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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

After the Holidays Cleanup

I always feel a bit of a letdown after the holidays are over.  I spend so much time preparing for and looking forward to them, and I consider that the fun part, that when they are over, all that’s left is the cleanup.  I find that to be not quite as fun.  But actually, it’s pretty important because it can make things much easier.

Here are two things we do each year after the party is over:

1.    Use great care when taking down your tree and storing your decorations.  It’s tempting to wad the lights up and shove everything in a box, but next year you’ll be thanking yourself that you took the time to do it properly.  We keep our lights in order by wrapping each strand around squares of cardboard.  I read somewhere that empty wrapping tube papers work well for this too.  For our ornaments, we wrap them up in used Christmas wrapping paper, place them in a plastic tub in layers using either previously used tissue paper or old newspaper between the layers for extra protection, and store them in a climate controlled storage room off of our bonus room.

2.    New stuff comes in, old stuff goes out.  We have too much, and others don’t have enough so we started something a while back where we donate an item every time a new one comes in.   During the year when it’s here and there, I keep a box in my trunk and then stop by The Salvation Army when it gets full.  After Christmas, where the grandparents and Santa go overboard, we have a 1-to-1 ratio party and then make a large run to The Salvation Army.  There’s something rather freeing about getting rid of stuff.  Plus items that are donated to The Salvation Army are sold in their Family Thrift Stores, and those funds go toward the many services and programs they provide.  If you don’t have a Salvation Army location near you, you can always drop off your no longer needed items at any A Cleaner World location.  We will make sure the folks at The Salvation Army get those items.

Invest the time and give it a try.  It may take a bit of time to reap the rewards, but I promise it’s worth it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meet Derrick Welch

If you are an A Cleaner World Commercial Services customer, then you recognize this face.

This is Derrick Welch, Route Service Representative for our Commercial Services Division.  Derrick has been with A Cleaner World for three years now and has become the face for all things uniform and business-supply related.  When Mike Feudale, Manager of A Cleaner World’s Commercial Services division, was interviewing for this position, he said there were several terrific candidates.  “But there was something about Derrick,” he explained.  “Not only did he have such great experience, he also had a super-positive, can-do attitude.  I knew he’d be such an asset to our team.”

He was right.  Derrick hit the ground running on day one and hasn’t stopped since.  He typically arrives at the office between 6:00 -6:30 a.m., where the van is already loaded and waiting for him thanks to his teammates Austin and Heather.  He checks his paperwork and then takes off to start his day, usually servicing around 45-50 customers a day.  There’s no one typical stop; each one has its own custom plan, and Derrick performs a range of services from exchanging out uniforms to installing dispensers.  When we spoke, he jokingly admitted to being a bit OCD, so helping a business stay clean and organized is right up his alley.  And while he’s a busy guy with a lot of stops, he always takes the time to check in with his customers – because of everything he does, that’s the thing he loves the most.  “I love interacting with and talking to our customers,” he said.

“Customers love Derrick,” said Scottie Springer, Customer Service Manager for A Cleaner World’s Commercial Division.  “First, he’s incredibly prompt – you can set your clock by him.  He’s also reliable, responsive, always smiling, can anticipate a customer’s needs but doesn’t try to take advantage of them.  Basically he’s an all-around nice guy.”  I asked both Mike and Scottie for feedback from customers, especially on times where he’s gone above and beyond.  They agreed that he goes above and beyond for every single customer.  Derrick does things like running back by a stop on his way home because a customer needed something extra.  He takes ownership of problems and stays on them until they are resolved.  But most of all, he takes exceptional pride in what he does.  So then I asked Derrick if he could think of times where he went above and beyond and really surprised a customer.  “That’s what I try to do with every single customer,” he replied.  “I have good relationships with all our customers, and I like to provide service beyond expectation.”

Exceptional service from an exceptional employee.  If your Greensboro, High Point, or Winston-Salem business has a need, I am sure Derrick would love to add your place to his list of stops.  Just call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299, and he will stop by to help you get started.  Then you can look forward to experiencing what our current customers already enjoy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Potential Fire Hazard

Holidays mean guests and sometimes lots of them.  Odds are that, if you have guests in and out over the next few weeks, someone will be a smoker.  Now, this is not meant to be a blog putting down smokers.  A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning wants to help you keep your home safe by pointing out a potential smoking-related fire hazard.  We are aware of this hazard because not too long ago, we helped a family in Boone recover from a home fire.  The cause – a cigarette that wasn’t fully extinguished.

Typically in a house of non-smokers, guests that are smokers are often relegated to a designated area just outside.  Hosts try to make the area as comfortable as possible, making the area many times off a back patio or the like.  But the area isn’t manned or heavily populated, so when a cigarette isn’t fully extinguished, it can go unnoticed for a long period of time.  That’s exactly what happened in this instance.

