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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.

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