New fun center, laundry make way to Exchange St.
<p> MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board has given its approval to “Whirlie’s World,” an indoor recreation center at 1232 Exchange St. that is slated to open by mid-October.</p><p> Meanwhile, once-orphaned Desabrais Laundry and Dry Cleaning is back in business next door to Whirlie’s World.</p><p> The new recreation center is being set up in the former home of Otter Creek Awnings and will be operated by Peter and Naomi Neff, with help from their children. It was during this spring that the Neffs pitched Whirlie’s World, which will offer mini golf, table games, arcade games, a dance hall area for teen dances (with disc jockey), an Internet café with video games and movie nights, an inflatable play area for all ages, snack food, and space for birthday parties and other group gatherings.</p><p> Peter Neff, a.k.a. “Nerf,” is an old hand in the entertainment business. He has been a popular DJ in the area for almost four decades and is well-loved by students at Middlebury Union Middle School, where he serves as groundskeeper. Many of those same students figure to be Whirlie’s World customers, as the entertainment offerings are tailored primary to youths ages 12-18.</p><p> “We are planning to have some sort of grand opening in October, with a soft opening before that,” said Naomi Neff.</p><p> While the business will be family operated, Neff said she anticipates hiring some youths to fill in shifts, but stressed there will be at least one adult supervisor on duty at all times.</p><p> Whirlie’s World will have 37 dedicated parking spots, but has an agreement with neighboring Desabrais for some additional spaces during off-peak hours for that business, according to Neff.</p><p> “We hope to have around 50 spaces available, but we are expecting a lot of drop-offs and (customers) using the Addison County Transit Resources bus,” Neff said.</p><p> More details about the business will be posted on www.whirliesworld.com.</p><p> Meanwhile, Desabrais Laundry and Dry Cleaning has been back in business for around two weeks at its new Exchange Street location after an 11-month hiatus. Desabrais had to vacate is former space at 55 Middle Road last October when the property was put up for sale. The business had operated out of the space for 16 years. Soon after closing, owners Lucie and Steve Noble set up a dry cleaning collection spot at 18 Creek Road and searched for a new Middlebury location. They were pleased to find the 2,500 square feet at 1232 Exchange St.</p><p> Lucie Noble said the new store has 29 washers and 30 dryers of various sizes. The business is now open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Future plans calls for seven-days-per-week service, a lounge, television and Wi-Fi. She said the Exchange Street location is accepting dry cleaning drop-off, as is the 18 Creek Road spot.</p><p> <em>Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].</em></p>