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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How To Sew A Button

About a year ago I shared the infamous sewing machine story. In that blog I also told you that I absolutely have no desire to learn how to sew. I do have a sewing kit with a handful of basic items – one needle, one thimble, a pin cushion, several spools of thread, and so on. I have it because occasionally I HAVE to sew on a button. Ugh.

Not too long ago my husband brought me a dress shirt that had several cracked buttons on it. There weren’t enough spare buttons to replace the cracked ones. So in order to make the shirt wearable again, I was going to have to replace every single button. I donated the shirt to The Salvation Army. I may be willing to sew on an occasional button but not twelve!

Martha Stewart says sewing a button is ‘incredibly easy.’ It never seems easy to me – but perhaps that’s because I just plain dread it so much. Here are her tips:

http://www.marthastewart.com/268866/sew-a-button

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hero For A Day

When I hear the word hero I think of the men and women who serve in our military or of an everyday person who does something courageous to help a person in need or even Superman. But to think of a dry cleaner as a hero?

To many folks Steve Plantone, Manager of A Cleaner World in Hickory, is absolutely that. It’s amazing how even the smallest gestures can seem heroic to the person on the receiving end. Over the years, it has been common for Steve to get phone calls at home well after closing time from customers that needed their clothes. He’d happily meet them at the store. Then there are the elderly customers that either walk or ride the bus to do business specifically at Steve’s store, and he’ll drive them home with their cleaning. Recently a woman who lives in an apartment a few miles away called at closing time very upset because her daughter forgot to pick up her pants that she needed the next morning. Steve delivered them to her on his way home.

But my favorite story happened several years ago when a customer dropped off a brand new $400 silk dress that she had spilled nail polish on. Steve, along with his enthusiastic District Manager Mike Feudale, spent over an hour working on the dress by hand. They dry cleaned it and the dress came out looking like NEW! When the customer returned and saw the dress, she began to cry. She admitted that she fully expected a total loss. That day Steve was her hero. And to that I would say hero’s come in many forms.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Manager Profile

I've often wondered what makes someone want to run a dry cleaning plant. After all, it's a hot, dirty job with long hours and sometimes uncooperative employees. I decided to ask Glenn Batts, the manager of our A Cleaner World located on Leesville Road in Raleigh, for several reasons. First, I knew he had been in the industry for a number of years -- almost 30. Second, I remember his time card averaged 65 hours a week almost consistently. Third, I hadn't talked to him in a while and just wanted to say hello.

When I asked him how he got started, I really wasn't surprised by the answer. He went to work for a dry cleaner in Rocky Mount after college simply because he needed a job. Over time he was promoted and held various positions before coming to A Cleaner World 9 years ago. He's stayed in this industry because as he puts it "it has gotten into my blood and become second nature to me." He's got to like it otherwise the 76 hours he's going to put in this week would really stink.

Knowing what a character Glenn is, I think I expected a few funny stories and some goofy sarcasm. Instead I saw a rather serious and appreciative side of him. Here's what I learned: he genuinely likes his employees and has spent a lot of time building a team that does their work efficiently and often without him having to ask; he loves A Cleaner World and the fact that it is a family owned business that really bends over backwards for its employees; and he simply can't think of anything else he'd rather be doing or any place he'd rather be. Now that's the kind of person I like doing business with.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thread Count

There are certain things for the home that I don't really like purchasing. Sheets would be included in that group so I usually wait for my mom to buy them for me. I can always tell the difference between the one's she buys and the one's I buy. I am concerned with the price so I generally purchase the cheapest thing I can find. She's willing to pay a little more to get a higher thread count.

In general the higher the thread count, the better quality sheet you get. But did you know that some manufacturers are stretching the truth a bit when it comes to thread count? Good Housekeeping did an investigation and found that some manufacturers are doubling the count when making sheets with 2-ply threads. A 2-ply thread is 2 threads wrapped together to make a single thread. But that doesn't mean that manufacturers that use 2-ply thread can suddenly call 400 count sheets 800 count.

This whole thing gets really long and complicated, but I found this:

http://www.linenplace.com/product_guide/truth_about_thread_count.html

This site gives lots of helpful information on selecting quality sheets. In fact, they believe that thread count isn't the most important factor in selecting your sheets!
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