William Coury moved to Redondo Beach in 1905 from Texas to combat his asthma and found a job helping build the saltwater Plunge, billed as the “largest indoor saltwater plunge in the world.” However, that same year he also started the first dry cleaners in the South Bay, French Method Cleaning, where he would deliver the items with a horse and buggy.
Throughout the past 110 years, his children and grandchildren continued his entrepreneurial spirit in the South Bay. Raymond Coury, born in 1932, joined his father's dry cleaning business in 1956 and later started Rayson Window Coverings in 1990. His daughter, Najla Barile, is the owner and director of Harmony Yoga in Redondo Beach.
“My dad was so friendly and welcoming, I think that has definitely carried over in my business,” recalled Barile, who would hang out at her father's cleaners in the 1980s. “Nobody is treated just like a number, people are treated as individuals. I got that from my father and my mother … they are old school. That sometimes gets lost when change is always happening.”
Coury and Son
French Method Cleaners was renamed Redondo Dye Works and then Coury and Son Cleaners in 1907 after opening more locations in south Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo. In 1959, the cleaners expanded again with one on Beryl Avenue in Redondo Beach and Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. Raymond joined the business in 1956 after graduating from Redondo Union High School, El Camino Junior College and joining the Army. The four Coury brothers took over the business when their father died.
“My brothers and I would work six days a week,” Raymond Coury remembered. “We would open at 7 o'clock and close at 7 o'clock, 12 hours a day. Of course, like brothers, we would fight like cats and dogs. In spite of that, 'Are you going to go eat?' We would go eat and not say a word and come back to work.”
The brothers were in business together until 1990 when the cleaners was sold. The store at 1232 Beryl St. still bears the name Coury and Son's Dry Cleaners after the new owners kept the name.
Raymond opened Rayson Window Coverings as his next business endeavor before eventually retiring in 2010.
Raymond said his daughter has picked up where his father left off. William Coury practiced yoga decades before it became popular. That was one of the reasons he was known for being “eccentric” during his day.
“He always ran from Redondo to San Pedro and back,” Raymond said. “He would swim to the old breakwater and back before breakfast in the morning.”
Barile started practicing yoga in 1999. She worked at the front desk in exchange for free classes and eventually began teaching in 2002. In 2011, she purchased Harmony Yoga with a business partner, Jay Borzi.
“For awhile it was one or two teachers carrying the load, but now all the teachers are bringing in students and people feel like they can take from everybody,” she said. “It's not just one person they like.”
Harmony Yoga offers classes for all levels seven days a week and focuses on Vinyasa Flow, which is a “practice of breath and movement” in hopes of finding and maintaining the three “H's” – health, happiness and harmony. Also, Harmony Yoga will begin to offer online courses soon.
Barile said she is proud to continue her family's heritage in the South Bay.
“My parents taught me to have pride in what I do and I have that,” she said.
For more information, visit harmonyyoga.com.