worked in Tryon many years ago as a cook at the Tryon Caf, Oak Hall, and got his cleaning experience at Rectors Cleaners.

For the last 22 years he has worked for the school system in Polk County. About working at the district office, he says I fit wherever they need me, I clean offices, cut the grass and take the mail. It is the best place to work. Everybody is friendly and respectful. I take care of them and they take care of me.

Mullins is also a pastor with a Pentecostal background. After spending many years as pastor of churches in the Asheville and Forest City area, he now owns his own church building in Forest City and leads a congregation there.

Back to his business in Landrum, he says he is about the only one left running a family business in town. The businesses still stand, but are run by the second generation of the family.

Many businesses have come and gone over the years. He attributes ownership of the building in helping to keep him above water during difficult times.

Business is a little slow right now, we are only running one day a week, he said.

He is a man of great faith who credits God with the longevity and success of his establishment. I am not looking to get rich. I just want to pay my bills and keep the business going, he said, Every time business gets slow I just call upon the Lord.

He recalled one time after praying a lady came with three coats to be cleaned and they were big coats, he exclaimed.

He also remembered a time when an insurance agent told a family to take the clothes to Mullins after a fire. The Lord gives us more than we ask for, he stated.

Mullins could have sold the business many times over the years. He wants everyone to know it is not for sale. According to daughter Vivian he will be at work as long as the Lord gives him strength.

I have known Alf for 32 years as a good man and neighbor, stated Mayor Bob Briggs. He is a man who wears many hats and has made a fine contribution to the city.

Come salute Alf Mullins on Thursday as he leads the Landrum Christmas Parade. The parade will begin at 5 p.m. at the Depot on Trade Avenue and continue to O.P. Earle Elementary School.