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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our Craftsmen (and women)

Google the definition of the word ‘craftsman’ and you’ll get this answer: “a person who is skilled in a particular craft. Synonyms: artisan, artist, skilled worker.”  When you think of the word craftsman, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  For me, I instantly think of someone that works with wood.  But when I started looking on some different sites, I found this definition on freedictionary.com: “a professional whose work is consistently of high quality”, and further down the page they had lots of professions listed like barrel makers, clock smiths, hairdressers, tanners, weavers.
As I started thinking about some of the professions listed, I started thinking about the folks in our stores.  Take for instance our dry cleaners – they need to have intimate knowledge of the different types of cleaning methods, how they impact all the different fabrics and embellishments that are out there, and which solutions will remove which stains.  And what about our finishers and pressers?  Well, they don’t just press wrinkles out of clothes.  Not only do they know how to use specialized equipment to remove wrinkles and reshape items on standard garments like pants and men’s dress shirts, they also need to take those pieces of equipment and use them to finish non-standardized garments like women’s blouses and dresses.  Let’s not forget our seamstresses and tailors – what they do is seriously a dying form of art.

So what I’d like to do is to just take this opportunity to thank the staff at A Cleaner World – the Craftsmen and Craftswomen – that work hard every day, sometimes in the extreme heat, to keep us all looking sharp and professional.  Based on all of the things I’ve seen you guys tackle and restore, you definitely deserve the title of Craftsmen and Craftswomen. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Cleaner World Commercial Services Delivery Truck

When we started A Cleaner World Commercial Services back in July of 2010 out of the back of a retail location in High Point, we never dreamed we’d, just a few years later, be servicing nearly 400 businesses.  Six years later, after a move to a larger facility and adding three more vans, we realized that we had outgrown our delivery system.  We’d developed a system where the same Route Representative delivered all the route using multiple vans.  We loaded 3 vans for next day delivery.  The rep would start with the # 1 van, and we would deliver the 2nd van to him. That van would return to the plant. The driver would then leave shortly with the 3rd van. He would again meet the rep and switch vehicles.

This worked well for quite a while, but it had its limitations.  First, we spent 10 to 15 hours a week shuttling vans around the Triad.  Second, we couldn’t really stock any additional ‘just in case’ or ‘extra’ items for clients.  Third, it was really difficult to efficiently organize a lot of stuff into such a small area.

In August of this year, we accepted delivery of a 22-foot step-in delivery truck.  Now we can put the entirety of our first route on this truck.  It has made such a difference in allowing us to even better serve our clients by allowing us to carry a large product mix on board.  Customers no longer have to order and wait until next delivery for extra items.  Plus, it’s much more user-friendly than our delivery vans.  Our rep can easily stand up and walk around the back of it.  It has racks for hanging uniforms and shelves for holding product. It was designed specifically for our industry and is safer since the rep enters and exits the vehicle on the right side or through the rear doors. This avoids stepping out in traffic. Its interior design creates less stooping, bending, and reaching unlike the previous vans. Additionally, it has a tremendous capacity, and we currently use about 80% of it. We are excited about our growth and expect to fill it within the year.

While the finished product hasn’t changed, we believe now we can offer our customers an increased level of service.  Our employees love the new truck because it is so much easier to load and unload. Our customers admire the truck but are simply grateful for the fine service we provide. We know that our current customers are the best advertising we have. This truck, like all our business decisions, was made with our customers in mind.

Further, it has the Gray Mitchell seal of approval.  The day of its maiden voyage, we went over to the warehouse to see it come in.  There was so much excitement – by both my son and the staff.  We’ve all been waiting quite a while for this fancy, efficient, and helpful tool, and now we are putting it to good use serving the fine folks of the Triad.  If your business needs help with uniform rental, bathroom supplies, floor mat rental, shop towels, restaurant supplies, or mop rental, give Scottie Springer a call at 336-870-6299.  We’d love to pull this new truck into your business’s parking lot.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Staying Warm This Winter

If it’s below 80 degrees outside, I’m cold; needless to say, I’ve been cold since September.  My husband and I definitely have two different ideas of what is a comfortable temperature for our house.  His argument of you can always add more layers always wins, so most of the time I’m pretty bundled up in our house, especially if I’m sitting still at the computer.

