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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jinxed Clothes

I had a lovely wedding. But as awesome as the wedding was – the honeymoon was even better. Well except for the day that Matt talked me into going deep sea fishing or should I say deep sea puking. We look back and laugh now, but at the time it wasn’t funny. I think the same thing holds true for a couple that Mike Taylor at our Roanoke A Cleaner World helped out.

Imagine Mike’s surprise when he was tracked down at a July 4th party by Roanoke police a number of years ago. A couple that had just gotten married realized that they failed to pick up their honeymoon clothes from A Cleaner World, and they desperately needed Mike’s help.

When Mike got to the store, there were two voice messages from the couple. The first one was from the husband explaining the situation. The second was from a crying bride. Mike gladly took care of them and sent them happily off on their cruise.

Unfortunately, they never got to wear those crisp clean items on their honeymoon. The cruise line accidently dropped their suitcase into the water before the cruise even started. They had to get by on swimsuits, shorts, and t-shirts purchased along the way.

When they returned from their trip, they immediately returned to the store, and handed the entire order back over to the Mike. They also were able to laugh as they did – saying they were certain the order was doomed. So Mike once again made their clothes crisp and clean – and ready hopefully for better vacation some time down the road.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thirty Five Years of Service

Through a series of conversations, I discovered that we have an employee that’s been with A Cleaner World for over 35 years. Meet Mike Taylor, our A Cleaner World Roanoke Division Manager. Here’s his story:

Mike was hired as a part-time Customer Service Representative/Janitor while still in high school. Shortly after he graduated, the store manager left, the company ran an ad in the paper to fill the position, and in the meantime Mike managed the location – at age 18. They gave him a few weeks of training and somehow the situation became permanent.

Mike hadn’t been a manager too long when the company was sold to Ray Edwards. Mike sent out resumes and was actively searching for a job when he met Ray. The two hit it off, and Mike agreed to stay and give it a shot. I’d say he was successful – he took a relatively small location and transformed it into two solid locations.

How did he grow the business? Ray believes Mike gets lots of satisfaction out of doing a great job, and that happens to show up as fantastic quality and customer service. Things like not charging a family if he knows there has been a death or personally delivering clothes or rugs after hours are commonplace. In an age where we are so detached, that level of service is recognized and word spreads.

But gosh, 35 years. That’s a really long time and so unusual in this day. I had to ask Mike – running a dry cleaning plant is tough work with the long hours, extreme heat, physical aspect – why in the world would he stay so long? “I think it was because Ray saw something in me I didn’t know I had,” he said. That translated into allowing Mike to be a partner in the business. “I think it’s because he knows we have 100% confidence in him and allow him to run his business,” Ray stated. “In all 35 years, I’ve made one suggestion to him. Plus he’s more than just a partner; he’s a friend of the family.”

It has been said that you should not become friends with business partners. This is one example that would prove that saying wrong. I think that says a lot about both Mike and the A Cleaner World family.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great Birthday Memory

I love Ronald Regan – he declared July National Ice Cream Month. I also love the month of July. Not just for the ice cream thing but also because my birthday is in July. I am one of those people that celebrates all month long. July is typically a fun month for me!

Birthdays come and go and after you’ve had several, the memories tend to fade. But I have a handful of favorite birthday celebrations. One in particular was in 2000. For a number of years, A Cleaner World sponsored a summer reading program called Read to Ride. The program was designed to encourage kids to read during summer break. For every book they read, they entered for a chance to win one of 50 bicycles we planned on giving away.

We decided a great way to wrap up the program was to bring all the winners together to celebrate. This particular year we opted to meet at Triad Park and have the kids bring their bicycles. Given it was a hot Saturday in July, we asked Carvel to bring their ice cream cart. Now can you think of a better way to spend your birthday than with 50 excited kids and a hot fudge sundae for breakfast?

So I hesitated to include this but here’s a picture from that fun birthday. Keep in mind it was 12 years ago so please no comments about the hair!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We Clean American Flags for Free

A Cleaner World has cleaned American Flags for free for as long as anyone can remember. No one really knows when the tradition started, but apparently it’s a common thing that most dry cleaners do. But other than our A Cleaner World on Peter’s Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem (they clean 200 per year for the local Veteran’s organization), not many folks take advantage of this.

My grandpa was a Veteran of World War II, earning a Bronze Star Medal. He passed away when I was in college. Shortly before his death, I asked him lots of questions about the war. But I never asked him what the American Flag meant to him. The thought really never occurred to me at age 20. And while I wouldn’t consider myself to be over or under patriotic today, I believe there is something sacred about the American flag.

I post most of my blogs on Wednesdays, and I thought one on the American flag would be appropriate today. Since my grandpa is no longer here, I asked one of our staff members, Mike Feudale as he served in the military, and I thought his perspective would be especially poignant. Here’s what he said:

“My military experience has fostered a respect for the flag, its custom, meaning, and associated protocol. I take great pride in cleaning and restoring these flags at no charge. I feel honored that a surviving family member trusts us to restore or care for the flag that once was placed over a soldier or sailors casket.”

If you have a flag that needs cleaning or repairing, call on us. I know many folks in our organization that would be honored to take care of it. And on an additional note – we can also help see to the appropriate destruction of a flag if you have a worn or faded one through our affiliation with the Boy Scouts.

“The American flag represents all of us and all the values we hold sacred.” – Adrian Cronauer

Have a safe & happy July 4th!
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