American Dream

In 1955, Socorro and Agustine Cardenas emigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico to seek a new life together in the United States of America. 20 years and eight kids later, the two settled down in Las Cruces, New Mexico where Agustine became the owner of a then booming dry cleaning business, One Hour Cleaners.

With the first location opening in 1975 and five more locations to come in the later years, Cardenas soon had a monopoly on the dry cleaning business and had achieved what he, and many other immigrants alike, hoped to achieve: The American Dream. After Agustine passed away in 2001, Socorro and her eldest son took over the business and stayed in operation for 14 years until their recent closure in 2015.

An open/closed sign sits on the ground inside One Hour Cleaners in Las Cruces, N.M. (Photo by Joshua Castillo)

Socorro Cardenas, 75, now a widow, grandmother and great-grandmother, has begun the bittersweet process of cleaning out One Hour Cleaners in hopes of selling the building to another vendor.

With this process comes a significant end to another chapter of her life; closing the business she and her husband put so much work, love and faith into.

Socorro Cardenas and Suki Castillo stand in front of a wall that was used to pay tribute to Agustine Cardenas inside One Hour Cleaners in Las Cruces, N.M. (Photo by Joshua Castillo)



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Joshua is a photojournalism student at New Mexico State University.

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