Tips for staying warm at home:
  1. Prevent cold from coming into your home in the first place.  Patch up any drafty areas.  Check windows and doors to make sure they are nice and tight.  Keep the flue closed on your fire place when it’s not in use.  If you have hardwoods, consider adding a rug for floor warmth.
  2. Dress in layers.  Most long underwear is thin and lightweight and will easily go under jeans and a long-sleeve shirt.  I typically top that with a fleece jacket or a sweater.
  3. Wear socks, and not just any socks – choose a pair that’s thick and warm. 
  4. If you aren’t going out, wear pajamas.  I’m not kidding.  I have a pair of fleece pajamas, and when I pair them with long underwear and thick socks, I swear that’s when I’m finally not cold.
But what if you need to venture out?
  1. You’ve probably heard this dozens of times, but layer up.  Put a base layer on under your clothes, including bottoms.  So many people bulk up on the top and then leave their legs exposed by only wearing one layer.  If you are worried about looking the Michelin Man, visit your local sporting goods store.  There are all kinds of options out there that are thin and completely unnoticeable under every day garments.
  2. Choose warm socks, and if it is wet out, make sure your shoes are water-resistant.  Why?  Dry feet equal warm feet.
  3. The warmest jackets and coats are made of either down or wool, and if it is wet out, make sure your outermost layer is water-resistant.  Remember – wet equals cold.
  4. Cover all exposed areas.  That means wear a hat, keep your throat warm with a scarf, and wear gloves or mittens.
Most importantly, be cautious and prepared.  If the temperatures are dangerously low, don’t head out unless you absolutely have to, and if you do head out, make sure your car is stocked with blankets, a set of dry clothes, food, water, and a flashlight.  A Cleaner World would like for you to stay warm and safe this winter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Service with a Smile

I have the same routine every Friday.  I get up early and run, take Gray to school, and then hit the grocery store around 8:15 a.m.  I do this mainly because the grocery store isn’t terribly busy at that time.  I start in the produce section, where the same two guys greet me with a smile.  They know me because regularly I ask for items that apparently most customers don’t buy, like Brussels Sprouts, dried mushrooms, fennel, and beets.  They are always so nice and friendly, asking me how I’m doing and teasing me about the crazy things I’ll be cooking.

But then I get to the deli.  I always buy some sort of deli meat because Gray’s school doesn’t have a cafeteria, so I have to pack his lunch daily.  The man behind the deli counter never smiles, and many times he seems annoyed when I push my cart up to the counter.  After several encounters, I decided to start chatting with him.  At first it was like pulling teeth, but week after week I made small talk, always thanked him for my order, and smiled as I pushed my cart along.  These days I still feel like I am bothering him, but he does chat a bit now and occasionally smiles.

Before I wrote this post, I read several online articles that talked about what a burden it placed on employees to be friendly and smile while doing their jobs.  In fact, one article went so far to say that it’s just stressful!  I say that’s crazy.  I could go on and on about how a smile gives a first impression, shows state of mind and attitude, and indicates customer value, but just think about how you feel when you approach someone…..anyone, whether it’s a place of business or just passing them on the street.  A simple smile and a warm “hello” is such an easy thing to do, and it could be the thing that makes someone’s day.

A Cleaner World has always trained our Customer Service Representatives to greet each customer with a smile and always thank them for their business, but lately we’ve really been more focused on that part of our service.  While we know customers come to us for our expert stain removal, state-of-the-art equipment, years of experience, and attention to detail, we know that the interaction our customers have with our staff can make you want to come back again or decide to go somewhere else – regardless of how well your clothes are cleaned and pressed.  That’s why we’re asking for honest feedback; we truly want to know if you enjoy visiting our stores.  Do our staff members serve you quickly, with a smile, getting all your information, answering any questions you might have?  If you’ve been coming for a while know, do we call you by name and automatically know how you like your garments finished?  If you have feedback or an experience you’d like to share, please send me an e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.  We really do want to hear from you.
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