The house was built into the side of the hill, so from the front of the house you entered at the main level but at the back of the house you could walk out the basement, where if you looked up, you could see two more levels.  A cigarette was placed in an ashtray near some trim on the house at the basement ground level.  It didn’t completely go out, so the ashtray caught fire, it spread to the trim, traveled up to the deck on the main floor, then to the deck on the top floor, and it ultimately burned up the back half of the house.

While smoking outside does reduce the chance of a home fire, we would like to offer some additional tips so that you and your family won’t have to experience such a tragedy.

  • Make sure to put your cigarette out all the way every time before leaving the area.
  • Offer ashtrays for your guests.  Place them on something sturdy away from your house that won’t ignite, like a metal table or concrete bench.
  • Make sure the ashtray is stable and has a wide base so that it won’t tip over.  An excellent ashtray option is a coffee can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
  • After the party is over, give the area a walk through to make sure everything is as it should be.
One last thought, make it a habit to regularly check your smoke detectors.  Now go safely enjoy the rest of your Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Caring for your Christmas Tree

Did you know that Thomas Edison created the very first strand of electric lights in 1880?  Unfortunately, they didn’t really catch on for Christmas trees until 1917 when a young man named Albert Sadacca suggested that his family’s store start selling brightly colored strands of Christmas lights.  So how did they light their Christmas trees before 1917?  Well they would just use candles – which ultimately led to many home fires.

That practice seems incredibly silly to us today; we’d never dream of placing a burning candle anywhere close to a dried-out tree.  Yet we make other choices that put our homes at risk for fire – things like leaving Christmas lights on while we’re gone or asleep, failing to regularly water our Christmas trees, and connecting too many lights together on one strand.

Mike Feudale with A Cleaner World’s Restoration Dry Cleaning Division wants you to have a safe and happy Holiday Season, so he offers the following suggestions:
  • Select the freshest tree you can find.  It is ideal to purchase a tree that is still growing and cut it yourself, but unfortunately that isn’t an option for the majority of us.  If you are like me and have to purchase your tree pre-cut from a lot, make sure it is still healthy.
  • Before taking your tree inside, choose a location away from heat sources and direct sunlight.  It’s a good idea to place some plastic sheeting down underneath the stand to catch any water that might drip onto your rug or carpet when watering. 
  • Take your tree and repeatedly drop the trunk on an outdoor surface several times so that any old, dry needles can fall off.
  • Next, be sure to give it a fresh cut.  A Christmas tree that has sat on a lot for several days has a clogged vascular system.  Just cutting off ¼ inch off the bottom removes the clogs and opens the vascular system up, allowing it to soak up water once again.  It’s ok to cut more if you need to.
  • Once it is inside and situated, it’s ready to decorate.  Before placing them on your tree, make certain your lights are in good condition.  Never use light strands with frayed cords, and be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions as to how many strings you can connect together.  Also, avoid overloading your outlets.
  • Fill the tree stand with water as soon as possible after you give the tree a fresh cut.  While your tree is up, check its water level twice a day, making sure it never runs out of water.
  • Always unplug your Christmas tree’s lights and all other holiday decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Finally, make sure your smoke detectors are in working order.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.  Have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Crazy Christmas Sweater Contest

Do you remember that scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary where Mark Darcy turns around to reveal that he’s wearing a crazy but cute Christmas sweater?  Apparently that helped prompt our current and long-standing fascination with the Ugly Christmas Sweater.  In fact, the fascination is so big that folks throw parties dedicated to this garment.

A Cleaner World doesn’t want to miss out on all this crazy Christmas sweater fun, so we’ve decided to have a contest.  After all, we are in the garment care business, and your Christmas sweater, with all its bells and embellishments, needs proper care too.  So, we’re having a Crazy Christmas Sweater Contest, and here’s how it will work:
  • Snap a photo of yourself wearing your Crazy Christmas Sweater.  What qualifies as crazy?  It can be exceptionally colorful, overly embellished, have crazy buttons, be a vest, and so on.  If it is holiday-related and fun, we’d like to see it.
  • E-mail the photo along with your name and phone number to wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com
  • We will choose one submission at random each week between now and Christmas Eve, and award those people with $50 free cleaning from A Cleaner World. 
  • Sweaters not chosen will remain in the selection pool throughout the contest.
  • At the end of the contest, December 24, we will choose what we think is the best Crazy Christmas Sweater and award that person with a grand-prize of $100 free cleaning from A Cleaner World.
  • The contest begins today, December 1 and concludes on Thursday, December 24. 
  • Photos sent may be posted on A Cleaner World’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts.
  • Now let the fun begin!

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