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Old-Fashioned Business Breathes New Life into Family Heirlooms


Carterville, Illinois – November 10, 2004 – People are attached to their pillows. Many adults even take their pillows – their security blanket – along with them when they travel. Hotels just can’t match the comfort of a worn feather pillow from home. Unfortunately, some of those pillows have been passed on through the family and harbor dust mites that can even penetrate a pillow case.

Before the trend toward synthetic pillows, people took their pillows to a local business that did nothing but clean their feather pillows by emptying the feathers into a large cleaning machine and blowing them back into a fresh clean cover, called a ticking. Vivien Ansinelli stumbled into the feather pillow business when she took her old feather pillows to be cleaned only to discover that the business was no longer there.

She called the woman who had owned a business in town that restored old pillows and learned that the woman had closed her business and the feather cleaning machine was sitting in storage. Recently retired from the postal service, Ansinelli had been looking for a new business venture and offered to buy the machine. After making the purchase, she opened a store, The Pillow Shop, in Carterville, Illinois.

The Pillow Shop offers a variety of services. Pillow restoration involves emptying the feathers into a feather-cleaning machine that resembles a front-loading washer with window in the door. Then, as the drum turns the feathers are fluffed and sanitized by an ultraviolet, germicidal light that kills the germs in the feathers. The feathers are then blown into a new ticking.

For years doctors have advised against feather pillows for allergy sufferers, assuming that the feathers were the cause of their allergies. Ansinelli said most people would be surprised to know that synthetic pillows may actually contain more dust mites and pet allergens than synthetic pillows.

The Pillow Shop makes custom-made feather pillows in any size and weight. They can even turn an old feather bed into new feather pillows. I recommend having your feather pillows cleaned at least once a year because when you sleep you get your hair oils and sweat deep into that pillow. You may have a clean pillowcase on it, but is your pillow really clean?”


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